U.S. Court Rules Missionary Support Is Tax-Deductible

“U.S. Court Rules Missionary Support Is Tax-Deductible,” Ensign, Apr. 1984, 80

U.S. Court Rules Missionary Support Is Tax-Deductible

The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (Denver) has ruled in White vs. U.S. [No. 81–2033] that the money LDS parents send to support their sons and daughters in missionary work is tax-deductible.

The court ruled January 20 that a missionary’s work is primarily for the Church and not the personal benefit of the missionary or his parents. Finances used for the missionary’s travel and living expenses are therefore deductible because they are required by missionary service.

The court’s action overruled a long-held Internal Revenue Service position which disallowed deductions for missionary support payments. At press time, the IRS had not yet reacted to the ruling, but an appeal is possible.

The court case did not address a procedure established in 1981 which allowed parents to make missionary contributions to their ward or branch missionary fund. Members may continue to use this procedure, and the court’s ruling should ensure the deductibility of these funds, the Church’s legal counsel advised.

Members who might be affected by this ruling may want to consult with their tax adviser in filing 1983 income tax returns, and possibly amended returns for prior years.