Tithing Declaration of Children

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ckmcdonald
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Tithing Declaration of Children

Postby ckmcdonald » Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:24 am

This topic seems to come up between me and the Bishop each year - never with a clear resolution. The documentation I've been able to find isn't very clear on the guidelines for declaring tithing status of children who are not brought in for tithing settlement. I just searched the forum and wasn't able to find anything on this topic (might have miss it - not proficient at searching yet)

How should the Bishop declare for children (primarily between 0 and 12) when their parents don't come in for settlement?

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Postby aebrown » Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:37 am

ckmcdonald wrote:This topic seems to come up between me and the Bishop each year - never with a clear resolution. The documentation I've been able to find isn't very clear on the guidelines for declaring tithing status of children who are not brought in for tithing settlement. I just searched the forum and wasn't able to find anything on this topic (might have miss it - not proficient at searching yet)

How should the Bishop declare for children (primarily between 0 and 12) when their parents don't come in for settlement?


The answer can be found on the wiki under Tithing status:

Tithing status is normally the same for husband and wife who donate together. It may be different if they declare separately. Also, "in most cases, children who do not earn income can be declared the same as their parents. However, all declarations should be made under the direction of the bishop."
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Postby ckmcdonald » Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:53 am

aebrown wrote:The answer can be found on the wiki under Tithing status:


This is a reference to the guidelines we find confusing. The paragraph you quoted states "in most cases". Already it ambiguous. It's difficult to understand why two 1 year-old's (for example) from different families should have differing declarations based on their parents' status.

Not-Declared is not an option for this case as the instructions state it's only for non ward members.

Exempt is clearly not an option for children too young to talk or who aren't present at settlement to self-declare. (Side note... For a child that does attend settlement but has no income, this does seem like an appropriate declaration. However, I've never seen a child be declared Exempt. Comments on this from the forum?)

A careful reading of the descriptions of both Full-Tithe and Non-Tithe suggest that either might apply to a child not attending settlement or too young to speak. This is complicated by the interpretation of the word "tithing". Does this mean "money paid" or "10% of income". In the former case $0 isn't include but $0 is in the latter.

I think another thing that's adding unclarity to this is that Non-Tithe seems to have a negative connotation - which is hard to apply to an innocent infant.

Thanks for the response Bro Brown.
Would appreciate hearing additional comments on this from all.

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Postby russellhltn » Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:50 pm

ckmcdonald wrote:It's difficult to understand why two 1 year-old's (for example) from different families should have differing declarations based on their parents' status.


I understand what you are saying, but it seems clear the system is not set up to "think" that way.

I'd focus on "in most cases". I'm guessing that the reason for giving bishops some latitude in the decision is that there might be cases when he knows the child is acting differently from the parents - such as a primary child that pays tithing on his allowance when the parents do not tithe.
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Postby aebrown » Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:20 pm

ckmcdonald wrote:This is a reference to the guidelines we find confusing. The paragraph you quoted states "in most cases". Already it ambiguous. It's difficult to understand why two 1 year-old's (for example) from different families should have differing declarations based on their parents' status.


I wonder if this particular guideline is based on statistical analysis. I would guess that children of non-tithe payers tend to become non-tithe payers, and children of full-tithe payers tend to become full-tithe payers. Of course there are plenty of exceptions, but I would think that in the aggregate, that would be the case.

ckmcdonald wrote:Exempt is clearly not an option for children too young to talk or who aren't present at settlement to self-declare. (Side note... For a child that does attend settlement but has no income, this does seem like an appropriate declaration. However, I've never seen a child be declared Exempt. Comments on this from the forum?)


If a child is old enough to make a declaration and fits the definition of Exempt, I see no reason why that couldn't be the declaration. I agree that it's unusual, but in my experience, it's pretty rare for a child who is old enough to understand the concept of Exempt to have absolutely no income for a year. So it wouldn't apply very often.

ckmcdonald wrote:A careful reading of the descriptions of both Full-Tithe and Non-Tithe suggest that either might apply to a child not attending settlement or too young to speak. This is complicated by the interpretation of the word "tithing". Does this mean "money paid" or "10% of income". In the former case $0 isn't include but $0 is in the latter.


