Why Churches and Ministries Should Consider a 403(b) Plan

Today 403(b) plans provide significant benefits and advantages for churches, parachurch, and mission sending organizations.

Since Christian ministries often have unique needs, it's important to tailor the retirement plan to those needs. It's also crucial to be aware of, and benefit from, the tax code and the Department of Labor rules.

Here are some examples of some benefits you may not know about:

  • Most plan sponsors are not aware of the specific 403(b)(9) church plan rule that makes the minister's voluntary contributions pre-SECA tax in addition to state and federal income tax.


  • The code allows missionaries working abroad to qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion, which exempts their first $102,000 of earned income from taxes.


  • A Roth 403(b) retirement plan allows missionaries abroad to contribute to a Roth 403(b) resulting in tax-free growth and distribution. A Roth 403(b) is an outstanding savings vehicle for your employees. Are you offering both a 403(b) and a Roth 403(b) plan? This is just one example.


If you're not taking advantage of these benefits now, perhaps a change in providers is necessary.

The Minister's Housing Allowance is one of the greatest tax benefits available to ordained, licensed, or commissioned ministers and comes from Section 107 of the Internal Revenue Code.

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