March 31, 2016

MinistryCPA Special Topic: The Missionary and International Banking

WWNTBM* is a missions agency serving over 100 missionaries in more than 80 locations world wide. It seeks to assist its missionaries in every way possible. One of the ways it does that is to offer multiple banking options, in order to best meet missionaries’ individual needs.

We at MinistryCPA have asked one of WWNTBM’s representatives to share the following information with our readers.

Did you know that there are many ways a missionary can receive his support other than receiving a check in the mail? Technology has so progressed in this area that we no longer have to go to the bank daily to stand in line waiting to make deposits or send money. We can send funds all over the world right from our computer. It is so much faster and more efficient.

Some of the ways we at WWNTBM are able to assist our missionaries with their banking needs are described below.

 International Wire
The missionary chooses a bank in his country and we wire directly from our bank to his bank. We use a web-based system provided by our bank. We login to a secure site that we can use to send international wires. This option is used when the missionary wants the deposit to be in US dollars.

✦ Domestic ACH
Many missionaries have us direct deposit their support into their US bank. They then use an ATM card to withdraw funds in whatever country they are living. Depending on their bank, they are charged a fee. The amount of the fee depends on the amount of the withdrawal.

✦ Foreign Exchange Broker
We also use an exchange rate broker to assist with those needing a deposit in their local currency. The firm uses the same banking information that is used by a traditional bank. This is also accessed through a secured website. They do charge a fee, but it is typically less than the web-based traditional banking system.

✦ Cash Transfers
Some of our missionaries use Moneygram and/or Western Union services when they need cash the same day, or in remote areas where banks are not readily available.

Of course, all transactions have costs involved. Depending on the type of transfer used, our bank or service provider charges a fee for us to be able to send money. Then, depending on their personal financial institute, the missionary may be charged a fee on their end to receive funds. Missionaries can often save money by shopping around for the best financial institution, or even the best types of accounts offered by their current financial institution.

✦ Credit Unions 
Credit unions often offer savings and features not available through a traditional bank. ECCU is Christian Credit Union. They are able to reduce fees by not charging a fee on their side for an ATM withdrawal. They offer several services that a missionary would find useful. Their website is www.eccu.org.

✦ Free Checking Accounts
Although this option is not as commonplace, some banks do still offer checking accounts with limited fees. Charles Schwab offers a free checking account with no foreign transaction fees for ATM withdrawals. This is available to those who open a retirement account with them, even if it is one with a minimal balance.

WWNTBM indicates that there are many options to save time and money when transferring funds to foreign countries. It encourages agencies and missionaries to research what options will best meet their needs. For more information about WWNTBM, visit www.wwntbm.com.

*World Wide New Testament Baptist Missions (WWNTBM) of Kings Mountain, NC

February 02, 2016

Form 1099-MISC for My Pastor? Bad Idea!

Question:

Sue—“I’m planning on issuing my pastor a 1099-MISC for this year and I understand that I can't include Housing Allowance, but what about the retirement that church paid monthly on behalf of my pastor? And the mileage reimbursement we've paid him? Do I have to report all these on 1099?”

Answer:

Sorry, but it’s a bad idea all around. Unless your pastor is an itinerant pastor serving multiple congregations, it’s virtually impossible to classify him as an independent contractor for whom a Form 1099-MISC is prepared. Further, if the church provided him a retirement plan, then that settles it right there. There is no church retirement plan in the Internal Revenue Code for independent contractors. Pastors receive Form W-2. Housing Allowances are noted in the memo box – Box 14. And the retirement plan reporting depends on the type of plan. Mileage reimbursement? it depends on whether it’s an accountable or a non-accountable plan. Sorry to say this, but Sue likely needs professional help.

January 08, 2016

IRS Withdraws Proposed Changes to Donor Written Acknowledgements

**Update to Previous Blog Post: Proposed Change for Donor Written Acknowledgements

Yesterday, January 7, 2016, the IRS withdrew its proposed rulemaking change for donor written acknowledgements. Per REG-138344-13, the IRS received public comments that “expressed significant concerns about donee organizations collecting and maintaining taxpayer identification numbers for purposes of the specific-use information return.”

As a reminder though, nonprofits are still required under IRC Section 170(f)(8) to provide donors a written acknowledgement for any gift over $250. Check out our blog’s other discussions on charitable contributions.

December 30, 2015

MinistryCPA Special Topic: Starting a WI Small Business

The State of Wisconsin launched a One Stop Business Portal to assist individuals in establishing a business in Wisconsin. The portal’s web address is www.openforbusinesswi.com. The portal walks the individual through the following steps.
  1. Entity Registration
  2. Business Tax Registration, which can include a seller’s permit and employee withholding tax number
  3. Unemployment Insurance Assessment

In addition, the website offers an Expanding Your Business page that reviews worker’s compensation requirements.

We have walked many clients through the process of starting a business, and the process can be a bit daunting to the client because of new terms, multiple registration websites, and lots of steps to complete the process. Maybe this Wisconsin portal is the beginning of a one-stop location to learn state requirements and to set up a new business.


December 21, 2015

2016 Standard Mileage Rates

The IRS issued the 2016 standard mileage rates. These rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) begin on January 1, 2016.
  • 54 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 57.5 cents for 2015
  • 19 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 23 cents for 2015
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations
More information is available on the IRS’s webpage.