GuideStone logo2024 Tax Guide

GuideStone announces release of its Ministers’ Tax Guide written by Richard Hammar, J.D. LL.M., CPA. • The 2024 edition of GuideStone’s annual Tax Return Preparation and Federal Reporting Guide, Ministers’ Tax Guide for 2023 Returns is now available. In this helpful handbook, both active and retired ministers will find step-by-step instructions, sample forms and detailed help in understanding the latest tax laws.

Retirement planning is a necessity for every minister and compensated staff member. It is the church’s responsibility to be good stewards in providing funds for retirement for all employees (ministers and staff).

Mississippi Baptist Convention Board (MBCB) and GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention have an agreement which provides protection coverage for every church staff member whom the church enrolls in the “Church Retirement Plan.”

The “Church Retirement Plan” is an employer sponsored 403 (b) (9) tax sheltered annuity in which the church (the employer) contributes monthly for any of the church employees she chooses (usually the pastor). W-2 employment is required to enroll an employee of your MBCB church. In addition, to qualify for “protection benefits” listed below, the employee must receive a W-2 and work at least 20 hours weekly. In either case, the church must contribute to the MBCB Cooperative Program and sign a Cooperative Agreement (available from MBCB Financial Services, Retirement). The employee may be full-time, part-time, bi-vocational ministerial or full-time, part-time non-ministerial or similar church school employees.

Upon enrollment, the church receives a monthly billing statement which is to be remitted with a church check each month to GuideStone. The employee is encouraged to contribute a portion of his/her check by signing a “Salary Reduction Agreement.” This agreement is kept on file at the church with other tax records.

Exclusive Protection Benefits

A participant in the MBCB “Church Retirement Plan” is eligible for two protection benefits and potential matching retirement contributions provided by our MBCB Cooperative Program.

  • Disability Income Benefit. This benefit provides an income of up to $500* per month if the participant becomes disabled, plus GuideStone contributes $35 to the participants retirement account each month of the disability.
  • Survivor Protection Benefit. This benefit is paid to the participant’s beneficiary if death is incurred while employed at an eligible church and the church is contributing monthly to the participant’s account. The benefit amount depends upon a participant’s age at death but can be as much as $100,000.*
Your Age at DeathMaximum Benefit Payable*
35 and under$100,000
71 and over$10,000

*Eligible participants earn 1/12 of the value of these benefits for each month of participation in the Church Retirement Plan in the 12 months immediately preceding the participant’s disability or death.

(Effective January 1, 2018) – To receive credit for protection benefits, the church or the participant must make a minimum retirement contribution of $50 per month into the eligible participant’s GuideStone retirement account. Disability benefits must begin before age 65 and will be limited to a payout of 60 months.

10 Reasons to enroll employees in the “Church Retirement Plan”


  1. The church staff participant receives a disability and survivor protection benefit that provides a safe harbor for his/her family.
  2. The church staff may receive matching retirement contributions credited to his/her GuideStone account.
  3. Employer contributions are not subject to current income or self-employment (SECA) taxes.
  4. All earnings on contributions grow tax-sheltered until withdrawn.
  5. Tax-sheltered contributions from the participant’s salary reduce the current income tax liability.
  6. Tax-sheltered contributions from participants who are Ministers for Tax Purposes are not subject to self-employment (SECA) taxes.
  7. Participants with limited incomes may qualify for a Saver’s Credit of up to $1,000 ($2,000 if married filing jointly). Learn more at
  8. Qualified distributions of 403 (b) Roth elective deferrals are tax free (with legal limits). It is an employer’s (the church) decision whether or not to enter into a Roth elective deferral – see the Enrollment Application.
  9. The minister’s housing allowance is a very important tax benefit for retired ministers, and GuideStone specializes in providing it during retirement. With GuideStone, eligible Ministers for Tax Purposes can designate up to 100% of their retirement benefits as a tax-free housing allowance.
  10. Neither the church nor the participant pays commission fees.

You can also call Tim Ruth (601.292.3297) or complete and submit a simple Enrollment Form


As employer, the church is responsible for enrollment and participant record keeping as to amounts, eligibility of benefits and Salary Reduction Agreements.Also, the church is required to keep the 403 (b) (9) “Church Retirement Plan” form: “Eligibility and Contribution Schedule” on file with church records.

See below at GuideStone Links for the “403 (b) (9) Retirement Plan for Southern Baptist Churches” document for more details.


The Financial Services Department provides assistance in financial and ethical issues related to staff support for the purposes of planning compensation, including retirement. GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention provides the “Church Retirement Plan,” a tax-sheltered annuity (TSA) or Internal Revenue Code section 403(b) (9) plan.

“Financial Issues for the Church” is a two-hour conference discussing legal, theological and ethical issues for compensation and other rules for the church, the pastor and/or staff. The target audience is the Finance Committee, the Church Treasurer, Deacons and other church positions related to financial issues.

Mission: Dignity is a GuideStone ministry to help make life better for God’s retired servants. Since 1918, GuideStone Financial Resources has been on a “Mission” to provide “Dignity” to retired Southern Baptist ministers, workers and their widows.These are men and women who have faithfully served God’s people and now find themselves struggling to meet even basic needs. Many served small, rural churches that paid only modest salaries and couldn’t afford to contribute to their pastors’ retirement. Often, these loyal soldiers of the cross had to work extra jobs just to make ends meet. Mission: Dignity currently provides financial support for nearly 2500 retired Southern Baptist ministers or their widows. Qualifying individuals receive $225 a month and qualifying couples receive $300 a month. The neediest persons with at least 25 years of SBC ministerial service may receive as much as $600.

Churches, Sunday School Classes or individuals who contribute to Mission:Dignity allow a larger number of ministers/widows to receive aid each month. Any size gift is accepted and nothing is removed for administrative cost – 100% is used to help someone in need. All gifts are tax deductible to the maximum allowed by law.

The Mississippi Baptist Convention has limited funds for financial assistance to retired ministers/widows.


GuideStone Links

The links below are provided for your convenience and take you directly to some of the information and forms that GuideStone makes available on their website. All of the items listed below along with a wealth of other information can be reached through the GuideStone Retirement home page.

If we can assist your association or church, or if you have a question, please contact us at 601-968-3800 or by e-mail