Our church has been established for several years and very little has been done to update any records or documents. What should we be reviewing to ensure we are protected by having all our records and documents current?
There are several items that need to be addressed by a local church. We have to remember that laws change frequently, so we must review our corporate records and other forms of recordkeeping to ensure we are up-to-date as required. Some of these are as follows:
First, you need to be sure your corporation is current. Most states require an annual report each year and failure to complete that report will cause the corporation to NOT be in good standing. Check the website of your Secretary of State to see where your church corporate stands in this area.
You must have your policies and/or resolutions up-to-date. There are presently 13 policies or resolutions that each church should have implemented. These policies provide protection for the staff, tax benefits for the ministry, and legal protection in many areas. No church should be without these items in their policy manual.
Because the IRS has made many provisions and changes to the non-profit requirements, every church should review their by-laws at least every three years. Over the past 10 years, we have seen many modifications made that must be included in all non-profit by-laws. Without these mandatory inclusions in a church’s by-laws, the by-laws would not be valid, which could create a great hazard for the church, board, officers and directors.
With all the changes being implemented, there should be a full review of the procedures and performances of the Church regarding the accounting procedures, collection and depositing of funds, training for the staff, meeting the new requirements for contribution recordkeeping, and maintaining of the payroll records and maintaining all information tax returns required of a church. Training of the staff is critical so they can be current with procedures and how things are to be maintained.
In addition to these items noted above, periodically the insurance policy should be reviewed with your agent to make sure of adequate coverage.
You may go to our website, www.jayroeandcompany.com, for additional information and more free information concerning the church policies and procedures.