Local Church Treasurer Resources

This is our online version of a Local Church Treasurer Manual.  A compilation of resources from the conference that we hope will be useful to you.
Candace Clarke, Conference Treasurer
and Benefits Officer

Local Church Treasurers and Finance Staff -  If there are other items you would like to see in this section, please let us know. As always, we are available to help with questions and issues as they arise.

Candace Clarke, Conference Treasurer and Benefits Officer, candace@umoi.org

General Information

Discipline -  An excerpt from the 2016 Book of Discipline regarding the responsibilities of local church treasurers, financial secretaries and finance committees.

Internal Control Guidelines - A list of things to consider when making policies or developing financial procedures.

Records Retention - A 2017 guide from GCAH showing the amount of time common documents must be kept on file.

Charitable Donations - Information regarding commonly asked questions dealing with charitable donations.

Benevolence Fund Policy - A guide from GCFA discussing the legal regulations regarding Benevolence Funds.

Moving Policy - Conference rule 5.300, from the 2019 Journal, regarding reimbursement of moving expenses.

Moving Expense Worksheet - To be completed and submitted with receipts for pastoral moving expenses.

Resource List - commonly used helpful websites.

501C3 Group Ruling Request - You can obtain a copy of the IRS Group Ruling Letter verifying the 501(C)3 status of your church.

Tips on Working Remotely - When employees need to work remotely, from home, or other out-of-the-office work arrangements, here are some tips and best practices.

Interface with Conference Treasurer's Office

Year End Statistics - Each church must submit Statistical Tables I, II and III to update General Church records, and, among other things, provide the information needed to calculate each church's Shared Ministry Apportionment. 

You can enter your statistical information at stats.gcfa.org/

Instructions and detailed information about these tables can be found here.

Conference Budget - |2019| |2020| |2021| |2022| At each Annual Conference session, representatives from each local church meet together to accomplish the business of the conference.  One of the duties of the members is to approve the Conference Budget for the next year, affirming that their church will support this decision by paying their share - or their apportionment.  The 2022 document is a copy of the budget approved at the 2021 annual conference on which your 2022 apportionments are based.  The descriptions are sometimes helpful for church members wanting to understand where their dollars are going.

Apportionment Calculation - Conference Shared Ministry Apportionments (the apportioning to each church of their fair share of the budget approved by members of Annual Conference) are calculated based on Conference Rules 5.140 - 5.145.  This document explains the calculation process.

Church Remittance of Conference Apportionment and Giving payments toward their Conference Shared Ministry Apportionment, Conference Askings, and Special Offerings for Conference or General Church Benevolent Giving.  

Church Remittance of Conference Benefit payments toward their Health Insurance Premiums, Pension Plans, and Flexible Benefit Plans for Conference Board of Pensions.  

2021 Conference Fund Listing - Summary of Conference Fund Numbers and various GBGM Project Numbers to use when completing the Monthly Remittance Form (see above). 2020 Conference Fund Listing 

Payroll Information

New Clergy Payroll Calculators Oregon | and | Idaho |

Clergy Payroll Guide - |2022| |2023| Processing payroll for Clergy is a little different than processing lay employee payroll.  This document contains guidelines for paying clergy.

Lay Employee Payroll Guide |2022| |2023|This document contains guidelines for paying lay employees.

New Paid Leave Oregon - Starting January 1, 2023 there is a new Oregon Paid Family and Medical Leave payroll tax for clergy and lay.  The tax is on all wages for clergy including housing allowance and parsonage FRV (lodging) less health premiums, FSA and/or HSA payroll contributions. Clergy and lay staff can apply for the paid leave benefit starting September 3, 2023.  Information about the tax and benefit is at https://paidleave.oregon.gov/Pages/default.aspx 

Paychex Payroll and Tax Compliance Solutions- click here to learn more about this payroll provider familiar with the unique needs of church payroll. UMC Organizations receive a 35% discount through Wespath. 

New hire Reporting - Churches must notify the state whenever there is a clergy appointment change or a new lay employee is hired.  Forms and instructions are available at the following state websites:

Idaho:https://www2.labor.idaho.gov/newhire/  Oregon:https://employerportal.oregonchildsupport.gov/index.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2f

W2 Information

Tax Letter - |2021| |2022| Each year the conference provides information and examples for completing and filing the W-2 for both clergy and lay employees. 

Download the IRS instructions for the W-2

Download a document from Wespath Benefits and Investments with guidance on how to treat withholdings and contributions to health reimbursement accounts on the W-2. 

Clergy Moving Expenses: Reporting on W-2  If you received a new pastor in the calendar year, you must include all payments and/or reimbursements made by the church to or on behalf of the pastor when calculating Taxable Income. You can find more information on Wespath’s website: www.wespath.org/movingexpenses/   

Payroll Tax Information

Wespath Tax Packet - Wespath tax resources.

CFA Tax Packet - UMC General Council on Finance and Administration tax resources and sample policies.

Federal 941 Filing - Because clergy serving as pastors of local churches are exempt from income tax withholding and are treated as self-employed for Social Security and Medicare tax purposes, the IRS has ruled that local churches with no lay employees are not required to file IRS Form 941 unless their clergyperson has requested voluntary income tax withholding. A letter from the IRS confirming this ruling is available below.

IRS Form 941 -  Minister Exemption Letter

Other Resources

Employee or Independent Contractor?  Federal and State regulations determine whether someone performing work for the church is an employee - requiring tax withholding and reporting - or an independent contractor - requiring a 1099 form.  This document offers an explanation of the differences.  For specific instances, you can contact the state bureau of labor for confirmation.

Accountable Reimbursement Policy - Reimbursing expenses for clergy and lay employees must be done in accordance with a written Accountable Reimbursement Policy, or the reimbursements could be considered taxable income.  This guide from GCFA answers questions about reimbursement and includes a sample policy.

Housing Allowance - This guide from GCFA answers questions about the Housing Allowance for Clergy

Transportation - This guide from GCFA and the IRS gives information regarding the particular regulations related to reimbursing transportation expenses.

Annual Audit and Fund Balance Report

Each church is required to perform an audit of its financial records each year. The audit does not have to be performed by a CPA and there are detailed guidelines available from GCFA and our conference (see links below). The Fund Balance Report and Audit are to be submitted to your district office by April 30 of each year.

Some churches have found that "swapping" with another church is a good way to find someone to complete the audit who is not in a financial role at the local church. This is also a way to share best practices and hints with our neighboring churches.

GCFA Local Church Audit Guide and FAQ (includes step-by-step instructions and check-off sheet for performing the audit), Instructions for the Fund Balance Report (how to complete the Fund Balance Report), Fund Balance Report.

Building Use  

Leasing Your Facility - Information from GCFA to review when considering leasing your facility to outside groups.

Cell Tower - Information from GCFA related to Cell phone companies using church steeples as cell towers or siting towers on church property.