Diocesan News

Ask the Register: what do priests get paid?

Q. What do priests get paid? Do they have to pay taxes?

A. Pastors in the Diocese of Lincoln receive a salary of $1,800 per month. In addition, the parish provides a residence (rectory) which includes room and board, that is, food and utilities. Also, the parish provides health insurance coverage for each priest.

In addition, priests received stipends (free-will offerings) for the celebration of the Mass. Ordinarily, this is $10 per Mass. Thus, most priests receive an additional $300 a month ($10 per Mass, times 30 days in a month).

It is also expected that priests pay into Social Security as a means of augmenting their retirement income.

From their salary, priests have to buy their own car, keep it in repair, fuel and insure the car. He also must buy his own clothes and any personal items he may wish. Priests may own property, for example a car, or perhaps a house and/or furniture he may inherit from his parents.

Yes, priests pay taxes. The Internal Revenue Service requires priests to file tax returns which includes the value of Church-provided housing and associated benefits. Priests must also pay sales tax on all individual purchases and property tax on items such as cars. Civil law obliges priests to file tax returns and to pay taxes on all income.

From a pastor’s perspective I just want to point out the generosity of so many people toward their priests. Many priests receive generous gifts from parishioners, for example at Christmas or on their birthdays. I believe most priests would agree that their compensation is very adequate and that their people are very good to them. While they may not make salaries commensurate to the public sector, their retirement program is out of this world.

This question was answered by a priest of the Diocese of Lincoln. Write to Ask the Register using our online form, or write to 3700 Sheridan Blvd., Suite 10, Lincoln NE 68506-6100. All questions are subject to editing. Editors decide which questions to publish. Personal questions cannot be answered. People with such questions are urged to take them to their nearest Catholic priest.

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