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Housing Allowance Letters

RCA Ministers of Word and sacrament getting distributions will benefit from the housing exclusion.

The Board of Benefits Services of the Reformed Church in America annually at its fall meeting acts to designate up to 100% of distributions from the RCA Retirement Plan and the RCA 403(b) Retirement Program as housing allowance for participants in the plan(s) who are eligible for the housing allowance under relevant provisions of the United States Internal Revenue Code. It is the responsibility of each individual tax filer to determine what portion of his/her RCA retirement compensation can be claimed upon tax filing. Below you will find the annual housing allowance letters for the last several years as well as a housing allowance letter for retirement plan income in the current tax year. You may download and print the appropriate letter for your tax advisor or to submit with your tax filing.

The staff members of the Board of Benefits Services are not authorized to provide tax advice to plan participants. If you have questions about your taxes or how much to claim for housing allowance please consult a tax advisor or the Internal Revenue Service.

Download the housing allowance letter from the year in which you need it:


Claiming the clergy housing allowance and the RCA Retirement Plan

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Housing Allowances for Retired Ministers

Pension payments, retirement allowances, or disability payments paid to a retired minister from an established plan are generally taxable as pension income. However, most denominations designate a housing allowance for retired ministers to compensate them for past services to local churches of the denomination, to the denomination itself, or in denominational administrative positions. The housing allowance designated relates only to payments from the denominationally-sponsored retirement program. Withdrawals from a denominationally sponsored 403(b) plan, also called a tax-sheltered annuity (TSA), or from a 401(k) plan qualify for designation as a housing allowance. Withdrawals from a 403(b) or 401(k) plan not sponsored by a denomination or a church are not eligible for designation as a housing allowance.

If a denomination reports the gross amount of pension or TSA payments on Form 1099-R and designates the housing allowance, the minister may offset the housing expenses and include the net amount on Form 1040, page 1. A supplementary schedule such as the following example should be attached to the tax return: 

Pensions and annuity income $10,000
Less housing exclusion -8,000
Form 1040, Line 5b $ 2,000 $2,000

For a retired minister, the amount excluded for income tax purposes is limited to the lowest of (1) the amount used to provide a home, (2) the properly designated housing allowance, or (3) the fair rental value of the furnished home, plus utilities. A surviving spouse of a retired minister cannot exclude a housing allowance from income.

2024 Minister’s Tax and Financial Guide, pp. 75-76

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Board of Benefits Services
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New York, NY 10115
866-221-5480; FAX: 833-627-7620