Year end tax statements

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rjamesh
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Year end tax statements

Postby rjamesh » Mon Jan 05, 2009 6:02 pm

What is the extent of our obligation to get these statements in the hands of the members? We have usually printed all of them, handed most out to members who show up in January, mailed some out of town to those who we suspect will itemize, etc. Are we in violation of law if ALL of them are not either handed to the members or mailed out by 1/31/2009? It's a painful process, especially since I suspect a rather low % of ward members actually itemize.

Thanks for all reponses.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Jan 05, 2009 6:38 pm

astropixel wrote:What is the extent of our obligation to get these statements in the hands of the members? We have usually printed all of them, handed most out to members who show up in January, mailed some out of town to those who we suspect will itemize, etc. Are we in violation of law if ALL of them are not either handed to the members or mailed out by 1/31/2009? It's a painful process, especially since I suspect a rather low % of ward members actually itemize.


The Church policies on this topic never mention the law (and I am in no position to comment on legal issues). They simply say what clerks should do. For example, the Tithing Settlement training lesson says:

... the clerk should print year-end tax-valid statements for all donors.... The clerk should deliver the tax-valid statements to donors by January thirty-first. If the donor has moved from the ward, the clerk should try to obtain the new address and mail the receipt.


You seem to be assuming that the requirement to distribute the statements is dependent only on whether the members itemize. But that assumption is not jusitified by any written policy of the Church. I would recommend that you follow the written policy and distribute the tax statements.

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Postby russellhltn » Mon Jan 05, 2009 6:41 pm

Check the training materials to be sure, but I think the obligation is to provide it when asked. I believe it to be a courtesy to be proactive in getting it in member's hands. However, if you are not proactive, you may end up with a bunch of urgent requests on the evening of April 14th. :D

I certainly can't remember any guidance or admonitions on how much effort we had to go to to get them handed out.
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Postby lajackson » Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:36 pm

astropixel wrote:Are we in violation of law if ALL of them are not either handed to the members or mailed out by 1/31/2009?


Not in the US. If a person wishes to itemize charitable contributions, the IRS requires that a receipt be received before the return is filed. If a person asks an organization for a receipt, the organization must provide it.

There is no provision in the law for the organization to provide the receipt if the person does not ask for it, though most charitable organizations will, because they would like to have the donations continue.

By providing the tax statement, the Church avoids the possibility that a member will complain that a receipt was requested and not provided.

Other than that, just do the best you can.

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mfmohlma
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Postby mfmohlma » Mon Jan 05, 2009 11:16 pm

Alan_Brown wrote:I would recommend that you follow the written policy and distribute the tax statements.


The retention of records document provided by the church (copy in post #4 here) states that you have to file away for a year the ones that can't be delivered, so deliver as many as you can and save valuable file space. :)

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Postby greggo » Tue Jan 06, 2009 7:04 am

oregonmatt wrote:The retention of records document provided by the church (copy in post #4 here) states that you have to file away for a year the ones that can't be delivered, so deliver as many as you can and save valuable file space. :)


Personally, I would feel no obligation to keep hard copies of statements, as it is possible to print a new one from MLS for the duration of the retention period.

Also, I have no real authority to make any official statement regarding what is 'legal." But based on my experience donating to multiple charitable organizations, there is no requirement by the IRS to submit receipts with one's tax return. They are only for one's personal records in case they are audited. And I have been told by other organizations that a copy of my canceled check would suffice.

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Delivering Year-End Tax Statements to members...

Postby cdawardclerk-p40 » Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:50 am

astropixel wrote:What is the extent of our obligation to get these statements in the hands of the members? We have usually printed all of them, handed most out to members who show up in January, mailed some out of town to those who we suspect will itemize, etc. Are we in violation of law if ALL of them are not either handed to the members or mailed out by 1/31/2009? It's a painful process, especially since I suspect a rather low % of ward members actually itemize.

Thanks for all reponses.



I will agree with you that it is a painful process to somehow deliver the statements to members. Last year (my first tithing season experience) I couldn't figure out an efficient method to deliver the statements...a logistical nightmare and a time consuming one at that! An announcement was made during Sacrament meeting that the year end tithing statements could be picked up in the clerk's office. I tried to deliver some to members during Sunday services but not everyone on my delivery list was present...remember there are only so many Sundays in January and I felt the urgency to get them delivered by January 31st. I finally asked the Bishop if he would like me to mail the statements to the donors. He did not want to pay the cost of mailing and told me that if the members wanted their statement they should request them at the clerk's office. I am quite sure that this same process will happen again during this month.

As long as you get the Official Year End Tax Statement printed (I would suggest you use Church/Ward letterhead paper) and have the Bishop sign (this is REQUIRED) each one just try to find or use a method that will attempt to get these statements to the donors. I had very few members that actually picked them up...the rest I just filed away to retain for at least one year in case someone comes back to request their statement. Hope this helps.

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Postby lajackson » Tue Jan 06, 2009 4:02 pm

Greggo wrote:But based on my experience donating to multiple charitable organizations, there is no requirement by the IRS to submit receipts with one's tax return. They are only for one's personal records in case they are audited. And I have been told by other organizations that a copy of my canceled check would suffice.


Your canceled check is good up to $250, then you need a receipt. You are correct that you do not have to have the receipt unless you are audited. But, if you are audited and do not have a receipt dated no later than the date you filed the return, your contribution will not be allowed. US IRS rules.

That is as far as I will go with the IRS advice in this forum. The Church has designed the rules for printing and handing out the forms so that they comply with IRS regulations. Both the Church and the member benefit when the proper Church procedures are followed. There is the possibility of monetary damage to either or both the Church and the member if the procedures are not followed.

Print the receipts on letterhead and have the bishop sign them. Make them available to the members. Store the rest of them for a year.

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Postby russellhltn » Tue Jan 06, 2009 4:37 pm

The following from IRS.gov may explain why many members aren't concerned with getting the statement:

In figuring whether a gift is $250 or more, do not combine separate donations. For example, if you gave your church $25 each week for a total of $1,300, treat each $25 payment as a separate gift.


So if you really want to, you could scan over the denotation amounts and see if any are over $250. Those are the folks that could really benefit from the statement.

That said, follow the materials and the training. Take a clue from the level of concern in the instructions. Do what you can, but don't think that you're going to jail if you fail to get it done.

I'd say make an effort to be available for the members, but ultimately it's up to them to make sure they get it.
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Postby DavidForthoffer » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:21 pm

For those interested, see IRS Publication 1771, Charitable Contributions–Substantiation and Disclosure Requirements.

A donor must receive the acknowledgment of the donation by the earlier of: the date on which the donor actually files his or her individual federal income tax return for the year of the contribution; or the due date (including extensions) of the return.


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