Last month in part one of this article, I talked about the fast pace of change and how demanding it can be to stay up-to-date in everything a ministry role requires. I provided a list of general resources and websites that I recommend you review frequently. This month, I am going to focus on websites I visit to stay current on accounting and tax issues within the ministry context. While this isn’t an all-inclusive list, reviewing these websites regularly will help you stay abreast of ever-changing accounting and tax issues and how they affect your church.
Internal Revenue Service
The IRS devotes a section of its website to tax information for nonprofits, and it has great basic resources for churches. While churches aren’t required to file IRS Form 990, it is a best practice to review the form and its instructions, look at the information the form requires, and consider disclosing the same in the spirit of transparency.
It is also important to keep abreast of how to stay tax-exempt. This website will help you review where you may be jeopardizing your tax-exempt status. It also provides links to IRS publications specific to charitable contributions. Although most churches don’t often receive donated property and IRA contributions, the site also explains the requirements for these. A tab for churches includes information on unrelated business income (UBI) and limits on IRS audits.
American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) Not-for-Profit E-Alerts
Many people are overwhelmed by the AICPA website because it covers the entire spectrum of accounting literature. However, you don’t need to be a CPA to benefit from using it. While some of the areas and resources are available for a fee, there is useful free information that would benefit your church.