Contribution for Scouts

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
mgrimsle
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Contribution for Scouts

#1

Post by mgrimsle »

If a member wants to give a contribution for Boy Scouts, and if I put the monies in the other account for the contribution would those funds then be considered tax deductible?
russellhltn
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#2

Post by russellhltn »

You may want to read this thread. The Handbook has been updated since then, but it probably yields the same results.
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clementsms
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#3

Post by clementsms »

nothing deposited to the other ( now "authorized member financed activities") account shows up on the year end tax statement.
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mlh78
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#4

Post by mlh78 »

Keep in mind that just because a donation does not end up on the year-end tax statement does not necessarily mean that it does not qualify as a tax-deductible donation. You may need to take additional steps, however, to meet the IRS' documentation requirements with respect to deductible donations not appearing on the tax statement. Members with donations not appearing on their year-end tax statement should consult their tax professional to determine whether they are deductible and what additional steps, if any, must be taken to claim the deduction.
RossEvans
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#5

Post by RossEvans »

mgrimsle wrote:If a member wants to give a contribution for Boy Scouts, and if I put the monies in the other account for the contribution would those funds then be considered tax deductible?
As the link in RussellHlt's post above points out, all this discussion begs the question of whether the unit is able to accept a donation for Scouts at all. This is not a matter of tax law, but of Church policy, which generally prohibits such donations. There are some very narrow exceptions related to a last-resort fundraising for a single annual camp, in which case there might be an Other (Authorized Member Financed Activities) account set up in MLS to pass through the donations.

If all those rules are followed, and there is such a donation, the donor will be on his own documenting this to the IRS. The Church statement will not vouch for it as a tax-deductible donation like tithing.
86Bengal
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#6

Post by 86Bengal »

RossEvans wrote:As the link in RussellHlt's post above points out, all this discussion begs the question of whether the unit is able to accept a donation for Scouts at all. This is not a matter of tax law, but of Church policy, which generally prohibits such donations. There are some very narrow exceptions related to a last-resort fundraising for a single annual camp, in which case there might be an Other (Authorized Member Financed Activities) account set up in MLS to pass through the donations.

If all those rules are followed, and there is such a donation, the donor will be on his own documenting this to the IRS. The Church statement will not vouch for it as a tax-deductible donation like tithing.

My ward does a couple of things that haven't been mentioned yet. I don't know if they're correct, but I thought I'd bring them up:

Our scouts conduct an annual camp fundraiser with flag service subscriptions. Many people in the ward/neighborhood pay the requested donation amount to have a flag in posted in their yard on holidays. A few members typically want to donate more than the requested amount. The scouts solve this by selling these people multiple subscriptions -- they may get 3 or 4 flags each holiday.

Then, with the subscriptions, the boys pass out cards listing the holidays and that also essentially serve as receipts. They write the date and donation amount on the cards. The fundraiser money is deposited into the ward's Other/AMFA category to hold. The fact that these donations don't appear on the Church year-end statements doesn't seem to bother anyone because the scouts already gave them something.
jkwatson
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#7

Post by jkwatson »

I've read the previous posts and the thread mentioned, but I am still confused by a line in the new Handbook 2, section 8.17.3, "Young Men of Other Faiths", which says:
... When these young men participate in Scouting, their parents may give donations to help fund activities.
The term "activities" sounds much broader than just Scout camp, so how do these non-member parents make these donations? Just general donations through tithing? Any ideas?

Thanks!
--Jason
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aebrown
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#8

Post by aebrown »

jkwatson wrote:The term "activities" sounds much broader than just Scout camp, so how do these non-member parents make these donations? Just general donations through tithing? Any ideas?

That's an interesting question, and new information in Handbook 2, Section 8.17.3. You certainly would not receipt the donation into the tithing category -- tithing donations are immediately transferred to CHQ, so the funds would not be available for funding activities at the ward level. There are really only two choices:
  1. Budget -- deposit the donation in Budget:Young Men or Budget:Young Men:Scouts or whatever Budget category you use for scouting activities.
  2. Other -- deposit the donation in Other:Scout Camp
But either choice is problematic:
  1. We are told not to deposit money into Budget except for returns of unspent advanced funds or payments from other units for shared expenses. A donation to Budget is definitely nonstandard.
  2. The Other category is only to be used (in the scouting context) for the funds collected for the one annual camp through fundraising or payments by the scouts themselves. But as you rightly note, the Handbook quote seems to imply that such donations can be used for activities beyond the one annual camp. And a ward may not even use the Other category for any scouting activities.
  3. With either method, donations to Budget and Other are not considered to be charitable contributions, at least as far as the year-end Official Tax Statement is concerned. So we have no way of giving the nonmember donor a tax statement that shows the donation.
I know I've raised more questions than answers, but the Section 8.17.3 wording seems to contradict other policies we've been told, and MLS doesn't seem to accommodate it very well. I guess I'd lean toward using the appropriate Budget subcategory, and issuing a year-end Donor Statement instead of a Tax Statement so that the donor will at least have some receipt for the donation.
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jdlessley
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#9

Post by jdlessley »

jkwatson wrote:I've read the previous posts and the thread mentioned, but I am still confused by a line in the new Handbook 2, section 8.17.3, "Young Men of Other Faiths", which says:
... When these young men participate in Scouting, their parents may give donations to help fund activities.

The term "activities" sounds much broader than just Scout camp, so how do these non-member parents make these donations? Just general donations through tithing? Any ideas?
This requires interpretation by local leaders. If in making that interpretation they decide the term activities goes beyond just one annual camp, and since contributions should not be deposited into a budget category in this scenario, then they must consider the Church's instructions for the Other:AMFA category.

In that regard, a specific purpose (Scout activity) should be identified and the funds used only for that purpose. If a disbursement using budget funds would be made to pay the expenses of a Scouting activity and the parents of young men of other faiths want to make contributions for that specific activity, their contributions would be deposited into an Other:AFMFA:XXXXX sub-category. XXXXX is a name given to adequately describe the purpose of the sub-category.

When funds are remitted to cover the expenses of the Scout activity they will come from two sources, the budget category and the Other:AMFA:XXXXX category. If the entity recieving the funds will accept two checks then all is well. If not, then write a check for the full amount from either the budget category or the Other:AMFA:XXXX category and follow the procedures described in the "How to deal with incorrect postings" of the wiki article "Other category" to "transfer" funds between the appropriate budget category and Other:AMFA:XXXXX category or vice versa.

A difficulty that could arrise is to have parents of young men of other faiths wanting to make regular contributions for the purpose of having a pool of funds available for future, yet to be identified, Scout activity expenses. This is contrary to the Church's instructions for the Other:AMFA category.
JD Lessley
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wrigjef
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#10

Post by wrigjef »

This problem is addressed rather easily in our stake. If the funds are for a specific activity, scouting or otherwise, an AMFA account is set up and units are strongly encouraged to turn those funds around, reach a 0 balance and close (deactivate) the account ASAP, definitely by the end of the year.

If the funds are not for a specific purpose or activity then members (or non-members) are instructed to make the check out to the BSA or local council and when we send the funds in, we request that they be put into what is called our Z-account. In either case tracking the contribution for tax purposes is the responsibility of the contributor.
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