I don't think it's reasonable in the context of the whole set of guidelines to assume that full-tithe is appropriate for 10% of nothing. If that were the case, there would be no need for an Exempt status, and there would be no need to say "children who do not earn income can be declared the same as their parents." So except for the specific exceptions of missionaries and non-declaring children of full-tithe payers, it is my opinion that a full-tithe status should not be applied to all non-declaring members with no income.

ckmcdonald wrote:I think another thing that's adding unclarity to this is that Non-Tithe seems to have a negative connotation - which is hard to apply to an innocent infant.


In any case, I wouldn't worry too much about the declarations for children who pay no tithing and whose parents don't make a declaration -- they'll never know what was declared, and it really doesn't matter much for any statistics that are kept. So I don't see how there can be any negative connotations of any significance.


But amidst all this, the most important statement is: "all declarations should be made under the direction of the bishop." The bishop and clerks who assist him should be familiar with the guidelines and follow them. But the bishop is entitled to inspiration to deal with those cases where he has latitude.
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Postby dannykos » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:30 pm

i have to say, for me - someone paying 10% of nothing goes down as "full tithe payer". It's all about their desire/intention to be obedient in my opinion.

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Postby lajackson » Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:30 pm

ckmcdonald wrote:This is complicated by the interpretation of the word "tithing". Does this mean "money paid" or "10% of income".


This part is simple. Tithing is one-tenth of all your interest annually, which the First Presidency understands to mean income. See D&C 119:4.

As for the question at hand, the instructions say the children normally have the same status as their parents. The instructions also say that the bishop determines their status.

It seems to me that an exception is made under the guidelines for children of full tithe-payers. Otherwise they would not be tithe-payers.

The bishop is the common judge in Israel and may determine to make additional exceptions for other children. And while he may use his discernment and authority to do that, they are still exceptions. This is also one of the reasons a record is made with regard to whether the member or the bishop made the declaration.

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Further clarification please

Postby ChuckP » Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:39 am

I'm rather new at this too and as I've read the question and guidance provided I was wondering if there is some determination being made that I need additional insight into. The original quote from the wiki guidance was:

"Tithing status is normally the same for husband and wife who donate together. It may be different if they declare separately. Also, "in most cases, children who do not earn income can be declared the same as their parents. However, all declarations should be made under the direction of the bishop."

Based on this, it would seem that the operative words are, "in most cases", "can", and "under the direction of the bishop". So, if a Bishop were to decide that all children were full tithe payers, regardless of their parent's status, except where he knows for sure that the children are not paying tithing on income - then that would be appropriate. Is that correct?

Thank you.

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Postby ckmcdonald » Thu Dec 30, 2010 9:56 am

aebrown wrote:If a child is old enough to make a declaration and fits the definition of Exempt, I see no reason why that couldn't be the declaration. I agree that it's unusual, but in my experience, it's pretty rare for a child who is old enough to understand the concept of Exempt to have absolutely no income for a year. So it wouldn't apply very often.


The more I think about this case the more I believe we are under-using the Exempt status in our ward. In fact, for the 5-12 year-old age range I would argue Exempt should be the common case for those who attend settlement. They understand tithing and would pay if they had income.

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Postby russellhltn » Thu Dec 30, 2010 10:04 am

ChuckP wrote:Based on this, it would seem that the operative words are, "in most cases", "can", and "under the direction of the bishop". So, if a Bishop were to decide that all children were full tithe payers, regardless of their parent's status, except where he knows for sure that the children are not paying tithing on income - then that would be appropriate. Is that correct?


I fail to see how this would jive with the "in most cases" part.

But if the Bishop is looking for guidance, I suggest he speaks with the stake president.

If the clerk is looking for guidance, I suggest that he follow the lead of his Bishop and/or speaks with the Stake Clerk who is responsable for his training.
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