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Who's the employer

Guest JWR

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I have a situation where a district church registered as a corporation in their home state, instructed the local churches under its authority to register independently in their respective states (presumably to avoid liability for inappropriate behavior of the clergy). The local churches "hire" the pastor that is assigned to them from the district. Each pastor is allowed to name their own salary and church doctrine says the pastor controls all of the money and other property, without limit. The local churches pay the pastor out of their accounts and prepare a W-2 or 1099-r as needed. The district corporation sponsors a 403b plan. The only contributions are employer discretionary. The district church informs each local church what the contribution will be each year that an allocation is made. Shouldn't the local churches as the employer be making that determination? Is this a controlled group or affiliated service group of some type? The lines have been so messed up we can't tell you should be doing what. Any thoughts?

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