Why were we audited?


Published May 26, 2013 at 05:00AM / Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 12:31AM

All the furor over the current IRS scandal brings to mind my own situation. I am a retired minister. Over our career my wife and I were audited not once, but twice within a span of only 3-4 years by the IRS. It certainly was not because I was a “big earner”! Pastors in general are not paid exorbitant salaries. Therefore, there’s not that much in taxes to deal with. So, why the audits?

It’s extremely unnerving to sit in front of and be challenged by an official of the U.S. government! Two issues came to the front in those scary interviews. First, I was queried because we had given “so much” to the church and other Christian agencies. Second, I was pressed and made to feel guilty due to my use of the “pastoral housing allowance,” which the IRS itself provides for ministers.

I produced detailed evidence of my correct use of both, being relieved I had kept meticulous records. Both auditors figuratively bowed to me (us) and said, “Your records certainly absolve you of any misdoing, you’ve kept excellent records.” We shook hands and left their frightening office, feeling like two wet dishrags.

So, I ask, why were we audited? There must have been some targeting going on.

Don Boldt

Bend