The Other Category, sometimes called the "Other" account, is one of the categories on the Tithing and Other Offerings slip. It also appears on the Unit Financial Statement.
What is this fund used for?
Wards and stakes use the "Other" category to collect funds for a defined purpose and then distribute the funds to pay for goods or services. In the United States, funds paid to the Other category for goods and services are not tax deductible. Occasionally, The First Presidency may ask members to donate to a specific fund and donate that through the Other category. Those donations may be tax deductible in the U.S.
The "Other" category is a place where funds can be collected into one account for a specific purpose and then distributed for that purpose. In most instances the "Other" category is considered a "pass-through" account. This refers to cases where funds "pass through" the account as they are collected and distributed for specific purposes. The "Other" category is not a place for funds without a specifically stated purpose. The "Other" category is not a place where unspecified excess funds are kept in case they are needed later. Please note that money designated for such things as Friends of Scouting, missionary funds, and the Perpetual Education Fund should not be deposited into the "Other" category.
What priesthood leaders should know
Bishoprics and stake presidencies should understand the following about the "Other" category.
- Stake and ward budget funds are used to pay for Church activities, programs, and supplies. Normally, members are not asked to pay fees to participate in Church activities. Leaders should carefully follow budget guidelines found in Handbook 1: Stake Presidents and Bishops, 14.7.
- In cases where budget funds are not sufficient to pay for annual youth camps or similar activities, leaders may ask participants to contribute by earning their own money. The "Other" category may be used in these exceptional circumstances.
- All funds collected for special purposes should be tracked in the "Other" category. Petty cash funds and additional checking or savings accounts are not approved.
- Leaders should not solicit or deposit money into the "Other" category for purposes beyond the established guidelines.
- Occasionally wards or stakes create an "Other" subcategory to collect funds for national or international charitable causes. While many such causes are noble and worthy, members should normally be encouraged to contribute to the Humanitarian Aid or Fast Offering funds, not the "Other" category. This allows the funds to be carefully administered and used for the maximum benefit to those in need.
What members should know
Clerks and leaders should help members understand that when they designate money for the "Other" category, it should be for a specifically stated purpose previously approved by the bishopric or stake presidency. Most contributions to the "Other" category are not donations to the Church; rather they are payments for a tangible benefit. For this reason they are not considered charitable contributions and will not be included on the year-end tax-valid statement.
What clerks should know
Clerks should understand the following about the "Other" category:
- Funds in the "Other" category must be designated for a future purpose and then used for the stated purpose. The "Other" category is divided into subcategories, and the title of the subcategory should indicate the intended purpose. Subcategories in "Other" should be limited to those approved by the bishopric or stake presidency.
- If members designate money for the "Other" category and the purpose is not stated or does not fit within one of the approved subcategories, a bishopric member should contact the member and either return the money or have the member change the donation to another category.
- When receiving money into and disbursing money from the "Other" category, clerks should be careful to properly record the transaction to the proper subcategory. Receiving or disbursing funds in the wrong subcategory can lead to a deficit or a surplus of funds.
Unit Financial Statement
The "Other" category appears on your Unit Financial Statement. Unlike most categories on the statement, the Other category retains a balance of funds from month to month.
Common problems and their solutions
Problems in the "Other" category can become difficult unless they are resolved quickly and correctly. Some of the more common problems include the following:
- There is a surplus in the "Other" category because the clerk mistakenly uses budget funds to pay for an activity that should have been paid for from the "Other" category.
- The cost of an activity is more than the available funds collected, and the expense causes a deficit of funds in an "Other" subcategory.
- The cost of an activity is less than anticipated and leaves a surplus of funds in an "Other" subcategory.
- The "Other" category contains unidentified funds.
How to deal with surpluses
If there are excess funds in the "Other" category, and the funds do not have an identified purpose, you should first try to identify what the original purpose was. If you cannot identify the purpose, clear the funds by printing a check from the "Other" subcategory, payable to Corporation of the President. In the "Purpose" field, enter 'Surplus "Other" Funds.' Send the check to:
- Church Finance Dept.
- 50 E North Temple St.
