If you are just starting your ministry, do not opt out of Social Security. In very limited cases, ministers can opt out of Social Security by meeting strict IRS guidelines and filing Form 4361, Application for Exemption from Self-Employment Tax for Use by Ministers, Members of Religious Orders and Christian Science Practitioners. Ministers are not allowed to opt out of Social Security because they think it’s a bad investment. Under penalty of perjury, a minister must make certain representations to the IRS on Form 4361. When filing Form 4361, a minister must certify that he is opposed on the basis of religious principles to acceptance of public insurance, which includes payments for death, disability, retirement or medical care. Additionally, the minister must certify that he has informed his ordaining body of his opposition to accepting public insurance benefits on the basis of religious principles. Few, if any, Southern Baptist ministers can meet these requirements. There is also a filing deadline. Three copies of this form must be filed by the due date of the tax return for the second year in which a minister had net earnings from self-employment of at least $400, any part of which came from ministerial income. The IRS also has to approve the application.