Completing W-2 Forms

Part of The Congregational Handbook

By Jan Gartner

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Can you provide guidance and resources for completing W-2 forms for both ministers and other congregational staff?


By January 31 after the tax year, W-2 forms must be given to employees and sent to the Social Security Administration.

Box-by-box Instructions

Our Form W-2 Instructions, updated each year, provide box-by-box guidance, highlighting differences between ministerial staff and other employees.

Truncated SSN Allowed

To protect employees from identity theft, truncated social security numbers are now allowed on the employee copies of W-2s. SSNs can be masked by replacing the first five digits of the nine-digit number with asterisks or XXXs, e.g., ***-**-1234 or XXX-XX-1234. Truncating the SSN is allowed but not mandatory.


Moving expenses paid by the employer, whether directly paid to a vendor or reimbursed to an employee, are taxable (as of 2018).

Professional Expenses are not reportable income as long as they are provided according to an accountable plan. See our Professional Expense Allowances LeaderLab article.

IRS Resources

  • See IRS Publication 517 (PDF), Social Security and Other Information for Members of the Clergy and Religious Workers.
  • Section 4–Religious Exemptions and Special Rules for Ministers in IRS Publication 15-A (PDF).
  • On IRS Web page search under Clergy and Religious Workers.
  • The IRS operates a centralized call site to answer questions about reporting information on the form: 1-866-455-7438.

About the Author

Jan Gartner

Jan is passionate about helping congregations live out their values within their walls!...

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