Distribution Center Charge to Other?

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nbllds-p40
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Distribution Center Charge to Other?

Postby nbllds-p40 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:05 pm

Does anyone happen to know if it is possible to make Distribution Center orders which charge the ward "Other" account, rather than the budget? We have an ongoing pass-through account which we use to buy Bibles to give to the Stake (they have a program setup in which they are given to troubled youth at the local detention center). Members can donate to the account, and we as a ward order the Bibles when there is enough money for a good-sized order from distribution, which we then give to the stake.

The ward clerk makes all the orders, and he does it all online; apparently there is no option of charging to "Other" there. Any ideas?

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Postby Mikerowaved » Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:01 pm

The only way I can think of is to have someone buy the bibles on their credit card. You can then charge the expense to your Other account with a reimbursement check.
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Postby jdlessley » Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:52 pm

nbllds wrote:Does anyone happen to know if it is possible to make Distribution Center orders which charge the ward "Other" account, rather than the budget? We have an ongoing pass-through account which we use to buy Bibles to give to the Stake (they have a program setup in which they are given to troubled youth at the local detention center). Members can donate to the account, and we as a ward order the Bibles when there is enough money for a good-sized order from distribution, which we then give to the stake.

The ward clerk makes all the orders, and he does it all online; apparently there is no option of charging to "Other" there. Any ideas?
While you may not be able to charge directly to the Other sub-account to pay for the order on-line you can transfer funds from the Other sub-account to a budget account either just before or after the order is made and paid for out of a budget account. I would transfer the funds after the order is made when the exact amount is known so that only one transaction is necessary.

The preferred method to transfer funds from the Other sub-account to the budget account is described in the on-line training found at Understanding and Using the “Other” Category. A check is written from the Other sub-account payable to the ward. A Tithing and Other Offerings slip is filled out. Cross out the words 'Other (specify)' and write in the budget account name and the amount that is being transferred. One copy of the slip is filed with the expense disbursement documents (don't forget to fill out an expense authorization/disbursement form). Another copy is filed with the offerings and contributions documents.
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Postby allenjpl » Tue Apr 21, 2009 12:05 am

nbllds wrote:Does anyone happen to know if it is possible to make Distribution Center orders which charge the ward "Other" account, rather than the budget? We have an ongoing pass-through account which we use to buy Bibles to give to the Stake (they have a program setup in which they are given to troubled youth at the local detention center). Members can donate to the account, and we as a ward order the Bibles when there is enough money for a good-sized order from distribution, which we then give to the stake.

The ward clerk makes all the orders, and he does it all online; apparently there is no option of charging to "Other" there. Any ideas?


I'm confused. Is this an appropriate use of the "other" account?

I see two issues here:

First, it would seem that this because this is an an ongoing program, the account will be needed for more than one year. The only Other accounts that are allowed to carry-over funds are the Scout Camp and Girl's Camp accounts.

The second issue I see is that while the Other account is a good way to collect the funds for a paid-for benefit, it's a little unclear how the members are actually benefiting.

If it is a proper use of the Other account, then I would just cut a check from the Other account, fill out a donation slip and indicate the budget account that Distribution took from.

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Postby aebrown » Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:06 am

LVAllen wrote:First, it would seem that this because this is an an ongoing program, the account will be needed for more than one year. The only Other accounts that are allowed to carry-over funds are the Scout Camp and Girl's Camp accounts.

The second issue I see is that while the Other account is a good way to collect the funds for a paid-for benefit, it's a little unclear how the members are actually benefiting.


Although I appreciate your concern for following policy regarding the Other account, I can't find any place in the policy or training materials that makes these specific claims. Although in general, subcategories of the Other account are to be used "promptly" for the intended purpose, there is no magical "one year" limit in the policy, and there is certainly no mention of those two specific accounts, unless I'm really missing something. Could you supply a source for that claim?

Also, it's certainly true that one use of the Other account is for a paid-for benefit. But that is not the only possible use, so it doesn't follow that any use that does not provide a paid-for benefit is out of policy. Again, I would ask for a source citation.

There are certainly plenty of abuses of the Other account, and it is good to be careful in how it is used. But we also don't want to create restrictions without being sure they are in the policy.

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Postby jdlessley » Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:29 am

I agree with Alan.

Here are some additional points in regard to using the Other account for the purpose described by nbllds. One of the purposes for the Other account is to collect funds to pay for a tangible benefit. In this case the tangible benefit is the purchase of Bibles for distribution to select individuals. Whether the contribution can pay for one, many, or a fraction of one Bible does not matter. The benefit is the purchase of the Bibles, a gift. The ward is acting as the agent for the purchase of these Bibles. The people making the contributions must be made aware that their contributions are not charitable contributions and will not be included on the year-end tax-valid statement.
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Postby allenjpl » Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:06 pm

Alan_Brown wrote:Although I appreciate your concern for following policy regarding the Other account, I can't find any place in the policy or training materials that makes these specific claims. Although in general, subcategories of the Other account are to be used "promptly" for the intended purpose, there is no magical "one year" limit in the policy, and there is certainly no mention of those two specific accounts, unless I'm really missing something. Could you supply a source for that claim?


