I-tithe???

So you have the BIG idea that the Church or community needs to develop. Discuss that idea here. Maybe you just want to make a suggestion on a new forum topic. Let us know.
lajackson
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Postby lajackson » Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:19 pm

RussellHltn wrote:One concern would be to make sure that donations to the Ward Missionary account make it to the ward. That's something that's currently not available in current systems.


This is the main reason I do not pay electronically. Therefore, I still write one check each month, much to my bank's consternation.

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Postby RossEvans » Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:10 pm

As a member and donor, I love the Billpay option outlined on the Wiki. That's like how I pay almost all my other bills, and will probably start using it for my own tithing. As a ward finance clerk, I also like the idea, because each such transaction made direct to CHQ is one I don't have to key in each Sunday.

On the other hand, if I still write a check and fill out a donation slip locally for fast offerings, there is really no labor saved.

For fast-offerings, I do wonder how electronic payments affect stakes and bishops as they look at the MLS reports for donations and expenditures. All the fast offering expenses will get recorded locally in MLS as usual, but the Billpay donations will not. Right? Does the stake ever see a separate report showing even an aggregated total of fast offering donations stake members have made electronically to CHQ? If not, and enough members use this channel, it seems there might be a distorted view of local donations and expenditures.

Ultimately, I suppose all the fast offering funds go into and out of the same pot, since even local MLS donations and expenses are passed through to CHQ. But I thought stake presidents have a responsibility to look at donations/expenses for their units.

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Postby aebrown » Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:49 pm

boomerbubba wrote: For fast-offerings, I do wonder how electronic payments affect stakes and bishops as they look at the MLS reports for donations and expenditures. All the fast offering expenses will get recorded locally in MLS as usual, but the Billpay donations will not. Right? Does the stake ever see a separate report showing even an aggregated total of fast offering donations stake members have made electronically to CHQ?


Donations made to CHQ via BillPay are exactly like a donation made to some other unit of the Church. You get your statements from CHQ. If you make a donation to any number of other wards during the year, you get those statements from those units. Your home ward only sees the donations made to your ward, and when you attend tithing settlement, your tithing settlement statement will include only those donations. There is no other reporting from any of those other units, including CHQ, to your home ward regarding your donations.

boomerbubba wrote:If not, and enough members use this channel, it seems there might be a distorted view of local donations and expenditures.

Ultimately, I suppose all the fast offering funds go into and out of the same pot, since even local MLS donations and expenses are passed through to CHQ. But I thought stake presidents have a responsibility to look at donations/expenses for their units.


It's true that they are responsible to be aware of donations and expenses, but they don't have to be equal. In fact, in the recent Welfare training (see Basic Principles of Welfare and Self-Reliance, p. 9), Bishop H. David Burton taught:

There is no requirement, however, that fast-offering expenditures within the ward and stake remain in balance with fast-offering contributions.
So I wouldn't worry about any distortion of donations relative to expenses.

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Postby lajackson » Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:53 pm

boomerbubba wrote:All the fast offering expenses will get recorded locally in MLS as usual, but the Billpay donations will not. Right?


Correct.

boomerbubba wrote:Does the stake ever see a separate report showing even an aggregated total of fast offering donations stake members have made electronically to CHQ?


No. (If a donor sends a contribution to CHQ, pays by check or wire, and provides local unit information, the unit will receive a credit on their church unit financial statement. This does not apply to the electronic billpay method being discussed here.)

boomerbubba wrote:Ultimately, I suppose all the fast offering funds go into and out of the same pot, since even local MLS donations and expenses are passed through to CHQ. But I thought stake presidents have a responsibility to look at donations/expenses for their units.


Ultimately, all contributions belong to the church, yes.

There is no requirement that leaders balance expenses against donations. When expenses exceed donations, the stake president counsels with the bishop to make sure that ward members correctly understand and apply the principles of self-reliance and providing for the poor and needy. Even when correct principles are being followed, there may be occasions when a ward will expend more than is donated by the members of that ward. And that will be Ok.

