Form 4361 (Rev. 1-2011)
Ministerial service, in general, is the service
you perform in the exercise of your ministry, in
the exercise of the duties required by your
religious order, or in the exercise of your
profession as a Christian Science pracitioner.
Ministerial earnings are the self-employment
earnings that result from such service. See Pub.
517 for details.
Do not file Form 4361 if:
• You ever filed Form 2031, Revocation of
Exemption From Self-Employment Tax for Use
by Ministers, Members of Religious Orders, and
Christian Science Practitioners; or
• You belong to a religious order and took a vow
of poverty. You are automatically exempt from
self-employment tax on earnings for services you
perform for your church or its agencies. No tax
exemption applies to earnings for services you
perform for any other organization.
Additional information. See Pub. 517, Social
Security and Other Information for Members of
the Clergy and Religious Workers.
When to file. File Form 4361 by the due date,
including extensions, of your tax return for the
second tax year in which you had at least $400
of net earnings from self-employment, any of
which came from ministerial services.
Effective date of exemption. An exemption
from self-employment tax is effective for all tax
years ending after 1967 in which you have net
self-employment earnings of $400 or more if you
receive any of it from ministerial services. For
example, if you had qualified net earnings of
$400 or more in 2008 and not again until 2010, a
valid Form 4361 filed by April 15, 2011, would
apply to 2008 and all later years. See Pub. 517 to
find out if you are entitled to a refund of self-
employment tax paid in earlier years.
Where to file. Mail the original and two copies of
this form to: Department of the Treasury, Internal
Revenue Service Center, Philadelphia, PA
Approval of application. Before your application
can be approved, the IRS must verify that you
are aware of the grounds for exemption and that
you want the exemption on that basis. When
your completed Form 4361 is received, the IRS
will mail you a statement that describes the
grounds for receiving an exemption under
section 1402(e). You must certify that you have
read the statement and seek exemption on the
grounds listed on the statement. The certification
must be made by signing a copy of the
statement under penalties of perjury and mailing
it to the IRS not later than 90 days after the date
the statement was mailed to you. If it is not
mailed by that time, your exemption will not be
effective until the date the signed copy is
received by the IRS.
If your application is approved, a copy of
Form 4361 will be returned to you marked
“approved.” Keep this copy of Form 4361 for
your permanent records. Once the exemption is
approved, you cannot revoke it.
Exempt earnings. Only earnings from
ministerial services (ministerial earnings) are
exempt from self-employment tax.
Conducting religious worship services or
ministering sacerdotal functions are ministerial
services whether or not performed for a religious
Ministerial services also include controlling,
conducting, and maintaining religious
organizations (including religious boards,
societies, and other agencies integral to these
organizations) under the authority of a church or
If your church assigns or designates you to
perform services for an organization that is
neither a religious organization nor an integral
agency of a religious organization, you are
performing ministerial services even though they
may not involve conducting religious worship or
ministering sacerdotal functions. Your services
are ordinarily not considered assigned or
designated by your church if any of the following
• The organization for which you perform the
services did not arrange with your church for
• You perform the same services for the
organization as other employees not designated
as you were.
• You perform the same services before and
after the designation.
Nonexempt earnings. Exemption from self-
employment tax does not apply to earnings from
services that are not ministerial.
Earnings from the following entities are not
exempt even if religious services are conducted
or sacerdotal functions are ministered: the United
States; a state, territory, or possession of the
United States; the District of Columbia; a foreign
government; or a subdivision of any of these
bodies. For example, chaplains in the U.S.
Armed Forces are considered commissioned
officers, not ministers. Similarly, chaplains in
state prisons or universities are considered civil
Indicating exemption on Form 1040. If the IRS
returns your application marked “approved” and
your only self-employment income was from
ministerial services, enter “Exempt—Form 4361”
on the self-employment tax line in the Other
Taxes section of Form 1040. If you had other
self-employment income, see Schedule SE
Line 3. Enter the date you were ordained,
commissioned, or licensed as a minister of a
church; became a member of a religious order;
or began practice as a Christian Science
practitioner. Do not file Form 4361 before this
date. Attach a copy of the certificate (or, if you
did not receive one, a letter from the governing
body of your church) that establishes your status
as an ordained, commissioned, or licensed
minister; a member of a religious order; or a
Christian Science practitioner.
Line 4. If you are a minister or belong to a
religious order, enter the legal name, address,
and employer identification number of the
denomination that ordained, commissioned, or
licensed you, or the order to which you belong.
Get the employer identification number from your
church or order.
You must be able to show that the body that
ordained, commissioned, or licensed you, or your
religious order, is exempt from federal income
tax under section 501(a) as a religious
organization described in section 501(c)(3). You
must also be able to show that the body is a
church (or convention or association of churches)
described in section 170(b)(1)(A)(i). To assist the
IRS in processing your application, you can
attach a copy of the exemption letter issued to
the organization by the IRS. If that is not
available, you can attach a letter signed by an
individual authorized to act for the organization
stating that the organization meets both of the
Privacy Act and Paperwork Reduction Act
Notice. We ask for the information on this form
to carry out the Internal Revenue laws of the
United States. We need this information to
ensure that you are complying with these laws
and to allow us to figure and collect the right
amount of tax. Applying for an exemption from
self-employment tax is voluntary. However,
providing the requested information is mandatory
if you apply for the exemption. Our legal right to
ask for the information requested on this form is
Internal Revenue Code sections 1402(e), 6001,
6011, 6012(a), and 6109 and their regulations.
Code section 6109 requires that you provide
your social security number on what you file. If
you fail to provide all or part of the information
requested on Form 4361, your application may
be denied. If you provide false or fraudulent
information, you may be subject to penalties.
You are not required to provide the information
requested on a form that is subject to the
Paperwork Reduction Act unless the form
displays a valid OMB control number. Books or
records relating to a form or its instructions must
be retained as long as their contents may
become material in the administration of any
Internal Revenue law.
Generally, tax returns and return information
are confidential, as stated in section 6103.
However, section 6103 allows or requires the
Internal Revenue Service to disclose or give the
information shown on your tax return to others as
described in the Code. We may disclose this
information to the Social Security Administration
for administration of the exemption, to the
Department of Justice to enforce civil and
criminal tax laws, and to cities, states, the
District of Columbia, and U.S. commonwealths
or possessions to administer their tax laws. We
may also disclose this information to other
countries under a tax treaty, to federal and state
agencies to enforce federal nontax criminal laws,
and to federal law enforcement and intelligence
agencies to combat terrorism.
Please keep this notice with your records. It
may help you if we ask you for other information.
If you have any questions about the rules for
filing and giving information, please call or visit
any Internal Revenue Service office.
The average time and expenses required to
complete and file this form will vary depending
on individual circumstances. For the estimated
averages, see the instructions for your income
If you have suggestions for making this form
simpler, we would be happy to hear from you.
You can write to the Internal Revenue Service,
Tax Products Coordinating Committee,
SE:W:CAR:MP:T:T:SP, 1111 Constitution
Avenue, NW, IR-6526, Washington, DC 20224.
Do not send the form to this address. Instead,
see Where to file on this page.