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Printer Ink - Reimbursement

Posted: Mon Dec 30, 2019 10:37 am
by cchang
Would printer ink that a secretary prints at home be a reimbursable expense if they are printing it from their own personal printer at home? It is easier for them to print at home then to come to the church building and the member has stated she mainly uses the printer for church related items. Concern is members that start using personal items for church related activities such as paper, ink, markers, etc. that do become expense reimbursements.

Re: Printer Ink - Reimbursement

Posted: Mon Dec 30, 2019 10:49 am
by russellhltn
That's something that's up to the Bishop.

This sounds like a good time for him to create a policy about this.

Personally, I'd say they should be doing it at church if they want the church to pay for it. Unless they're doing something large and tangible (like the Sunday program), there's too little oversight. Either that or cap the amount and/or positions that can do that and spell it out up front.

Re: Printer Ink - Reimbursement

Posted: Mon Dec 30, 2019 11:06 am
by davesudweeks
Members should not be required to spend their own resources for church expenses. Reimbursing for ink on someone's personal printer, though, can become a sticky situation. If they choose to print from home for convenience I suppose that is their choice. Perhaps they can provide an "invoice" for the number of pages they print and the ward can reimburse them a per/page price for the prints. But as russellhltn wisely advised, the bishop needs to make a decision here.

We have a local copy center with a copy area accessible 24/7 using a door key. We have used that as an option for those printing in bulk (we pre-load a "printer key" with 1000 copies and they use the key to make their church related copies rather than trying to schedule time when the material center is open on Sunday or Wednesday). The printer key can be reloaded as needed and the copiers are well-maintained professional models. There is no charge for use of the keys as long as they are not lost - only a per/page charge for the copies.

Re: Printer Ink - Reimbursement

Posted: Mon Dec 30, 2019 11:24 am
by cchang
davesudweeks wrote:Members should not be required to spend their own resources for church expenses. Reimbursing for ink on someone's personal printer, though, can become a sticky situation. If they choose to print from home for convenience I suppose that is their choice. Perhaps they can provide an "invoice" for the number of pages they print and the ward can reimburse them a per/page price for the prints. But as russellhltn wisely advised, the bishop needs to make a decision here.

We have a local copy center with a copy area accessible 24/7 using a door key. We have used that as an option for those printing in bulk (we pre-load a "printer key" with 1000 copies and they use the key to make their church related copies rather than trying to schedule time when the material center is open on Sunday or Wednesday). The printer key can be reloaded as needed and the copiers are well-maintained professional models. There is no charge for use of the keys as long as they are not lost - only a per/page charge for the copies.

I'm sure the Bishop would have no issue doing this but trying to put some guideline in place. It is not a concern but did see one reimbursement request came through for printer ink.

Re: Printer Ink - Reimbursement

Posted: Mon Dec 30, 2019 11:27 am
by eblood66
As others have said, this is largely up to the bishop but regardless of what the bishop decides there has to be documentation for the reimbursement so the member would have to submit their receipts for when they purchased the ink and then indicate how much was for church purposes. However, I can see an auditor asking additional questions about an expense where they only want partial reimbursement for a single item. It isn't uncommon to have a partial reimbursement for a single receipt where some items are for personal use but some are for church use. It's easy enough to mark which items are for church use. But a partial for a single item is less common and the auditor might wonder how they determine how much is for church use. But it probably wouldn't be an audit exception if the bishop approved the situation beforehand.

Re: Printer Ink - Reimbursement

Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:53 pm
by chriswoodut
I agree the only way to reasonably do it is a price per page. Copy centers do it this way and you could come up with a justifiable cost by getting pricing from a couple of places. You can't really figure out how to split the cost of a toner cartridge and justify it very well so I wouldn't try to go that route. Also, inkjet ink is a lot more expensive than laser toner in regards to costs. You'd hate to have the person using the most expensive printer at home that could be twice the cost of the one in the church library.

(I've noticed here in Utah, the fed-ex copy centers have a Church price which is almost 50% off. At least the one in Orem does.)

Re: Printer Ink - Reimbursement

Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 8:02 pm
by russellhltn
chriswoodut wrote:I agree the only way to reasonably do it is a price per page.


But how do you work out the price? If it's a copy center, then the member's cost is easy. But if they're printing at home, the actual cost is the cost of paper and ink/toner. But working out the price per page isn't easy or straightforward.

Re: Printer Ink - Reimbursement

Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 8:11 pm
by chriswoodut
russellhltn wrote:
chriswoodut wrote:I agree the only way to reasonably do it is a price per page.


But how do you work out the price? If it's a copy center, then the member's cost is easy. But if they're printing at home, the actual cost is the cost of paper and ink/toner. But working out the price per page isn't easy or straightforward.


You do it at the going, competitive rate at a copy center. They get reimbursed at what they could have done it at the copy center. They can choose whether to do it at the church for free, the copy center, or at home at the copy center price (but they enjoy the convenience).

That's how I'd do it.

Re: Printer Ink - Reimbursement

Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 8:45 pm
by russellhltn
Except a copy center is charging a price that not only covers the paper and toner, but enough to cover the rent, salary, and make some kind of profit for the owner. Sure, they get a bulk discount, but I don't know as for-profit business is a solid basis for a comparison.

The other problem with a page price is there's no "store receipt" for home printing. Just someone's say-so on the quantity. I'd think that would concern the auditors who like traceability.

While it may seem we're arguing pennies, copying tends to add up to a fair chunk of the ward budget. Especially if we're talking about the Sunday program.

There's a number of ways it could be done. I think it's most important to have a ward policy and let everyone know what that is up front. That's probably the only part we'd all agree is fair.

Re: Printer Ink - Reimbursement

Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 8:48 pm
by chriswoodut
russellhltn wrote:Except a copy center is charging a price that not only covers the paper and toner, but enough to cover the rent, salary, and make some kind of profit for the owner. Sure, they get a bulk discount, but I don't know as for-profit business is a solid basis for a comparison.

The other problem with a page price is there's no "store receipt" for home printing. Just someone's say-so on the quantity. I'd think that would concern the auditors who like traceability.

While it may seem we're arguing pennies, copying tends to add up to a fair chunk of the ward budget. Especially if we're talking about the Sunday program.

There's a number of ways it could be done. I think it's most important to have a ward policy and let everyone know what that is up front. That's probably the only part we'd all agree is fair.


Then just say no.