Ward Missionary Donations

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
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gregwanderson
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Postby gregwanderson » Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:17 pm

It's worth noting that the $400 which is taken from the ward missionary account for each misssionary serving from that ward isn't the real cost of supporting any given missionary. So we shouldn't really have any fear that this money will somehow be declared non-charitable by the IRS. The church and its lawyers have worked this out. I think it's counter-productive for any of us to raise questions as if there's a problem.

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Re: Ward Missionary Donations

Postby drepouille » Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:21 pm

Our stake president has directed all units in the stake to maintain only a 90-day balance in their missionary funds, and send all excess to the stake for redistribution to other units and possible transfer to the general missionary fund. One bishop asked about those missionaries who have paid in advance, so their personal subcategory balance makes it look like the ward has excess funds. The stake president said in that case, all he needs is an explanatory note from the bishop.

The first question in my mind is the tax question about donating to a specific missionary. Once a donation is made, the donor (even if he is donating for his own mission expenses) technically loses control of those funds, and the Church can use them however it likes.

My second question pertains to receipts. During the audit, what sort of receipt should be attached to a check stub for transfers from a ward to a stake, or from any unit to any other unit? Nothing was purchased, but money was transferred between units. What will the auditor look for?

My third question is whether such transfers may be done without writing a check. Can a stake transfer funds from a ward missionary fund to the stake missionary fund without asking the ward to write a check?
Dana Repouille, Plattsmouth, Nebraska

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aebrown
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Re: Ward Missionary Donations

Postby aebrown » Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:00 pm

drepouille wrote:Our stake president has directed all units in the stake to maintain only a 90-day balance in their missionary funds, and send all excess to the stake for redistribution to other units and possible transfer to the general missionary fund. One bishop asked about those missionaries who have paid in advance, so their personal subcategory balance makes it look like the ward has excess funds. The stake president said in that case, all he needs is an explanatory note from the bishop.

That fits our stake's standard practice, and also specific requests we have received from our area leaders when they have noticed that our stake's aggregate ward missionary balance exceeds three months per missionary.

drepouille wrote:The first question in my mind is the tax question about donating to a specific missionary. Once a donation is made, the donor (even if he is donating for his own mission expenses) technically loses control of those funds, and the Church can use them however it likes.

As you can read in earlier posts in this topic, no one is "donating to a specific missionary." They are donating to the Church, and they have no ability to request the funds back once they are donated. Since a missionary at the time of his application does make a commitment as to where support will come from, the tracking of missionary donations by subcategory is done simply to help keep track of how the funding is being supplied.

drepouille wrote:My second question pertains to receipts. During the audit, what sort of receipt should be attached to a check stub for transfers from a ward to a stake, or from any unit to any other unit? Nothing was purchased, but money was transferred between units. What will the auditor look for?

Just like any other expense, the auditor looks for an invoice or receipt. In this case, there will generally be a letter from the stake president to the bishop saying something like "Your ward has a surplus of $2500 in your ward missionary fund. Please remit that amount by check made payable to the stake." That letter is perfectly sufficient for audit purposes. Or if the request was not made by letter or equivalent, the stake can send a receipt to the ward after the funds are received. That works just as well.

drepouille wrote:My third question is whether such transfers may be done without writing a check. Can a stake transfer funds from a ward missionary fund to the stake missionary fund without asking the ward to write a check?

No (at least in the US -- in some countries there is a way to transfer funds between units without writing a check).

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Re: Ward Missionary Donations

Postby jdlessley » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:31 am

drepouille wrote:My second question pertains to receipts. During the audit, what sort of receipt should be attached to a check stub for transfers from a ward to a stake, or from any unit to any other unit? Nothing was purchased, but money was transferred between units. What will the auditor look for?
When funds are transferred by check between units or between a unit and a stake, the stake/unit writing the check should fill out a Tithes and Other Offerings slip. The white copy of the Tithes and Other Offerings slip functions as it normally does for the unit receiving the check. It is used to record the "donation" for deposit in the appropriate category. The canary copy is retained by the unit or stake writing the check as proof of the expense. This is what I was trained to look for by the area auditor when I was an auditor. Any other receipt documentation was not required. All the pertinent information required for a receipt, bill, or invoice is included on the Tithes and Other Offerings slip, provided it is completely filled out.

As aebrown has stated, if a request for funds has been made from one unit to another or from a stake to a unit, it is usually done in writing. Attaching that request is always good supporting documentation. In the situation where a unit is complying with standing instructions to submit excess funds to the stake, then the canary copy of the Tithes and Other Offerings slip is sufficient. It wouldn't hurt to include a note stating where the standing instructions letter is located, but it is not required.

Note that advance communication may be necessary for the unit/stake writing the check to know what category the funds are going to be deposited into so that the Tithes and Other Offerings slip will properly identify the category for the funds. Some units fill out the slip once they have received the check and send the canary copy back to the unit/stake writing the check. I don't condone this because there is always the chance the canary copy will not get back to the unit/stake that wrote the check. Now the check writer is stuck without a "receipt" if they have no other documentation and may need to write up a suitable substitute. If that is done too often then the stake/unit may end up with an audit exception.
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dbauss
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Re: Ward Missionary Donations

Postby dbauss » Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:27 pm

Is there a way for a member in the US to make a donation in their local unit for a missionary from Canada?

Gary_Miller
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Re: Ward Missionary Donations

Postby Gary_Miller » Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:04 pm

The mission funds would have to be sent to the unit where they missionaries expenses are being deducted each month. That is usually where the missionaries records are at.

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Re: Ward Missionary Donations

Postby russellhltn » Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:15 pm

dbauss wrote:Is there a way for a member in the US to make a donation in their local unit for a missionary from Canada?


I noticed you said "a" donation instead of supporting the missionary. Usually the missionary is funded from the ward where their primary support will be. That's normally the parents.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

waynecooke
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Re: Ward Missionary Donations

Postby waynecooke » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:11 pm

I guess, more correctly, from the Ward where the Missionaries membership records are. This is not necessarily where his or her parents reside.

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Re: Ward Missionary Donations

Postby russellhltn » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:25 pm

waynecooke wrote:I guess, more correctly, from the Ward where the Missionaries membership records are. This is not necessarily where his or her parents reside.

There is no "one size fits all" answer here. By default, I believe it's the ward where the missionary's application was started. But if the form is filled out right, it will be set up to come from the ward best suited for collecting the donations. And that's usually where the parents are unless someone else is supporting them.

Even then, it can be switched mid-mission. But that's not done by moving the missionary's records.
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

waynecooke
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Re: Ward Missionary Donations

Postby waynecooke » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:31 pm

Not be argumentative, but Missionaries are able to be called up to the age of 26. I have known young men who have been on their own, working and saving money, or converts at an older age who go on missions, and the ward where their parents live (if their parents are even members) have no impact whatsoever on their mission monies, it is the Ward they are living in when they go out.


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