- SLC UT 84150
If the purpose of the excess funds is identified, and the funds were not used for the intended purpose, you can either: Return the leftover funds to the member by printing a check payable to the member from the applicable "Other" subcategory. Or obtain permission from the member to change the category of the donation from "Other" to a charitable category such as Fast Offering or Humanitarian Aid. To change the donation category you will need to make the correction in MLS. Instructions for adjusting a donation in MLS can be found in the 'Questions and Answers' section of the Donations page.
A Transfer can be done if there is a surplus in a subcategory of other. Here are some guidelines on transferring within the Other Category:
- Transfers are only done within Other Subcategories. You can't go from Budget to Other or Other to Ward Missionary.
- Transfers are done within subcategories that funds were generated for the same purpose (i.e. Scouts 2008 to Scouts 2009). Do not shuffle money around to zero out subcategories.
- Do not use the category Missionary or the parent Other category.
Instructions on how to enter transfers in MLS can be found on the entering and viewing transfers page.
How to deal with deficits
If there is a deficit of funds in an "Other" subcategory, and the deficit results from money owed by members, collect the money from the members, and deposit it. If the money cannot be collected, or if the deficit does not result from money owed by members, bring the subcategory to zero by transferring funds from a budget subcategory. However, please note that if the deficit results from a clerical error or a returned check, you should correct the original problem rather than covering the error with budget funds. To transfer funds from a budget subcategory to an "Other" subcategory, print a check from the appropriate budget subcategory payable to the unit. Then deposit the check into the "Other" subcategory using a Tithing and Other Offerings slip in the name of the unit. Make sure that you make the deposit in the appropriate "Other" subcategory so that it will clear to zero.
How to deal with incorrect postings
Sometimes an activity is mistakenly paid for using budget funds even though funds were collected and designated for the activity in the "Other" category. To correct this error you can change the category of the check:
- In MLS, from the Finances screen, go to View/Update Expenses
- Find the incorrectly written check, and click on the check number link to edit it
- Change the category as needed
- Save the change
- Make sure you do a Send/Receive to transmit the corrected information to the Administrative Office.
Or you can write a compensating check and deposit in the ward's account:
- Print a check payable to the ward from the appropriate "Other" subcategory.
- Fill out a Tithing and Other Offerings slip in the name of the ward, cross out "Other" on the slip, and write in the name of the budget subcategory and the amount of the check.
- Record the deposit in MLS to the proper budget subcategory.
- File the white copy of the donation slip with one check stub and the expense information, and file the yellow copy and the other check stub with the donation information.
- Deposit the check at the bank using normal procedures.
How to deal with funds collected from many different people
Sometimes a collection of funds into a subcategory of the "Other" category entails donations from several different families in the unit (for example, annual youth encampments). This can cause confusion if one or more families does not donate the expected amount to the subcategory. The problem of knowing who has donated what can be daunting, especially if the same subcategory is used from year to year or there are many families contributing. There are at least two common strategies to avoid confusion:
- Maintain a spreadsheet that tracks all donations into and checks written from the subcategory (note that if the normal donation processing clerk misses a week, his replacement may not follow this method).
- Create a sub-subcategory for each family, by last name, that makes donations into the subcategory (note that this will require you to write one check with multiple sub-subcategories when paying for expenses out of that subcategory).
Recommended procedure in the UK & Ireland
As the Church operates a single bank account in the UK, writing a cheque to send to another unit who pays it back into the same account will double the bank charges for no gain. Where possible please use the UK and Ireland LURBS transfer form. This form should only be used to transfer funds between units, and to transfer funds between budget/other or other/budget in the same unit. All normal unit transfers (budget/budget or other/other) should still be done in MLS.
The Other category has some special subcategories at the ward and stake level which do not follow the rules listed above. At the ward level, these include Humanitarian Aid, Temple construction, and Perpetual Education. Donations for Temple Construction may be earmarked for a specific temple (as was done for construction of the Nauvoo Temple and is often done in the temple district for a new temple under construction) or may go to the general temple construction fund.
Donations made to these special subcategories have two significant differences:
- Donations made to these categories will be swept automatically to CHQ, just like donations to Tithing.
- Donations are tax-deductible, unlike other donations to the Other category.
At the stake level, there are several special subcategories of the "Other" category. Some of these, such as Scout Registration and Authorized Computer Repairs are automatically reimbursed by CHQ.
- Payments between church units.... [August 24, 2009], Andrew Mason, UK & Ireland MSR Supervisor