Televangelist Creflo Dollar recently came under fire for asking that 200,000 of his followers donate $300 each to buy a $60-million luxury jet for his use. In the wake of bad publicity associated with the request, it appears that he may have cancelled the campaign before reaching his goal. The problem is: What happens to money already collected?
As March and April roll around each year, a collective sigh can be heard as Americans prepare to file their taxes. Much of the groaning comes in response to the complexity of figuring out what regulations apply. The clergy housing allowance is a perfect example.
In some ways, churches must run like businesses. However, houses of worship have specific needs that secular accounting software just can’t accommodate. In this insightful new eBook, ChMS expert Michael Jordan talks about those unique needs — and how the right ChMS meets them. Download this eBook now! And, keep an eye on your inbox for additional chapters, from giving / donation tools to first-time visitor engagement.
July lawsuit settlement with atheist group, IRS admits monitoring churches for allegedly illegal political activity
What you need to know now
Churches are in the charity business.
As employers, churches are significantly affected by the new health care reform legislation.
In this modern era, many churches are offering more and more services to its congregants to attract new members, retain established members and create revenue to operate the church or fund its programs. Common examples may include a bookstore or coffee bar. As a general rule, a church is not taxed on its income or revenues from an activity that is substantially related to the religious or charitable purposes of the organization.
How important to a church is having an Accountable Reimbursement Plan (ARP)? With an ARP, expense reimbursements and advances are not reported as wages and are exempt from withholding and employment taxes. Without an ARP, reimbursed expenses, even when legitimate, must be reported as wages and are subject to withholding and employment taxes.
Churches often maintain benevolence funds to assist needy individuals in times of financial crisis. However, these churches may not have enough structure in place to provide essential direction and documentation.