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Why Your Church Needs a Professional Payroll System

Although church payroll shares some characteristics with business payroll and nonprofit payroll, churches and religious organizations must successfully navigate unique concerns like employee classification of clergy, housing allowance payments, employees in multiple states, and much more. Churches often have a unique blend of tax obligations based on the jurisdiction(s) where they operate, workforce composition, and which local, state, and federal tax deductions are required based on 501(c)3 status and other factors. 

The Benefits of Having Part-Time Employees-1

With such an array of factors affecting payroll, compliance, and workforce management, churches often benefit from the use of a professional payroll system, especially when working with a qualified provider that offers specialized support with church payroll. Using a professional payroll system can help your church streamline payroll, timekeeping, taxes, administration, and empower you to shift focus towards your mission and away from time-consuming administrative and manual tasks.

Let’s explore the main benefits of using church payroll services to ensure long-term compliance, employee satisfaction, and peace of mind about payroll taxes.

Benefits of a Professional Payroll System

A professional church payroll system can help your church automate and simplify a number of payroll and HR tasks that are much more difficult (and prone to human error) when using an in-house, manual approach, or a range of disjointed digital tools.

Whether it’s accurate calculation of employee hours, paychecks delivered on time via direct deposit, or automated withholdings to make tax season stress-free, a professional payroll system supports all of these processes. As automation features support day-to-day operations, they also ensure lasting compliance with local, state, and federal regulations – avoiding penalties, liability issues, or employee dissatisfaction resulting from late or inaccurate pay.

Payroll Compliance

When it comes to reviewing taxes submitted by churches, the IRS is especially stringent about worker/employee classification. Whether it’s misclassifying employees as volunteers and failing to withhold payments for FICA taxes, or misclassifying part-time employees as independent contractors, these mistakes can lead to significant penalties for churches. Employee classification and payroll compliance can be even more difficult when accounting for ministers, who usually have dual tax status, meaning they are considered a church employee for federal income taxes and self-employed for FICA (Social Security and Medicaid) taxes. Working with a qualified payroll provider with extensive experience with church payroll and compliance can help your organization accurately classify all employees and make accurate withholdings and payments year-round. A professional payroll provider can also help you identify special exemptions for which your organization qualifies, lessening your tax and compliance obligations over time.

Accurate Tax Forms, Withholdings, and Payments

Churches must accurately complete, file, and keep records of a wide number of tax forms. From ensuring W-2s match the general ledger and quarterly 941 Forms to properly reporting housing allowance payments and factoring expense reimbursements into compensation amounts, the process can become dizzying without professional payroll support.

Fortunately, a professional payroll system allows your church to make accurate deductions for non-clergy and clergy employees, and file all tax forms accurately and on time. Whether it’s state income tax withheld from employee paychecks or withheld FICA taxes, these processes are automated and simplified with a dedicated church payroll system and expert support to guide you through the process. The right church payroll provider can also help you integrate payroll with benefits administration, ensuring accurate deductions for health insurance, retirement, and more.

Efficient Administration, HR Integration, & Employee Satisfaction

Working with a qualified church payroll provider allows you to bypass a range of redundant manual tasks related to payroll: everything from gathering direct deposit information, issuing paychecks, calculating taxes & deductions, and much more. Beyond streamlining all of these processes, dedicated expert support also helps you navigate more nuanced considerations like how to manage and classify staff gifts, personal use of church-owned vehicles, employee reimbursement payments, or property transfers.

A qualified payroll provider offers services that extend to (and integrate) with other essential HR processes like onboarding and time & attendance. With these integration options, you can more easily manage employee data across different facets of HCM, including compensation, hours worked, PTO, and much more. Just as a professional payroll system benefits the organization, it equally benefits individual employees, who benefit from increased transparency and access to a mobile, self-service HR platform with 24-7 access that allows them to review their employee information, request PTO, and much more. Additionally, with easy implementation of direct deposit pay (at a frequency of your choosing), employees feel greater confidence and trust in their employer and the organization’s investment in employee well-being.

Focus on Your Mission and Primary Duties

It’s not uncommon for payroll, tax, and compliance concerns to cause organizations to split their energy between essential, mission-focused work and tedious, time-consuming administrative tasks. Arguably the biggest benefit of working with a professional church payroll provider is that it enables your church to prioritize its mission and most pressing, growth-oriented projects and tasks. While the automation features built within a professional payroll system can streamline many payroll, tax, and compliance-oriented tasks, these tools are even more powerful when paired with personalized, customized support. CAVU offers each of its clients a Payroll Guide to respond to and address any payroll or HR-related issue, whether it’s a jurisdiction-specific compliance concern or a payroll question that needs to be resolved or adjusted within your system. We provide expert support and solutions to make your payroll process work seamlessly with all other facets of HR management within your organization.
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Simplify Church Payroll and Compliance with CAVU HCM

Managing payroll, compliance, tax concerns and other related HR processes without professional tools and support can detract from the key mission-based work that defines your organization.

Streamline your church's administrative tasks and ensure payroll compliance with CAVU HCM's professional payroll services. Ready to enjoy long-term compliance, employee satisfaction, and streamlined payroll? Contact us today for a free consultation to discover how we can help your church focus more on its mission and less on paperwork.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided herein does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, tax, accounting, or other professional advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation and for your particular state(s) of operation.