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Annuity Board offers tax help for ministers

DALLAS (BP)–Did you know?

— The standard deduction for 2002 increased to $7,850 for married couples filing jointly and $4,700 for single people.

— The standard mileage rate for business miles was 36.5 cents per mile for all business miles driven in 2002 and decreases to 36 cents per mile in 2003.

— If you adopted a child in 2002, you may be eligible for up to a $10,000 adoption credit.

— If you paid tuition for yourself, your spouse or your children in 2002, you may be able to deduct up to $3,000 of those expenses.

— The annual contribution limit for both Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs increased to $3,000 in 2002 and you can make contributions until April 15, 2003.

These are just a few of the changes for 2002 income tax returns. If you are already familiar with these and other current tax guidelines, you probably are ready to begin preparing your return. If the information is new to you, it’s time to start thinking about your tax preparation. And, if you are a Southern Baptist minister, a great place to begin is the Ministers Tax Guide for 2002 Returns.

Produced annually by the Southern Baptist Annuity Board, the tax guide offers Southern Baptist ministers the basic information needed to complete their tax return with special attention given to the sections of each form most used by ministers.

For more than 20 years the Annuity Board has provided this service to Southern Baptist ministers and churches at no cost. It is available in a printed version by calling 1-800-262-0511 or by visiting the board’s website at www.absbc.org.

“The tax guide is one of the most requested publications we produce,” said Curt Sharp, Annuity Board executive officer. “It offers technical information in a user-friendly format for our ministers.

“We realize filling out tax forms is complicated and frustrating, and our ministers fall into some unique circumstances. That is why one of the features of this publication includes a comprehensive example for an active minister and this year the addition of a comprehensive example for a retired minister,” Sharp said.

Other practical resources found in the guide are updates about clergy housing allowance, special rules for ministers, step-by-step tax return preparation and a section on federal reporting requirements for churches.

    About the Author

  • Jerilynn Armstrong