Parishes may not give a monthly allowance to a priest for car usage. Instead, mileage reimbursement to a priest may be made for parish (not personal) use upon presentation of a mileage log. Reimbursement is at the mileage rate established annually by the Archdiocese of Mobile.
Priests are to follow the following requirement from the Ministerial Reimbursement Policy established in 2010. The Ministerial Reimbursement Acknowledgment form is below. Each priest, no later than January 5 of each year, must submit to the parish or ministry which pays the priest’s stipend the enclosed form noting the amount spent by the priest in each category.
If the total equals or exceeds the amount of Ministerial Reimbursement received during the calendar year, then the Ministerial Reimbursement is not taxable. If the amount is less, the parish or ministry must report the difference as taxable income on the 1099 Form that is submitted to the IRS. Receipts need not be furnished to the parish or ministry, however, any taxpayer, including a priest, is urged to retain appropriate receipts in the event of an IRS audit of the individual. It is recommended that priests discuss this with whoever assists them with the preparation of their income tax statement.
ARCHDIOCESE OF MOBILE
MINISTERIAL REIMBURSEMENT FORM
FOR THE YEAR __________
PROFESSIONAL FEES $_______________
BOOKS AND SUBSCRIPTIONS $_______________
UNREIMBURSED PROFESSIONAL TRAVEL $________________
(If this amount is less than the amount received during the year for the professional reimbursement stipend, the difference needs to be reported as income for tax purposes.)
SIGNATURE OF PRIEST
Summary of Salary and Benefits for Priests Serving in the Archdiocese of Mobile
The normal protocol in the Archdiocese of Mobile is for each parish to supply a rectory for housing and to supply food to be eaten in the rectory for its pastor/administrator and priests. Most parishes also provide a staff or services for cleaning and maintenance of the parish rectory.
The parish or archdiocesan ministry to which a priest is assigned is his source of salary. The current salary is $1,400.00 per month. Salary increases are publicized from the Chancery Office upon the decision of the Archbishop after consultation with the Presbyteral Council and the Fiscal Management Office. In the case of a priest from a religious order who is providing ministry in the Archdiocese of Mobile, salary may be forwarded to the religious order and in turn the order will provide for the needs of its priests. Each religious order has different protocols for distributing salary, but the base salary of $1,400.00 per month should be paid for each priest from his source of salary.
Ministerial reimbursement will remain at $525.00 per month for each priest in active ministry and is paid from the source of salary. This reimbursement is intended to reimburse active priests for unreimbursed expenses related to the exercise of their ministry. Such expenses, all of which must be related to the priestly ministry of the priest in accord with IRS norms, may include uniforms, professional fees, books and subscriptions, meals eaten outside the rectory, and unreimbursed travel. Each priest, no later than January 5 of the following year, must submit to the parish or ministry which is his source of salary the ministerial reimbursement acknowledgement form noting the amount spent by the priest in each category. If a priest’s annual ministerial expenses are less than the ministerial reimbursement for the year, the difference is subject to income taxes.
In addition to the monthly ministerial reimbursement, the source of salary for each priest will cover the necessary fees for each priest to attend a required annual retreat. The Archdiocese of Mobile organizes a retreat for archdiocesan priests the last week of May each year. The cost is customarily around $300. Each priest is also entitled to spend up to $600.00 annually from the source of salary for programs and supplies for continuing education relating to ministry. Priests are encouraged to use the continuing education allowance to attend the Priests’ Continuing Education conference that is organized through the Vicar General’s Office each October.
In regards to health insurance, the Archdiocese of Mobile is self-insured through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama. The insurance costs and premiums are evaluated each year by an insurance committee of the Archdiocese. The 2019-2020 premium for active priests under the age of 65 is $1,170.00 per month. The parish or source of salary for the priest will be billed this amount each month for health insurance for each priest who is eligible. Active priests 65 years or older are required to enroll in Medicare as their primary insurance and the Archdiocesan insurance will become secondary. Their source of salary will pay the cost of Medicare (Part B) which for 2020 is $144.60 per month. The source of salary will also pay the premium of $465.00 per month for Archdiocesan insurance as the secondary provider. Religious Order priests with assignments in the archdiocese may participate in insurance plans through their Order with premium payments from the parish not to exceed $1,170.00 monthly.
Contributions for priest retirement are provided through a 2% cathedraticum on parish taxable income reported on the annual parish financial report. The retirement cathedraticum will be billed to each parish from the Archdiocesan Fiscal Management Office and earmarked to the Retired and Sick Priest Fund, which supplies a monthly stipend to retired archdiocesan priests. The Archdiocese may agree to make contributions to the retirement fund of religious order priests assigned to serve in the Archdiocese of Mobile. Retirement contributions for Religious order priests will be based upon agreement between the Archbishop and the
Superior of the Religious Order. Parishes are not to submit contributions to the retirement fund of a religious order priest directly. The Archdiocese of Mobile Fiscal Management Office will submit contributions to the retirement fund of a religious order priest once the 2% cathedraticum is paid in full from the parish.
The Archdiocese of Mobile reimburses mileage based upon the United States Internal Revenue Service standard mileage allowance rate. At present that amount is 57.5 cents per mile, effective January 1, 2020. Priests should log mileage they incur for the parish and will be reimbursed from their source of salary, unless their automobile and gas are provided by the parish or ministry. If an automobile and gas are provided, the priest may be required to submit records of mileage for tax purposes, but would not be reimbursed for these expenses as they were paid by the parish or institution.
