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  • FBT and religious practitioners - examples

    The following examples will help you understand the requirements for a fringe benefits tax (FBT) exemption for benefits provided to religious practitioners.

    Religious Practitioner

    Example:1

    David is employed by a registered religious institution to provide spiritual support to children, and to conduct the youth group. While David has a Bachelor of Theology, he is not ordained by the religious institution and is not commissioned or authorised by the religious institution to act as a minister or spiritual leader.

    He is not a religious practitioner and benefits provided to him will not be exempt from FBT.

    End of example

     

    Example:2

    Maya is commissioned by a registered religious institution to perform the pastoral duties of a minister of a religious institution. The religious institution employs her to run religious services on Wednesday and Friday, and to teach the Sunday school.

    Maya is a religious practitioner, and benefits provided to her by the religious institution will be exempt from FBT.

    End of example

     

    Example:3

    Arjun is employed by a registered religious institution that provides support services for other religious institutions. His duties are to write news and website articles for various religious institutions. He has academic qualifications in theology, however is not recognised by any ordination, and is not authorised to act as a minister or spiritual leader.

    Arjun is not a religious practitioner and benefits provided to him will not be exempt from FBT.

    End of example

    Pastoral activities

    Example:1

    Tashi is a minister of religion employed by a registered religious institution to teach at a private school it operates. Her duties are to teach the Studies of Religion subject to Year 11 and 12 students. These teaching duties are not pastoral or directly related religious activities, as they are concerned with teaching a recognised subject of the state Year 11 and 12 curriculums. Fringe benefits provided by the registered religious institution to Tashi would not be exempt from FBT.

    End of example

     

    Example:2

    Ameer is a minister of religion who is employed by a registered religious institution to teach at a private school it operates. His duties principally relate to teaching the Quran, leading the school’s daily prayer group and conducting religious instruction on the specific religious beliefs promoted by the registered religious institution.

    These duties are considered pastoral duties. Benefits provided by the registered religious institution to him would be exempt from FBT.

    End of example

     

    Example:3

    Liev is a minister of religion who is employed by a registered religious institution to teach at a private school it operates. His duties are to teach the Studies of Religion subject to Year 11 and 12 students, to provide religious guidance to the student body and conduct a weekly religious service.

    Teaching the Studies of Religion subject to Year 11 and 12 students are not pastoral duties. If it is clear that the benefits provided to him are in respect of providing religious guidance and the weekly religious service, which are pastoral duties, they would be exempt from FBT. For example, if he is provided with remuneration, similar to other curriculum teachers, for his teaching of the Studies of Religion subject, the additional benefits provided to him would be considered to be in respect of his pastoral duties.

    Alternatively, if Liev is not remunerated for the teaching the curriculum subject and is only provided with benefits similar to other ministers in the religious institution, the benefits could be considered to be related to the pastoral duties he conducts at the school and therefore would be exempt from FBT.

    End of example

    Directly related religious activities

    Example:1

    Brianna is a minister of religion employed by a registered religious institution. Her duties include writing spiritual content for the religious institution’s website and newsletters, as well as preparing programs for other ministers to use in spiritual study groups.

    These are directly related religious activities.

    End of example

     

    Example:2

    Zenshin is a minister of religion employed by a registered religious institution. He is the head administrator of the five schools run by the religious institution. His duties include:

    • overseeing the day to day functions of the schools
    • staff management
    • asset and financial management
    • program development.

    These are not directly related religious activities.

    End of example

     

    Example:3

    Gabrielle is a minister of religion employed by a registered religious institution. She is the musical director for the religious institution’s weekly service. Her duties include:

    • scheduling performers
    • conducting rehearsals for the supporting band and backing vocalists
    • attending production meetings
    • managing the technical rehearsal.

    These are not directly related religious activities.

    End of example

    Types of Benefit

    Example

    Abdul is a minister of religion employed by a registered religious institution to perform daily prayer services. The religious institution provides him with a residence, pays his children’s school fees, and pays for a holiday every two years.

    The benefits provided to Abdul are related to his pastoral duties and are exempt from FBT. Any benefit provided to a religious practitioner, or their spouse and children, related to the religious practitioner’s pastoral duties will be exempt from FBT.

    End of example

    Employee receiving non-cash benefits

    Example

    Jean is not ordained, but has been commissioned by a registered religious institution to perform the pastoral duties of a minister. He conducts religious services once a week and provides spiritual counselling to members throughout the week. The religious institution does not provide him with any monetary payment, but supplies him with a motor vehicle to enable him to perform pastoral duties.

    The provision of non-cash benefits, such as a motor vehicle, is sufficient payment for Jean to be considered an employee of the religious institution for FBT purposes. The provision of the motor vehicle will be exempt from FBT.

    End of example
      Last modified: 21 Jun 2019QC 59405