Donating to a missionary in another ward

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scottcannon-p40
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Donating to a missionary in another ward

Postby scottcannon-p40 » Sun Aug 23, 2009 7:57 pm

It's very common for family members to contribute to the support of missionaries not in their home ward (nieces and nephews, grandchildren, etc). As the financial clerk of the missionary's home ward, I've just always received the donations directly from the supporting family member.

Today, we received a check from another ward (not a member, from the ward's checking account) with instructions to post it to "Elder Jones'" support. The donor wants to avoid having to get a year-end tax statement from multiple ward, so he donates to his ward, and then makes his own clerk cut a check to us.

I find this highly irregular, though I don't recall ever seeing a policy against it. I've been financial clerk for six-plus years, and this is a new one to me.

Anyone know if there's a policy against handling donations like this?

Thanks.
Scott Cannon
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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sun Aug 23, 2009 9:22 pm

scottcannon wrote:Today, we received a check from another ward (not a member, from the ward's checking account) with instructions to post it to "Elder Jones'" support. The donor wants to avoid having to get a year-end tax statement from multiple ward, so he donates to his ward, and then makes his own clerk cut a check to us.

I find this highly irregular, though I don't recall ever seeing a policy against it. I've been financial clerk for six-plus years, and this is a new one to me.

Anyone know if there's a policy against handling donations like this?


In the MLS Software Manual, it says (page A-11):

Improper disbursements. Stakes and wards should not print the following kinds of checks:
...
• Checks to missionaries who are on the equalized payment program. The only checks that may be written from the ward missionary fund are to help support older couples or Church service missionaries called from the ward, when their personal funds are insufficient to cover the cost of their missions. The stake president may also direct the ward to write a check from the ward missionary fund to the stake or to another ward in the stake.
The check you received isn't in either of the two allowed situations. But that would be an issue for the other ward to be concerned about. I don't see any policy against your ward receiving such funds.

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Mikerowaved
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Postby Mikerowaved » Sun Aug 23, 2009 9:35 pm

In addition to what Alan mentioned, I would add that once donated, a donor is not supposed to be able to have any control over the funds. This doesn't appear to be case in your situation.
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Postby jdlessley » Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:15 pm

In addition to Alan's post the only way within Church policy and procedure for a ward to send a ward check is for the funds to have passed through the Other category or account. Funds from any other category would not be in accordance with Church policy or procedure. And as Alan said this is not your problem but the other ward's problem.

Processing the check does create a unique problem for you in that you do not have all the required paperwork. You could however fill in the Tithes and Other Offerings slip on behalf of the other ward and enter them as the donor. They would have to be entered into MLS as a non-member donor since they do not have a membership number.

This is unusual enough that I would contact Clerk Support for their expert advice.
scottcannon wrote:The donor wants to avoid having to get a year-end tax statement from multiple ward[s]...
I don't see what the issue in getting multiple year-end tax-valid statements is all about.

We would love to hear what Clerk Support says for this situation if you do contact them.
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Postby russellhltn » Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:25 pm

jdlessley wrote:In addition to Alan's post the only way within Church policy and procedure for a ward to send a ward check is for the funds to have passed through the Other category or account.


I disagree. I can think of a few reasons that one ward would send another ward a check drawn from accounts other than "Other". And under the right circumstances, it's clearly acceptable to write a check from the Ward Missionary account to be deposited in another unit's Ward Missionary account.
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Postby jdlessley » Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:42 pm

RussellHltn wrote:I disagree. I can think of a few reasons that one ward would send another ward a check drawn from accounts other than "Other". And under the right circumstances, it's clearly acceptable to write a check from the Ward Missionary account to be deposited in another unit's Ward Missionary account.
You are correct there are three reasons - submitting surplus missionary funds to the stake; transferring missionary funding to another ward when the family of a currently serving missionary moves to a different ward or branch; and when there is a need to assist missionaries who provide their own support. And those reasons do not include the reason provided in this situation.

I was narrowly focusing on the situation of this thread and my response excluded those three since they did not apply. Thanks for catching that Russell.
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Postby Mikerowaved » Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:33 am

jdlessley wrote:...transferring missionary funding to another ward when the family of a currently serving missionary moves to a different ward...

Actually, in this situation CHQ will make the adjustment for the two units involved from their end, once both unit leaders agree to it. The credits and/or debits to the ward missionary fund will show up in the CUFS when completed.

But let's not get too far afield here. I think we are in agreement this is a questionable donation procedure.
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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Aug 24, 2009 6:02 am

jdlessley wrote:In addition to Alan's post the only way within Church policy and procedure for a ward to send a ward check is for the funds to have passed through the Other category or account. Funds from any other category would not be in accordance with Church policy or procedure.


I know we're trying not to get too far afield, but of course there are plenty of good reasons to write a check from Budget to another unit as well. But even for the topic at hand, I don't see how the Other account enters into the discussion at all. Either you can handle the situation through the Ward Missionary account, or you can't -- moving it through Other doesn't help in the slightest.

jdlessley wrote:Processing the check does create a unique problem for you in that you do not have all the required paperwork. You could however fill in the Tithes and Other Offerings slip on behalf of the other ward and enter them as the donor. They would have to be entered into MLS as a non-member donor since they do not have a membership number.


I see no problem on this end. It seems to me that you would have all the paperwork you need. The donor would not be a non-member donor, but rather "Another Unit". The check has the unit number (a required field for "another unit" donors). There's no need to have a correct address, since the "donation" is not made by an individual and so there's no requirement to send a year-end statement.

jdlessley wrote:I don't see what the issue in getting multiple year-end tax-valid statements is all about.


I can actually understand this why the donor might be concerned. The donor has to deal with another ward to get a tax statement in January. That means he has to hope the address information on his donation to that ward is correct, that the financial clerk (whom he doesn't even know) is reliable and will send the statement promptly, and that the donations have been processed correctly so the statement is correct (or the donor will have to deal with this strange ward to make corrections). Then he has one more tax statement to deal with and add up when filing taxes.

It's understandable that someone might want to avoid those hassles, although it is not in accordance with Church policy, and to avoid a few potential minor issues, he's making multiple clerks go out of their way.

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Postby danpass » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:39 am

Alan_Brown wrote:I can actually understand this why the donor might be concerned. The donor has to deal with another ward to get a tax statement in January. That means he has to hope the address information on his donation to that ward is correct, that the financial clerk (whom he doesn't even know) is reliable and will send the statement promptly, and that the donations have been processed correctly so the statement is correct (or the donor will have to deal with this strange ward to make corrections). Then he has one more tax statement to deal with and add up when filing taxes.


Isn't it the case that missionary support donations are not tax deductible?

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Postby aebrown » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:43 am

danpass wrote:Isn't it the case that missionary support donations are not tax deductible?


No, donations to the ward missionary fund are most definitely tax deductible. That's why the Church goes to such lengths to make sure that missionary donations are never refunded, and that donors have no control over how the funds are used once they are donated. Great care is taken to make sure that they are indeed donations, and not payments for missionary support.


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