Every employer, including an organization exempt from federal income tax, who pays wages to employees is responsible for withholding, depositing, paying, and reporting federal income tax, social security and Medicare (FICA) taxes, and federal unemployment tax (FUTA), unless that employer is specifically excepted by law from those requirements or if the taxes clearly do not apply.
For more information, get a copy of Publication 15, which summarizes the responsibilities of an employer, Publication 15-A, Publication 15-B, and Form 941.taxmap/pubs/p557-007.htm#TXMP6b40ab36
If any person required to collect, truthfully account for, and pay over any of these taxes willfully fails to satisfy any of these requirements or willfully tries in any way to evade or defeat any of them, that person will be subject to a penalty. The penalty is equal to the tax evaded, not collected, or not accounted for and paid over. The term person
- An officer or employee of a corporation, or
- A member or employee of a partnership.
The penalty is not imposed on any unpaid volunteer director or member of a board of trustees of an exempt organization if the unpaid volunteer serves solely in an honorary capacity, does not participate in the day-to-day or financial operations of the organization, and does not have actual knowledge of the failure on which the penalty is imposed.
This exception does not apply if it results in no one being liable for the penalty.taxmap/pubs/p557-007.htm#TXMP5e6d6991
Payments for services performed by a minister of a church in the exercise of the ministry, or a member of a religious order performing duties required by the order, are generally not subject to FICA or FUTA taxes. taxmap/pubs/p557-007.htm#TXMP3e64faa3
Payments for services performed by an employee of a religious, charitable, educational, or other organization described in section 501(c)(3) that are generally subject to FICA taxes if the payments are $100 or more for the year, are not subject to FUTA taxes. taxmap/pubs/p557-007.htm#TXMP29afd494
Churches and qualified church-controlled organizations can elect exemption from employer FICA taxes by filing Form 8274.
To elect the exemption, Form 8274 must be filed before the first date on which a quarterly employment tax return would otherwise be due from the electing organization. The organization may make the election only if it is opposed for religious reasons to the payment of FICA taxes.
The election applies to payments for services of current and future employees other than services performed in an unrelated trade or business. taxmap/pubs/p557-007.htm#TXMP610fc466
The election can be revoked by the IRS if the organization fails to file Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, for 2 years and fails to furnish certain information upon request by the IRS. Such revocation will apply retroactively to the beginning of the 2-year period. taxmap/pubs/p557-007.htm#TXMP579ac87c
For purposes of this election, the term church means a church, a convention or association of churches, or an elementary or secondary school that is controlled, operated, or principally supported by a church or by a convention or association of churches.
The term qualified church-controlled organization
means any church-controlled section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, other than an organization that both:
- Offers goods, services, or facilities for sale, other than on an incidental basis, to the general public at other than a nominal charge that is substantially less than the cost of providing such goods, services, or facilities, and
- Normally receives more than 25% of its support from the sum of governmental sources and receipts from admissions, sales of merchandise, performance of services, or furnishing of facilities, in activities that are not unrelated trades or businesses.
If a church or qualified church-controlled organization has made an election, payment for services performed for that church or organization, other than in an unrelated trade or business, will not be subject to FICA taxes. However, the employee, unless otherwise exempt, will be subject to self-employment tax on the income. The tax applies to income of $108.28 or more for the tax year from that church or organization, and no deductions for trade or business expenses are allowed against this self-employment income.
Schedule SE (Form 1040), Self-Employment Tax, should be attached to the employee's income tax return.