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Your work for a nonprofit or religious organization

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Before 1984, people who worked for nonprofit religious, charitable or educational organizations did not pay into Social Security unless they specifically chose to take part in the program. But the law changed in January 1984; since that time, all employees of nonprofit organizations are required to pay Social Security taxes. Generally, as an employee of a nonprofit organization, your earnings are subject to Social Security taxes if you are paid $100 or more in a year.

Special information if you work for a religious organization
Some religious groups oppose paying Social Security taxes. By law, they are permitted to choose not to participate in the Social Security program. If you work for a religious organization that doesn't pay into the Social Security program, you must pay Social Security taxes if your earnings are more than $100 per year. (In effect, you are treated similarly to those who are self-employed, but self-employed people don't pay Social Security until they reach $400 of net earnings.) You report your earnings over $100 from the religious organization as part of your Federal income tax return. The self-employment tax rate is 15.3 percent, although there are special tax credits you can take when you file your tax return.

Note: If you receive a pension based on noncovered work for a nonprofit or religious organization, see here how that pension may affect your Social Security benefits.

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Last reviewed or modified Friday Sep 12, 2008
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