I thought the prohibition against funds being carried-over was on the ward audit form. Not having access to that form right now, I can't verify it. However, on the Understanding and Using the Other category training, under Clearing Unidentified or Excess funds, there is a note that says "In a few cases you can leave excess funds in an 'Other' subcategory. Such may be the case for annual youth camps. The excess should be modest and handles according to general principles outlined in this lesson." Also, under slide 12 is a note stating "In a few cases, an "Other" subcategory may retain a balance. For example, unused funds for annual youth camps may be carried from one year to another." This does seem to indicate that while annual youth camps are one example of instances in which it is okay to continually carry a balance, there are other instances as well. I'll stand corrected on this point.

On the other hand, the training makes a special point about stakes or wards collecting funds in the "Other" category for national and international charitable cause, and recommends that instead of using the Other account, members be encouraged to donate to existing accounts (Humanitarian Aid, Fast Offering). Does the reasoning continue to "local" charitable causes? I suppose my concern really lies with the possible disconnect between members "donating" to the Bible fund (Whether the member purchases the Bibles and donates them personally, or contribute to a fund to do the same thing, in the member's eyes, he is making a charitable donation) and the end of the year tax statement which will show no record of this kind of donation.

Just my $.02. If the stake has made it abundantly clear to the members what is happening, then all is well.

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Postby jdlessley » Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:02 am

LVAllen wrote:I thought the prohibition against funds being carried-over was on the ward audit form.
Item 38 on that check list is the closest to what you are trying to recall. It says:
Timely action is taken to clear any pass-through funds from subcategory classifications of the "Other" category.
There is no other mention of carrying funds over from one year to the next. The wording "timely action" is used instead of a specified time period to allow case-by-case flexibility. The intent is to not let funds linger in the account past their intended purpose. Since auditors are acting on behalf of the stake president then it would be his determination as to the appropriateness of the account that matters for the case we are discussing here.
LVAllen wrote:On the other hand, the training makes a special point about stakes or wards collecting funds in the "Other" category for national and international charitable cause, and recommends that instead of using the Other account, members be encouraged to donate to existing accounts (Humanitarian Aid, Fast Offering). Does the reasoning continue to "local" charitable causes? I suppose my concern really lies with the possible disconnect between members "donating" to the Bible fund (Whether the member purchases the Bibles and donates them personally, or contribute to a fund to do the same thing, in the member's eyes, he is making a charitable donation) and the end of the year tax statement which will show no record of this kind of donation.
There are two questions that have to be asked. First, do the ward leaders (and maybe even the stake leaders) believe the contributions to be tax deductible charitable contributions? If so then collecting funds in the "Other" sub-account is not in accordance with Church policy. I doubt that this is the case however. The funds collected are more likely viewed as paying for an ongoing service project. The second question is, do the members believe they are making a tax deductible charitable contribution? If so, then it is the ward leadership's responsibility (and maybe even the stake leadership's responsibility) to make sure members understand the nature of their contributions.
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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Thu Apr 23, 2009 4:09 am

The last two posts contain excellent reminders about the Other account that I completely agree with.

I would note that although the original post indicated that the account existed on an ongoing basis, from the description it seems entirely possible that funds were indeed cleared on a "timely" basis.

nbllds wrote: Members can donate to the account, and we as a ward order the Bibles when there is enough money for a good-sized order from distribution, which we then give to the stake.


We don't have enough details to judge otherwise, and as has been wisely stated, the specific judgment is up to local auditors and priesthood leaders.

In any case, it's been a good discussion -- it's always helpful to review the policy, training materials, and audit instructions and make sure we are applying correct principles to specific situations, and then following inspired priesthood leadership.

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Postby russellhltn » Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:16 am

jdlessley wrote:do the ward leaders (and maybe even the stake leaders) believe the contributions to be tax deductible charitable contributions? If so then collecting funds in the "Other" sub-account is not in accordance with Church policy.

I don't think it matters. What account could they pass the funds though and have it show up in the year-end tax statement? Not Other. Not Budget. You might be able to do that though a Missionary account, but you've got some tight controls on what's an allowable expense. And do you really want local leaders making decisions about tax law?
jdlessley wrote:The second question is, do the members believe they are making a tax deductible charitable contribution? If so, then it is the ward leadership's responsibility (and maybe even the stake leadership's responsibility) to make sure members understand the nature of their contributions.

I think that's the safest route.
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