04 Apr 2019

Don’t Miss This Deadline For Your Church

Angie Joya

Pastor Carlos looked around his desk. Under a disheveled pile of forms, envelopes, photos, and receipts, he found an inconspicuous looking postcard from the state that said something about a penalty and suspension. Suspension?!

Pastor Carlos recalled the moment he responded to the call of ministry. But the call to administrative work? When did he respond to that? When was administration added to his list of responsibilities? And who thought he was qualified because obviously, he wasn’t! Now his church was about to be suspended by the state! How could something like this happen?

Like pastor Carlos, many ministers often don’t realize that saying “yes” to ministry is also saying “yes” to the administrative work that comes with running a ministry. But this side of ministry isn’t one that is often discussed, or even acknowledged.

Below are three important actions to take to keep your ministry up to date and in good standing with the state.

How to stay in good standing with the state

1. Determine reporting requirements in your state.

Most states require organizations to file a state report periodically. Some states, like Florida and Georgia, require the report every year. Other states, like California for example, require this report every two years, based on incorporation date.

When a church or ministry incorporates, it must perform its annual corporate maintenance. Whether it's preparing annual minutes or filing a state report, the law in most states requires that a report be sent to the secretary of state.

The secretary of state will have information regarding whether or not your corporation is required to complete any reports. Some states, like Connecticut and New Jersey, will require all non-church entities to file an annual report, while churches are exempt from any filing requirements.

2. Find the required information.

State reports are designed to update board member names and addresses.

An organization may change board members as often as needed. Your annual report to your secretary of state is an excellent time to update changes to the board of directors. Typically, you are not required to update the state every time there is a change to the board of directors. In most cases, it is perfectly fine to wait until the state report is due to update board member information.

Most states have different names for corporate information reports. Maryland calls it the Personal Property Return, while California refers to it as a Statement of Information (SI-100). Florida and Georgia call it an annual report, while Texas calls it the periodic report.

Most of the information required for this report is the same:

  • Full legal names,
  • Residential addresses of the board members, and
  • Mailing and physical addresses.

Some states, like Florida, will require the names, addresses and titles of all board members. California, on the other hand, will only require the names and addresses of the president, secretary, and treasurer. 

3. Find the filing deadline and fees.

Some states have a standard deadline. For example, Florida’s deadline for filing is May 1, and Maryland’s deadline is April 15. There are other states in which the filing deadline is different for each corporation. In Colorado, for example, all corporations within the state are required to file their annual report at the end of the anniversary month of the corporation’s incorporation date. In California, corporations are required to file their report by the end of their anniversary month every two years.

Once you determine whether or not your state requires an information report, you will also need to know what method of filing is required. For example, reports are mailed to the secretary of state in Arizona, Illinois, and Nevada. Colorado and Pennsylvania require you to submit your report online.

Most states have a flat filing fee, provided the report is filed on time. Some states penalize late filings with an additional fee.

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Too little, too late?

What happens if you’re taking over a church and you’ve just discovered that your organization has fallen into an inactive, dissolved, or suspended status?

When a corporation is inactive, suspended, or administratively dissolved, it loses its corporate existence and places all of its assets at risk.

Naturally, the next question is, “What do we do about this?”

Luckily, for the most part, most states have a pretty simple process to reinstate the corporate status. In most cases, the state has a form that you can file to get the corporation back into an active status. Most states will also have a penalty fee that will need to be paid to the state when reinstating an organization.

Say "yes" to help

Fortunately, for pastor Carlos, the state of California will just require him to file the SI-100 along with $20.00. This will be sufficient to avoid his church’s suspension.

For pastor Carlos, he quickly realized that when he said “yes” to the administrative aspect of ministry, he can also say “yes” to help.

With our KeepRIGHT Service, you never have to worry about filing reports. Our specialists keep track of your state report filings and other compliance requirements, so you don’t have to remember those administrative details. Let StartCHRCH be an easy “yes” for you so you can continue to say “yes" to ministry life and to open more doors for the growth of your ministry. Call us today at 877-494-4655 to learn more about our KeepRIGHT Service.

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.

Raul Rivera

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