All priests, unless specific arrangements have been made through a religious order, should file individual income tax annually as required by the United States Internal Revenue Service. For income tax purposes the majority of priests are categorized as “self-employed” persons. Priests in the United States under immigration sponsorship of the Archdiocese of Mobile are required to be categorized as archdiocesan employees and are not considered “self-employed.” Monthly priestly stipends, in addition to Mass stipends or any compensation of value given in recognition of priestly duties is considered taxable income by the IRS. Once a priest has compiled his end of the year tax return and if the priest is categorized as self-employed, then the first page of the tax return which shows social security self-employment tax can be submitted to the source of salary for reimbursement of ½ of the social security self-employment tax.
Inquiries regarding priests’ salary and benefits can be submitted to the Archdiocese of Mobile Fiscal Management Office.
All contracts listed below, regardless of amount, must be sent to the Fiscal Management Office for legal review:
* Sale or Purchase of Property
* Building Lease Agreements
* High Risk Situations (i.e. demolishing a building, environmental
issues, government regulated activities, etc.)
* Professional Service Contracts (i.e. architects, engineers, etc.)
For other contracts less than $10,000
* Legal review is not required; however,
For contracts of $10,000 or more
* Must be sent to the Fiscal Management Office for review prior to
* No work may begin until after the contract has been reviewed and
For contracts of $25,000 or more
* Must receive preapproval from the Archbishop
* Required to submit a letter from pastor and all members of parish
* After receiving approval for the project, the contract must be sent
to the Fiscal Management Office for review prior to signing
* No work may begin until the contract has been signed by the
President of the parish corporation
- All change orders must be preapproved in writing by the President
of the parish corporation.
Parishes may not give a monthly food allowance for a priest. A budget may be prepared for this, but reimbursement for food is to be made to a priest only upon presentation of a receipt for the food expense.
No cleric, principal, or director of a ministry may establish a “Go Fund Me” or similar outreach for financial assistance for himself or herself personally or for any parish or school ministry without the prior written permission of the Archbishop of Mobile.
No “Go Fund Me” or similar outreach for financial assistance may be established for any Church ministry without the prior written permission of the Archbishop of Mobile. If one is approved, the funds must be solely under the control of the pastor.
In each parish staffed by priests of a religious congregation, the pastor may authorize one annual collection in the support of the religious congregation. The proceeds from this collection, as with any second collection, are to be sent to the Archdiocesan Finance Office so the funds may be forwarded to the religious congregation. No other appeals for the religious congregation may be undertaken in the parish during the year without the prior written approval of the Archbishop of Mobile.
Parishes may not have a direct link on their website with allows a contribution to be made directly to a non-archdiocesan ministry or religious congregation.
All funds collection in a parish or donated to the parish belong to the parish and not to the religious congregation whose members serve in the parish. No parish funds may be sent to any religious congregation or other ministry without the prior written approval of the Archbishop of Mobile.
The pastor may not give any donations from parish funds to relatives. In accord with archdiocesan policy, the pastor may not employ relatives.
Parishes are not to send funds to any ministry without the prior written permission of the Archbishop of Mobile. Some parishes generously support “sister” parishes in developing nations. This is commendable and may continue; at the same time, the prior written permission of the Archbishop of Mobile is required.
Parishes may also make a once a year donation to another parish located in the Archdiocese of Mobile not to exceed an annual total of $250 to the receiving parish. Any larger donation requires the prior written permission of the Archbishop of Mobile.
It should be noted that the monthly salary and stipends of priests who are members of a religious congregation are sent to the religious congregations. The religious congregation determines the monthly remuneration of the religious priests. The remuneration of archdiocesan priests is determined by archdiocesan policy. Clergy do not determine their own remunerations.
The Code of Canon Law requires each parish to have a Finance Council. (Canon 537) The Council, governed by the norms of the Code, allows the Christian faithful to be of assistance to the pastor in the administration of parish goods. The policy of the Archdiocese of Mobile is as follows:
The role of the Parish Finance Council shall be consultative to the pastor who presides over the Finance Council. The meetings of the Finance Council are called by the pastor or parish administrator who approves the agenda. While it is expected that the pastor give due consideration to the advice of the Council, the pastor alone, in concert with the pertinent regulations of the Archdiocese, has the ultimate responsibility for all decisions affecting the finances of the parish.
Members of the Parish Financial Council:
- shall be lay Catholics in good standing and, preferably, members of the parish;
- shall be knowledgeable in the areas of finance, law or administration;
- shall not be employees, or be related to employees of the parish, nor have extensive business relationships with the parish.
The Parish Finance Council:
- shall consist of a minimum of three members and a suggested maximum of seven;
- quorum shall consist of a majority;
- members shall be appointed by the pastor and serve a term of three
years; members may be reappointed;
- appointments should be staggered to provide continuity of
- minutes shall be kept of each meeting;
- there shall be at least two meetings each year;
- employees and other parish clergy may be invited by the pastor attend.
The duties of the Parish Finance Council are assistance to the pastor in:
- the preparation of the annual parish budgets for all parish ministries;
- the review of periodic financial reports;
- consultation on major capital expenditures;
- advice on fundraising efforts;
- the review and certification of movable inventories;
- providing written recommendations when archdiocesan contract review process requires such from all members of the finance council (whether in favor or not);
- providing aid and advice in other areas as requested by the pastor.
All members of a Parish Finance Council must be aware of and follow the Archdiocesan Policy on Financial Actions. That policy includes the need for prior permission for loans, entering into contracts and alienation of church property, and specific Procedures for Obtaining Approval for Financial Arrangements.