9-Year Old Donation Found

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mlh78
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9-Year Old Donation Found

Postby mlh78 » Mon May 30, 2011 12:54 pm

A ward clerk in our stake just told me that they located an envelope with a $50 cash tithing donation inside. The donation was made 9 years ago by a member who has moved out of the stake. The ward is trying to locate the member. I see these as their options:

1. If the member cannot be located, process the donation in the current weekly batch. Add the donor as a member outside the unit.

2. If the member can be located, check to see if he would like to make the donation in his current ward. I am a little nervous about this option because it could be viewed as refunding a tithing donation.

Any thoughts?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon May 30, 2011 12:58 pm

mlh78 wrote:1. If the member cannot be located, process the donation in the current weekly batch. Add the donor as a member outside the unit.


I think you do #1 no matter what. The donation was made to that ward and should be processed by that ward. If you can locate the member, then you send a receipt and make sure that they get a tax statement at the end of the year.
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crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Mon May 30, 2011 11:22 pm

The online instructions would indicate that, no matter what the concern, the donation is processed that day (following your ooption #1) and the member is informed of it as soon as possible. Granted, they are addressing a discrepancy, but I think the principle is still there. Donations should not be left lying around.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Tue May 31, 2011 1:29 am

Having learned about the defalcation process in another thread, I'm thinking that consultation with Local Unit Support is in order. If the member had previously been credited for the lost donation through this procedure, then I wouldn't expect the found cash to be credited to him.

But since the ward's copy of the financial records only goes back 3-4 years, then there's nothing in the ward that could be consulted to know what happened back then.
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Postby lajackson » Tue May 31, 2011 12:37 pm

aebrown wrote:I think you do #1 no matter what. The donation was made to that ward and should be processed by that ward. If you can locate the member, then you send a receipt and make sure that they get a tax statement at the end of the year.


One of two things has probably happened.

(A) The missing original donation was never noticed, and is now being deposited and credited to the member (although it is likely that the member will not know that).

(B) The member pointed out that the original donation was never credited, an investigation was conducted, and the member was credited with the contribution even though the actual cash was missing.

In the case of (A), it is too late for tax purposes for the member to do anything about it, and the member will be glad to know that the donation has actually been accounted for, and either humored or miffed that it took so long.

In the case of (B), the member was already credited with the donation, the Church adjusted the financial records for the difference, and the Church is now recovering the actual cash that the member was credited as contributing. It is again too late to make any changes for tax purposes, so the member cannot (and would not, we hope) double dip on the deduction. If the original missing cash donation was investigated, the member got credit for the contribution anyway.

In either case, as aebrown suggests, the ward should process the donation as they normally would (except that they should actually get it into MLS and to the bank this time). [grin]

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Postby russellhltn » Tue May 31, 2011 12:55 pm

lajackson wrote:(B) The member pointed out that the original donation was never credited, an investigation was conducted, and the member was credited with the contribution even though the actual cash was missing.


In this situation I'm not comfortable with giving the member double-credit. I tend to doubt that the IRS would see this as "OK". I'd think the church would want those funds deposited in a special account. Quite possibly the same account as the original credit came from. That's why I think it's best to contact LUS. If nothing else, it would cause confusion if anyone were to look at this transaction at a future date.

In the meantime, since the donation can be recategorized later, I see no harm in depositing the funds now.
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