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Recent Changes in Major Tax Laws Significantly Affect Churches and Church Staff

Contact: Sandra Hoekstra, Christianity Today, 630-260-6200 ext. 4224, Shoekstra@ChristianityToday.com

CAROL STREAM, Ill., Mar. 17 /Christian Newswire/ -- Many tax laws that impact churches and church staff were changed by The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act that was enacted by Congress in October 2008. Some of the changes that most interest churches and church staff are outlined below, more details on each of these issues and other tax changes can be found in the 2009 Church & Clergy Tax Guide by Richard Hammar.

Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Patch--Congress provided a temporary fix (for 2008 only) by increasing the 2008 exemption amounts to $69,950 for married couples filing jointly and $46,200 for single tax payers. The Act also allows taxpayers to decrease their AMT liability by claiming various nonrefundable credits.

Additional Standard Deduction for Real Property Taxes Extended to 2009 -- In the past, only taxpayers who were able to itemize deductions on Schedule A could deduct their state and local property taxes. A limited tax deduction is provided for state and local property taxes to non-itemizers by increasing their standard deduction for a taxable year by the lesser of (1) the amount allowable to the taxpayer as a deduction for state and local taxes or (2) $500 ($1,000 in the case of a married individual filing in jointly).

Tax-free Distributions from an IRA for Charitable Purposes Extended to 2009 -- allows tax-free "qualified charitable distributions" of up to $100,000 from an IRA to a church or other charity.

Child Tax Credit Enhanced -- The child tax credit is a nonrefundable credit for each qualifying child to a maximum of $400 per qualifying child. This credit is enhanced by reducing the $12,050 floor to $8,500.

For more details on these changes and other pertinent tax information, see the 2009 Church & Clergy Tax Guide, by Richard Hammar (www.YourChurchResources.com or call 800-222-1840).

The 2009 Church & Clergy Tax Guide is published by Your Church, a division of Christianity Today International, a Christian communications ministry committed to engage, encourage, and equip the church worldwide (www.ChristianityToday.com).