Basic (02-23)

RM 04907.001 Processing IRS Form 4361

A. Background - Exemption from Compulsory Coverage of Ministerial Earnings

The Social Security Amendments of 1967 provided for the compulsory coverage of ministerial earnings derived after 1967 unless an exemption from coverage is granted.

To obtain an exemption from coverage, clergy or members must file an IRS Form 4361 (Application for Exemption from Self-Employment Tax for Use by Ministers, Members of Religious Orders and Christian Science Practitioners) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) stating that they are opposed to the acceptance of public insurance, as provided by the Social Security Act. Form 4361 must be filed on or before whichever of the following dates is later: (1) April 15, 1970; or (2) the due date of the applicant's tax return for the second taxable year that they had net earnings from self-employment of $400.00 or more, a part of which was derived from the exercise of their ministry. Approval of their application exempts them from paying self-employment tax on ministerial earnings and from obtaining Social Security coverage for such earnings. The coverage of earnings derived from other sources remains contingent upon existing coverage provisions.

Clergy or members who filed a valid IRS Form 2031 Revocation of Exemption From Self-Employment Tax for Use by Ministers, Members of Religious Orders, and Christian Science Practitioners (formerly titled, Waiver Certificate for Use by Ministers, Certain Members of Religious Orders and Christian Science Practitioners) electing Social Security coverage for any year prior to 1968 cannot now file Form 4361 to obtain an exemption.

B. Processing Form 4361

The IRS process Form 4361 then sends them to the Security Records Branch (SRB), Religious Exemption Unit (REU) in Boyers, PA. REU technicians that receive the Form 4361s are responsible for verifying the Social Security numbers (SSNs) on the forms before “Q’ing” the record. A “Q” indicator is automatically placed on the Numident in the Enumeration System Correspondence (ESCORR) system.

Technicians will process Form 4361 as follows:

  1. 1. 

    Arrange the Form 4361s in SSN order to create a batch for “Q’ing”.

    NOTE: Using the Enumeration System Correspondence (ESCORR) will automatically place a “Q” indicator on the Numident. Refer to local ESCORR Desk Guide for instructions.

  2. 2. 

    Examine the form for completeness and verify the SSN and name using the Numident.

    • If the SSN and name does not match the Numident or if information is missing on Form 4361, notify IRS by telephone to resolve the issue.

    • Examine any correspondence attached to or related to the Form 4361 to determine if a reply is required from SSA.

      • Correspondence which IRS has answered pertaining to taxation, method of filing, filing requirements, etc. are receipted in the 4361 database and retained per local retention.

        NOTE: Adding the Q code for correspondence on the Numident also provides a date, which involves a 2-PIN process.

      • Prepare replies to correspondence to relating to requests for:

        1. a. 

          blank Forms 4361

        2. b. 

          correction or cancellation of Forms

        3. c. 

          Social Security number information

  3. 3. 

    Entering the Record in the Religious Exemption Database

    1. a. 

      Enter the following information into the database:

      • Name

      • SSN

      • Date received

    2. b. 

      In the status areas enter:

      • Approved or disapproved

      • Date approved or disapproved

    3. c. 

      Scan Forms 4361 into the Generic Information Retrieval (GIR) database.

    4. d. 

      Update the status to “Scanned” in the Religious Exemption database.

C. Processing an Inquiry for Status or a Request for a Copy of the Form 4361

When an inquiry for the status or a request for a copy of the IRS Form 4361 is received, follow the instructions in RM 04906.001C to process the request.

NOTE: Inquiries received for either the status or a copy of the IRS Form 4361 is processed the same as inquiries for the status or copy of the IRS Form 4029.

D. Processing District Office or Program Service Center Requests

Occasionally, SSA processing service centers (PSCs) and district offices (DOs) request copies of IRS 4361 forms.

Technicians will process these requests as follows:

  1. 1. 

    Comply with requests for copies of forms 4361 or related information from SSA offices.

  2. 2. 

    Prepare a reply to the requesting office furnishing the desired information, if available.

  3. 3. 

    If the desired information cannot be obtained, notify the requesting office accordingly.

To Link to this section - Use this URL:
RM 04907.001 - Processing IRS Form 4361 - 02/22/2023
Batch run: 02/22/2023