15 Nov 2018

3 Things Every Ministry Should Consider Doing Before 2019

Raul Rivera

There are times when we all put things off until the last minute. Some of us do this more often than others, and this is referred to as procrastination. 

In essence, one who often procrastinates will avoid difficult tasks and deliberately look for distractions.

I want you to take a moment and think back to the beginning of this year. Are there things you told yourself you would do or take care of for your ministry this year, but just have not had the time?

Whether it is because of procrastination or not, it is okay! There are many times in our lives and in our ministries we get so busy that it is easy to leave things on the proverbial “back burner.”

For churches and ministries, it is the administrative and compliance aspect that often gets overlooked or left on the “back burner.”

But don’t worry. There is still time in the year to take care of some of these “back burner” tasks - and we can guide you through the process.

In this blog, I want to share with you three things your church or ministry should consider doing now to propel you into 2019.

3 things to consider doing before the end of the year

1. Begin forming your ministry’s legal foundation now.

Many of you intend to start your church or ministry in 2019, and I congratulate you and encourage you to keep pressing forward in your calling. 

I also want to encourage you to not wait until “some time next year” to begin forming your church or ministry’s legal foundation. 

In fact, there are many benefits to forming your legal foundation and establishing a corporation before the end of the year, especially if you are preparing to launch your church or ministry in 2019.

Two benefits of forming your legal foundation and corporation now are as follows:

Benefit #1: Forming your legal foundation now ensures the tax deductibility of donations to your church or ministry. 

When the IRS approves a Form 1023 application, it grants the approval retroactive to the date of incorporation for all churches. For a non-church entity, the IRS grants this retroactive approval if the charity applies within 27 months of incorporation.

If you are unsure if your ministry has passed its 27-month window, give us a call at (844) 299-8258. One of our team members will be glad to help!

Benefit #2: Forming your legal foundation and corporation now creates a corporate veil of protection. This limits the liability for board members, church members, or participants in your organization. 

When a church incorporates, a legal entity (corporation) is created. This separates the members of the organization from the corporation. 

A corporate veil is a legal concept that involves liability protection. 

Under the corporate veil, if court action comes against a corporation, the personal assets of the members would be protected. If no corporate veil exists, the members of the organization (including board members, church members, and ministry partners) could all be held liable in litigation against the organization.

The next two items pertain more to churches and ministries that have already started or been established for some time. But these are just as important for newer churches and ministries to take note of.

Strengthen Your Legal Foundation Today!

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2. Get your finances in order now . . . not later.

Having a financially sound ministry is vital to any pastor or ministry leader. But for that to happen, you have to be intentional with getting your ministry’s finances in order and maintaining that order.

This all begins with establishing a budget for your church or ministry. In short, there are six easy steps you can take to create a healthy budget for your church or ministry. Those six steps are as follows:

  1. Begin planning early.
  2. Get a realistic idea of the income you expect your church or ministry to bring in.
  3. Determine your church or ministry’s financial responsibilities.
  4. Determine your church or ministry’s financial goals.
  5. Create “buy-in” to the budget.
  6. Make a plan for how you will manage expenses.

These six steps are explained in more detail in a previous blog. Click here to learn more. 

The hurdle that most pastors and ministry leaders face when it comes to maintaining budgets and ministry finances is time. This is why we created our Bookkeeping Service

By utilizing our Bookkeeping Service, you will work with a personal bookkeeper and seasoned CPAs who will help make sense of your church or ministry’s budget and financial records. 

Get Your Ministry’s Finances In Order Today!

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3. Do not miss your ministry’s filing requirements in 2019.

We work with both churches and ministries in all 50 states. If there is one thing that can deter churches and ministries in their quest for compliance, it is the filing requirements at both the state and federal level.

Most states require both churches and ministries to file an annual report.

Each state's annual report will differ in the amount of information required of your organization and when the annual report is due. But all states require you to file an annual report on time or else your church or ministry will be administratively dissolved.

Besides annual reports, some states require franchise taxes to be paid. Such franchise tax fees can be steep. However, as a charitable organization, you can file for franchise tax exemption. 

If you have questions about franchise tax exemption in your state, give us a call at 877-494-4655.

Lastly, the IRS requires all charitable organizations, except churches, to file annual information return known as Form 990. I addressed the implications of not filing Form 990. I encourage you take time to read it, as the consequences of not filing Form 990 can be costly.

(Recommended reading: “Revoked for One Missed Form”)

Get off to a good start in 2019

I mention all of this not to be a discouragement to you and the good work you are doing through your church or ministry. 

Instead, I mention this to highlight the importance of staying on top of your church or ministry’s yearly filing requirements. 

If you need help in keeping track of your church or ministry’s filing requirements and do not want to miss another due date, I invite you to consider reaching out to us. Learn more about our services, and how we can serve you, by calling us at 877-494-4655 .

Please feel free to comment. We always appreciate good dialogue. However, we do moderate each comment to ensure that it is on topic and not derogatory to other participants. We ask that you keep your comments brief and pertinent to the topic so that others may benefit.

Blessings,
Raul Rivera

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