Mission life: THE KUKMIN DAILY

Clergy Tax Applies Also To Religious Administrators If They're Certified Pastors Or Evangelists

2018-01-04 12:57
The clergy tax goes into effect from January 1, and it is important to clearly grasp the definition and scope of this tax. Religious income as defined by the Income Tax Law is any income received from a religious organization prescribed in the Presidential decree, in relation to activities -such as the administration of religious rites- carried out by a person whose profession is related to religion. Organists, church caretakers or others who receive income from a religious organization, but who are not religious professionals directly conducting religious rites, are not subject to the clergy tax. This distinction is important to note, in order to avoid confusion in the filing of church tax reports.

Basically, the scope of “Christian professional” includes such persons as pastors and evangelists, preachers, pastors emeritus, cooperative pastors and missionaries (those sent directly by a church). Support for overseas mission, however, is tax-exempt, being in the category of mission expenditure. “Pastor” refers to head pastor, pastor emeritus, associate pastor, cooperative pastor, school chaplain, hospital chaplain, etc. All of these are subject to the clergy tax, but in filing the tax report, one may select either “clergy tax” or “earned income tax” as the basis for taxation.

“Religious professional” does not include such persons as organist, choir director, office worker, church caretaker, driver or sound engineer. Accordingly, when these persons are paid wages by the religious organization, the withholding tax system is applied to their earned income. Attention should be paid to the fact that the same activities fall within the range of those subject to the clergy tax, if they are carried out by professional pastors and evangelists.

Reporter Gu Jachang (critic@kmib.co.kr), with Marion Kim (marionkkim@icloud.com)

Full Story in Korean:
[종교인 과세 체크리스트 ①] 종교단체 사무행정직도 목사·전도사 자격자는 종교인소득 과세 대상: ① 종교인의 정의와 범위

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