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Postby nerdherd-p40 » Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:56 pm

I know exactly what you mean, as a student myself I get paid direct deposit and I use my credit card for everything so I don't have checks. What I do is billpay MYSELF the amount that I am giving and then use that check. What I mean is that I've gone into my bank account and set-up a payee called "Tithing" that lists my ward as the payee name and uses my home address for the mailing address. That way I get a check already addressed to "BYU 1st Ward" (or whatever) and then I take that check to church on Sunday and fill out the tithing slip to go with it. That way you can correctly fill out the tithing slip and you don't cause anyone else any headaches.

Hopefully that made sense. It's been working great for me!

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Postby Mikerowaved » Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:45 pm

If your bill-pay system lets you add a note or comment to the check, there's no reason why you couldn't make it out directly to the ward using the bishop's home address. In the notes, just specify how much will go toward each donation category. We are seeing this more and more in our ward.

I know there's been a bit of discussion on the extra steps these kinds of donations put a clerk through, but c'mon guys, it's not like the old days where the bishop took in produce and livestock as tithing. THAT would have been quite the situation to deal with. :eek:
So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.

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Postby RossEvans » Sat Oct 17, 2009 6:26 am

Mikerowaved wrote:If your bill-pay system lets you add a note or comment to the check, there's no reason why you couldn't make it out directly to the ward using the bishop's home address. In the notes, just specify how much will go toward each donation category. We are seeing this more and more in our ward.

I know there's been a bit of discussion on the extra steps these kinds of donations put a clerk through, but c'mon guys, it's not like the old days where the bishop took in produce and livestock as tithing. THAT would have been quite the situation to deal with. :eek:


Yes, I am thankful that I don't have to count cows and pigs every Sunday.

But it does seem a better idea to inform ward members of how to use the fully automated BILLPAY option. Knowing what I know now, I would advise nerdherd simply to use that method, since like me he prefers online banking to checks.

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Postby lajackson » Sat Oct 17, 2009 8:23 am

Mikerowaved wrote:If your bill-pay system lets you add a note or comment to the check, there's no reason why you couldn't make it out directly to the ward using the bishop's home address. In the notes, just specify how much will go toward each donation category. We are seeing this more and more in our ward.


Mine does not. I would have to generate a separate check for each category, or prearrange something with the clerks.

boomerbubba wrote:Yes, I am thankful that I don't have to count cows and pigs every Sunday.

But it does seem a better idea to inform ward members of how to use the fully automated BILLPAY option.


I see this as ideal, except that I cannot contribute to the Ward Missionary Fund this way.

So, my best option would be to use the fully automated BillPay option for Tithing and Fast Offering (sorry, bishop, no ward credit), and generate a check to the bishop (or myself to take to the bishop) for the Ward Missionary Fund.

And I would collect 13 receipts each year for tax purposes, 12 from CHQ and one from the ward.

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Postby RossEvans » Sat Oct 17, 2009 8:41 am

lajackson wrote:
So, my best option would be to use the fully automated BillPay option for Tithing and Fast Offering (sorry, bishop, no ward credit), and generate a check to the bishop (or myself to take to the bishop) for the Ward Missionary Fund.

And I would collect 13 receipts each year for tax purposes, 12 from CHQ and one from the ward.


The way I read the Wiki article on BillPay, church headquarters will also send an annual tax statement, so the 12 monthly receipts might not be absolutely necessary for tax documentation:

Q: Will I receive a tax-valid receipt for electronic donations?
A: Yes. Church headquarters will mail monthly receipts and a tax-valid receipt after the close of each year. All mail will be sent to the address on the authorization form. Receipts are also available upon request by the donor.

(Of course, you would also have your own bank records, too. So if you are using software such as Quicken/TurboTax, you probably are downloading the itemized bank records automatically.)

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Postby RossEvans » Sat Oct 17, 2009 8:57 am

I have found this thread and the Wiki articles very informative. I'm a ward finance clerk, and much of this stuff -- the details of alternate payment methods, and the nuances of policy for priesthood leaders -- was news to me.

I wonder why the BillPay option is not more widely publicized. Is there any reason why we should not disseminate the BillPay instructions more proactively to members? I'm thinking that tithing settlement would be an ideal venue for this. (Gosh, that is coming up soon!)


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