As a minister, rabbi, cantor or clergy you have dedicated your life to helping the members of your community with their spiritual needs and providing substance to their lives. However, in order to be an effective minister you have to minister to your own needs, including the unique tax requirements placed on members of the clergy. In Tractavte Avot (3:17), Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah states , if there is no sustenance there is no Torah. Loosely translating Torah as spirituality, Rabbi Elazar is reminding us as clergy that we cannot obtain spirituality if our basic necessities are not met. If one does not have his or her financial affairs in order one cannot find the inner peace to feel God’s presence.
Not all unlicensed tax preparers or CPAs are equipped to deal with taxes for clergy. Indeed, many of them fail to understand the concept of parsonage and the dual status of a minister, rabbi and cantor for tax purposes. Seeing my friends’ frustrations I decided to make this areas an area of focus in my CPA practice.
My name is Jonathan Medows and I am both a CPA and an ordained Rabbi. As a member of the clergy, I have both a professional and personal understanding of the unique tax requirements that pertain to us, unlike most other non-licensed tax preparers and CPAs. I hope the information found on this website, especially the clergy taxes overview, will be informative.
Whether you are a student in Seminary or a practicing clergy I welcome the opportunity to speak with you. I am based in Manhattan in New York City, however I work with clients nationwide and I am comfortable working remotely. I look forward to hearing from you.
Jonathan Medows, CPA