how long should a church keep financial records

This will work hand-in-hand with your record retention policy regarding documentation. For Operational Records, the desired period of retention will depend on the statute of limitations for any legal action that might be related to the records in question. For churches and other organizations that minister to youth, this becomes more complicated because the statute of limitations applies differently to minors than it does to adults. This means that a state’s four-year limitation period may not begin to count down until the minor’s 18th birthday. In sexual misconduct cases, some state legislatures have passed special laws allowing allegations dating back 30 years or more regardless of the statute of limitations. For this reason, it’s important to involve an attorney in setting record retention periods for operational records.

What does the Bible say about keeping record?

Manage your records by protecting them from danger, retaining them as long as you need them, and disposing of information that is not essential (see Jacob 3:13; Alma 63:13).

You must be able to prove certain elements of expenses to deduct them. We digitize original records and microfilm for PC(USA) congregations accounting for churches at a subsidized rate. Given the technology available today, very few people hand-write minutes in a book with numbered pages.

What Are the Duties of a Church Administrator?

You will have to figure out what works for your Church, based on your local laws. A lot will also depend on if you are keeping physical or digital records, and how you will review and audit your statistics and records on a regular basis. Have someone in charge of implementing this, and make sure that all church staff members understand and follow the filing system guidelines. This record retention schedule will assist you with financial record storage requirements and also with minutes and administrative record retention. This is for the US and I’m checking on possible differences in Canada.

how long should a church keep financial records

These are broad terms that usually cover a handful of different financial documents. Financial records can feel overwhelming, but there are a few guidelines you can follow to make this task easier. A 2020 National Congregational study showed that there were about 380,000 churches in the U.S., across multiple religions and denominations, and small and large church platforms. For many of these churches, efficient and accurate record-keeping will be an important part of their viability going forward. We appreciate the opportunity to provide your church or other ministry with an insurance quote and will reply to your request as soon as possible. Bryan Halverson aims to provide quality content for nonprofits and churches.

Create A Policy For Record Management

Many church management systems can help you retain church contribution records and store information offsite in a secure environment. The safe retention and placement of the church’s vital records make the continuation of the congregation and its work much easier in case of a disaster. Some records would be impossible to replicate, extremely inconvenient to lose, and vastly time consuming for the staff to reduplicate. Therefore, it is important and prudent to identify vital records and see that they are properly stored and copied in case the originals are lost or destroyed. Many church records are now “born digital.” Board minutes are created on laptops; financial records are recorded in Excel spreadsheets or databases.

  • To learn more about One Write’s church offering envelopes, envelope books and contribution report forms, contact One Write or request a quote today.
  • You should also have record meetings to discuss the church’s financial records.
  • This relates to the laws of tax audits and the number of years back the IRS is allowed to look when determining an organization’s tax liability.
  • Churches need to investigate the need for microfilming certain vital and historical records.
  • Annual audit records and worksheets, insurance letters, individual giving records and accounts payable records are also important.
  • If you run a church, this is an important part of ensuring the church meets state and federal legal requirements.

The following is a partial lists of recommended records retention schedules. Every church should adopt and implement a records management and retention policy that reflect its unique circumstances. Many churches abide by the practice of keeping used contribution envelopes until the next giving statement has been distributed to members. Church leaders can determine the length of a statement period – quarterly, semiannually, or annually – and distribute a transparent statement of contributions to the community at that time. A reasonable threshold for holding onto used tithing envelopes is six months to two years.

Telling the Story of the CRC, One Record at a Time

You must retain some of these documents for a while before you dispose of them. Your church does not need to file annual tax information with the IRS; however, some churches may need to file other types of taxes like Form W-2. There are also instances where you need these records for the IRS.

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