Standard Reimbursing Allowances
These allowances are part of the remuneration arrangements and are effective from 1 July 2023.
Since 1996, because of amending legislation, the Church is not required to seek formal approval from the Inland Revenue Department to pay the standard reimbursing allowances to Presbyters free of income tax. Every five years a survey of Presbyters is conducted to verify the appropriateness of the allowance. The amount of payment is then updated each year by the movement in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The results of the survey supported the continued use of the formula so that the standard expenses allowance of $3,932.85 p.a. is payable from 1 July 2023.
The expense allowance should be used to meet costs of for example:
- Ministry formation
- Membership fees
- Study leave, etc
- Clerical clothing
- Equipment, technical aids & tools
- Use of study, non-reimbursed costs
- Other costs & expenses, e.g. non-reimbursed stationery, stamps, envelopes, office requisites, other ministry related costs, etc.
While there are no official figures for hospitality, the Administration Division has adjusted the last published rates by the movement in the Consumer Price Index to determine the following component values:
Allowance Rate Bed $10.53 Breakfast $8.20 Lunch $12.32 Dinner $16.42 Morning/Afternoon Tea/Supper $2.27
Presbyter to Maintain a Record of All Expenditure
The Presbyter must maintain a record of all church related expenses incurred; including those paid using the Standard Reimbursing Allowances, which must be available to answer any questions that the Inland Revenue may ask, and to provide data for future surveys.
The records should include:
Names of guest(s).
Dates of arrival and departure.
Details of accommodation and meals provided.
GST invoices, or if that cannot be obtained, a cash register receipt or other form of receipt.
These records must show that the total of all reimbursements has been spent in any year. For example, it would not be sufficient having obtained an additional allowance for books, to show that the entire standard book allowance had been spent while under spending the hospitality allowance or not keeping any records for hospitality to show what has happened.
Where a Presbyter has received reimbursement of expenses for which no proof of the expenditure can be produced, the Inland Revenue Department may seek an additional payment for income tax from the Presbyter.
UNLESS there is a Covenant that provides otherwise, ALL Presbyters and Deacons (pro rata for less than full time ministry) are to be paid the full Standard Expenses Allowance.
However, Presbyters and Deacons need to maintain sufficient records so that, if asked by the Inland Revenue, they would be able to justify receiving the allowances.
Where a Presbyter or Deacon is unable to justify receiving the reimbursing allowance income tax is payable and the responsibility for payment lies with the Presbyter or Deacon.