For years I have joked, that if only I could have the money that was collected on my behalf for Social Security and Medicare, I would be wealthy. Today I happened across [IRS form 4029]( Which states:

Form 4029 is used by members of recognized religious groups to apply for exemption from social security and Medicare taxes.

Well that is very interesting. Although there are a few requirements, if you ever received payment you are not eligible to abstain. You have to be a member of a *recognized* religion that holds certain beliefs and conforms to some criteria:

> * It is conscientiously opposed to accepting benefits of any private or public insurance that makes payments in the event of death, disability, old age, or retirement; makes payments for the cost of medical care; or provides services for medical care (including social security and Medicare benefits). > * It has provided a reasonable level of living for its dependent members. > * It has existed continuously since December 31, 1950.

The bad news is twofold, all that money you have already paid in, is forfeit. And you kind of get the shaft with your salary, as it is your employer matches all your contributions to Social Security/Medicare, there is nothing that says they have to pay you that money now, but maybe that is a fine tradeoff for you, if you can stop shunting 7.65% of your salary off to some giant account that you may never hear from again.

Also I have no idea what particular religion or religions are referenced by those requirements. And I also don't know what happens if the Feds find out that you have life insurance, yet have filed this claim. Probably nothing unless someone files form 765890-A to preclude your right to file form 4029. ;)

I can't see myself doing this, mainly because it seems a little screwy to join a religion just to get an extra 7.65% - (income tax) out of your pay check. Especially if this religion believes in ritual sacrifice.

AuthorKevin McAllister