Reporting Issues

#6 Contributions - Substantiation Requirements

Over the past several months we have discussed the requirements for reporting/deducting charitable contributions. In our final post, we will discuss the substantiation rules...

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA of 2006) changed the substantiation requirements for deducting charitable contributions. Prior to 2007, donors could deduct charitable contributions using a cancelled check, a receipt from the charity or another reliable written document.

#4 Contributions - General Requirements

Since the beginning of the year, we have been discussing the general requirements for reporting contributions. In this post we will discuss when to record a contribution.

When is the unconditional transfer considered a contribution? When does the church record a contribution? The timing or delivery of the unconditional transfer is very important in determining how/when to record a contribution.

Let’s review the following:
a. Checks that are mailed to a church are considered “delivered” on the date the donor mails it or the date of postmark.

#3 Contributions/Event - Communication to Donor is Important

In our 2 previous posts in the contribution/event series, we have discussed the common scenario of a non-profit solicitating contributions/revenues in exchange for a donor benefit. Donors often receive something in exchange for a contribution. Whether it is a meal, a book, a video, all of these items are treated similarly. Remember the criteria for financial reporting:

What has been communicated to the donor and what is the donor’s intended response?

Basis of Accounting for Non-Profit Entities - Modified Cash Basis

In our two previous posts, we have discussed the different financial statement presentations, GAAP, cash basis and now we will define modified cash basis of reporting.

There must be "substantial support" for reporting under the modified cash basis. Ordinarily, a modification would have substantial support if the method is equivalent to the accrual basis of accounting for the particular item and if the method is not illogical. The modified cash basis is more common than the "pure" cash basis.

Senate Inquiry - Is it Appropriate?

According to the Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations, the IRS may conduct civil tax inquiries and examinations of churches under IRC section 7611. The IRS may only initiate a church tax inquiry if the Director, Exempt Organizations, Examinations, reasonably believes based on written statements of the facts and circumstances, that the Church:

1. may not qualify for the exemption; or
2. may not be paying tax on an unrelated business or other taxable activity

Contributions - 6 General Requirements

According to Dictionary.com a contribution is synomous for a gift, donation, or benefaction. Since a gift does not occur without an irrevocable exchange, a contribution is not considered an allowable deduction unless the contribution is unconditional. The donor receives no personal benefit in exchange for the gift.

IF the donor receives a benefit for the gift, the difference between the gift and the benefit is the amount that is deductible. Here's an example...

Contributions/Event - Continued

Contributions may be the most gracious form of expression that a donor can provide a Ministry to aid in its Vision. Yet, with gracious offerings can come many challenges when attempting to account for the funds. The following example is a scenario that most any Ministry will encounter:

Basis of Accounting for Non-Profit Entities

Cash Basis - vs - Modified Cash Basis…What’s the Difference?

Risk Standards (SAS 104 and 105)

As noted in our previous post, the AICPA has issued several new auditing standards that are applicable for audits ending after 12/16/07. We will briefly discuss the 8 new standards:

SAS 104 – More clearly defines the level of assurance auditors are to provide the client and interested 3rd parties regarding whether or not the client’s financial statements are free of material misstatement. This has not direct client impact.

Inherent Risk Defined

Inherent Risk is defined as "what could go wrong, in the absence of internal controls".

Internal Controls are defined as...systems in place that identify errors and irregularities on a timely basis.