FINANCIAL & ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES
The Finance office works with local churches and pastors in the areas of healthcare, pension, apportionments, loans, equitable compensation, and program support. The executive director of Financial & Administrative Services provides education and training to individuals serving their local church in financial ministry. The office staff ensures that East Ohio Conference local churches are compliant with their church, audit, and pastor’s compensation reports, and it provides budget information and tools that are helpful in interpreting apportionments. The staff also processes payroll for those churches enrolled in the payroll service.
The Administrative Services office is responsible, through the Conference Board of Trustees, for the oversight and operation of the Area Center, the episcopal residence, Conference and district parsonages, and all Conference property and insurance. Questions about church parsonages, and architects/contractors working on building construction/expansion should be directed to the executive director of Financial & Administrative Services.
Questions about closing a church building or abandoning a church property should be directed to your district superintendent’s office.
Boy Scouts of America Bankruptcy Affects United Methodist Congregations
The United Methodist Church and its predecessor denominations have a relationship with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), which dates back more than 100 years. In February 2020, the BSA announced the national organization would file for bankruptcy to allow it to continue carrying on its mission while also compensating sexual abuse victims who were harmed during their time in scouting. On July 29, 2022, a ruling in the Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) bankruptcy proceedings indicated that most of the reorganization plan meets the criteria of bankruptcy law and is constitutional. The ruling approves the United Methodist portion of the settlement, but there are several more matters the BSA must address for the plan to be confirmed.
"The United Methodist settlement sought to put the survivors first and the continuation of safe Scouting for present Scouts as high priorities," said Bishop John Schol, who chairs the United Methodist leadership team created to support United Methodist chartering associations in the matter.
IRS Group Rule Exemptions
In May 2020, the IRS released proposed the following updates to the rules for group exemptions, changes that could negatively impact our denomination’s group exemption: 1) A requirement that all subordinate organizations adopt a “uniform governing instrument;” 2) Specific definitions for the “general supervision” or “control” that the central organization must exercise over all subordinates; and 3) A requirement that all subordinates must fall under the same subsection of Section 509(a) of the Tax Code (limiting the types of ministries that could be included in the group exemption).
Because most of these changes would not apply to organizations already included in our group exemption, the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) strongly recommends that any United Methodist organization that wishes to apply for inclusion in the group exemption do so as soon as possible. To apply:
E-mail GCFA with you any questions that you may have about group exemption.
United Methodist Insurance Program Revisions
The Book of Discipline requires local church trustees to annually review and report on the adequacy of local church property and liability insurance coverage “to ensure that the church, its properties, and its personnel are properly protected against risks.” Since 1797, The Book of Discipline has provided that the property and assets of local churches are held in trust for the benefit of the denomination. Inadequate insurance puts local church property and assets at risk, including the denomination’s trust interest therein. In representing the denomination’s trust interest, the General Council on Finance & Administration (GCFA) in December 2021 revised minimum insurance requirements for local churches.
Clergy Housing Allowance
The clergy housing allowance provided by Section 107 of the Internal Revenue Code will remain in effect for the foreseeable future.
The group Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) announced, on June 14, 2019, that it would not ask the United States Supreme Court to review its challenge to the housing allowance. After winning its case in a federal district court in Wisconsin, the FFRF’s victory was overturned -and the housing allowance was found to be constitutional by the Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, a federal court immediately below the Supreme Court. In its June 14 press release, the FFRF stated a lack of confidence that members of the Supreme Court would be willing to overturn the 7th Circuit’s decision.
Nonprofit Employee Parking Tax Repealed
Section 512(a)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code, commonly referred to as the “parking tax”, was repealed on December 20, retroactive to the date of its enactment (January 1, 2018). As a result, tax-exempt employers (such as our churches) will no longer have to increase their unrelated business taxable income (“UBTI”) by amounts paid or incurred for providing parking and public transportation benefits to their employees. Despite guidance passed at the end of 2018, this section of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act caused concern due to the prospect of increased tax liability, the lack of clarity for determining the taxable amount and the administrative burdens the Act presented.
If any church filed a Form 990-T to report the unrelated business taxable income and pay the tax related to providing parking and/or public transportation benefits, the church is encouraged to consult its tax advisor to see if the church should file an amended Form 990-T and also should check to see if a state tax refund might be available.
2022 Mileage Rates
Beginning on July 1, 2022, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
Ohio Minimum Wage to Increase in 2021
Effective January 1, 2021, the minimum wage in the State of Ohio is $8.80/hour, an increase of $0.10 for non-tipped employees. Pay for tipped employees is $4.40/hour, an increase of $0.05. The Federal Minimum wage is $7.25/hour.
Employers whose gross earnings are more than $323,000 are required to pay employees whichever minimum wage is higher. Employers whose gross earnings are less than $323,000 shall pay their employees no less than the Federal minimum wage. Employers are required to post the minimum wage and overtime information in a conspicuous place, such as an employee break room or office that can be accessed by employees. A free downloadable copy of the poster is available here.
The East Ohio Conference Office:
located in North Canton, OH,
near Akron-Canton Airport.
8800 Cleveland Ave. NW
North Canton, OH 44720
Local: (330) 499-3972
Toll Free: (800) 831-3972
Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
© EAST OHIO CONFERENCE. All Rights Reserved.