Catholic Herald staff
An expert in helping clergy navigate tax laws gave a presentation Wednesday, July 17, in the Diocese of Superior.
The Finance Department hosted the Catholic Services Appeal-funded workshop at St. Joseph, Hayward. Bishop James P. Powers and approximately 50 priests, deacons, seminarians and staff attended.
The presenter, Scott Hoselton, has three decades of experience advising clergy. He is the principal of Shepherds Advisor, an organization that offers tax and retirement workshops and income tax manuals for priests and deacons.
Hoselton, who lives in Fargo, North Dakota, received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award from Pope St. John Paul II in 2001.
“This gentleman is the foremost expert on this in the United States,” said Larry French, director of Finance. “He’s the one that knows the issues around priests. I can tell you the bishop thought it was very good.”
French has specialized in corporate and business accounting throughout his career. Since he does not keep current on income tax laws, he said he is not the best person to advise diocesan clergy. French has consulted Hoselton in the past with his questions.
Among other goals, the purpose of the Catholic Services Appeal is to support parishes in their work of ministering as local Catholic communities. The role of the diocese is to determine and meet parishes’ needs.
Many international priests are serving in the Diocese of Superior. Income tax laws are complicated enough for American-born priests, French pointed out. For legal residents from other countries, figuring out the fair market value of their rectory housing, distinguishing between a taxable and non-taxable gift, and deciding what counts as a business expense is all the more difficult in an unfamiliar tax system.
Indian priests were well-represented at the workshop, French said, and the event also provided an informal setting for diocesan priests to meet and mingle with new priests from India.
Hoselton’s presentation also included information on retirement planning – calculating average costs of long-term care, determining the best age to begin collecting Social Security and more.