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I am not a tax advisor, so take this with a grain of salt. The housing allowance provision is not as complicated as it might seem.

I know nothing about how the ELCA handles housing allowances, but what you have written seems a bit odd to me. The IRS does not require the money to come from your pension plan, nor do they require 20% of your housing allowance to be sent to them (presumably to offset taxes should it not be actually spend on housing?) The IRS allows an ordained minister to designate a portion of his regular salary as his/her housing allowance, which is not taxed and is not listed as taxable income on your W-2 form. I don't know why you would need to take it from your pension. If the housing allowance is too large, the amount not spend on housing must be added in as taxable income. I add mine on line 21 of my 1040 and mark it "Excess housing allowance." I also attach a supplementary sheet with details.

There is some information here

Also, as wradical mentioned, pick up the IRS publication 517, it has some additional information that might be helpful and I think it has several example tax forms filled in. It is also available online. If you have a Christian bookstore in your area you might want to check and see if they have a clergy tax handbook. The local Family Bookstore always carries this here.

As I said, I am not a tax advisor, and haven't even spent the night in a Holiday Inn Express lately.

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