Conference Treasurer's Notes: May 2022


Moving Clergy Payroll/IRS Quarterly Payroll Reports/Form 941

As we head into the moving season for our clergy that are receiving a new appointment, many ask about the payroll timeline. First payroll is not to be paid in advance by Annual Conference action. 

With moving day being June 28, 2022, it is appropriate to pay the pastor the final June check before they leave. This could be done on the last Sunday they will be leading your worship. 

Then with your new pastor, you will pay them in July. Pay on the 15 and last day of the month if you pay twice a month. If your pay period is other than twice monthly, talk with the Pastor Parish Chair or the Finance Committee chair to determine your pay period and remember to pay at the end of the period, not the beginning of the pay period. 

As a reminder all appointed clergy and lay employees must receive a W-2 form at year end (NOT a 1099), so you must file 941 forms unless the IRS has given you permission in writing to file the IRS annual payroll form 944, which is due in January following the year you are reporting the compensation.  If you have not gotten a letter from the IRS granting you permission to file the IRS form 944, you must file form 941. 

We must withhold FICA/MC and taxes if applicable on lay employees which includes non-ordained, licensed, or commissioned pastors.  For ordained, licensed, commissioned clergy, you do NOT withhold FICA/MC.  If the clergy requests you withhold federal or state taxes that is permissible.

Remember there is nothing you need to do on the 1099 forms by the quarter. 

The Children’s Promise Act benefits the Methodist Children’s Home

We have an opportunity to help our own Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) by giving a contribution up to $1,000 AND receive a tax credit on your state tax form.  What this is doing is allowing you to participate in the ministry of the MCH by giving them the tax credit you can receive. 

You simply send the check to the MCH, when you receive your charitable gift receipt you file a form with the State of Mississippi, and you will be given a voucher for your 2022 tax return. The MCH will send that form to you.

This is a great opportunity for us, and I will be glad to answer your questions as would the Director of MCH. This is a limited program, so act now!  

Moving/Retiring Clergy Benefits

Pastors who are moving this year must file a new budget compensation report. Remember that this is your opportunity to change your salary reductions for pensions or to change health insurance coverage as moving is a qualifying event. You cannot change or begin your FSA, HSA, or Dependent Care FSA. The amount you elected is for the 2022 year and must move forward to your new church. 

If you want your new church to pay your health insurance premiums by draft so that you get a credit off your premiums, it must be set up. We can only draft for the named pastors who the local church gives us permission.

Local Church Audit

Your local church audit should be underway at this time. It is due to the district office by June 30, 2022. The administry website will give you direction for the type of report that is required as well as an audit program.  Let us know if you have any questions. 

2023 Local Church Budget

June and July is a great time to begin the budget process for 2023 for your local church.  This allows adequate time to do a bottom up approach to budgeting. The more people who are involved in the process allows for a better budget and for more buy in. 

The more contributors know about what ministry their generous contributions to the local church supports, the more they will give. Tell the story and let your church be the hands and feet of Jesus in the ministry you support.

Cyber Security

We are hearing of numerous computer breaches by bad actors in the cyber world. Be sure you protect the access to your computer and that you follow all good protocols. 

Depending on your size and the possible threats you may have, you may want to have cyber insurance coverage. Contact your property insurance carrier for more information.

Congregations Departing the Mississippi Conference

With the announcement of the postponed 2020 General Conference to 2024, a few churches have asked the question is it possible for a church to leave the Mississippi Conference of The United Methodist Church? There has also been questions if a conference as a whole may leave the denomination. The Judicial Council ruled this week that our current Discipline does not provide a provision for the conference to depart.

There are only two ways for local churches to depart the Mississippi Conference. The first is closure Paragraph 213/2549, the traditional way, in which a church is closed, and all real and personal property reverts to the annual conference trustees for disposition.

The other method is known as disaffiliation and was adopted in the 2019 called session of General Conference. This is available for certain reasons around human sexuality. This method sunsets December 31, 2023.  

There are certain costs and actions that must be taken. Every situation is different. Please do not listen to other’s experience as every church’s context is different. We have 14 churches that will be presented to the 2022 Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference to affirm their disaffiliation effective July 31, 2022. 

Some churches have recently expressed the desire to have an informational (exploration) meeting so that the local church can discern those actions. We are very happy to provide a very informative session for the whole congregation about this subject. A decision must be made for disaffiliation by the local church on or before February 1, 2023. It will be official at the end of the month that affirmation is given by the 2023 annual conference session. 

If you desire more information, please contact your superintendent for an exploration session for your whole local church congregation.

Annual Conference Per Diem

Questions have arisen about who pays per diem for the participants of annual conference this year. The local church is responsible to pay for its clergy serving the local church when the conference is in session. The church also pays for lay members as elected at charge conference. Both lay and clergy must attend conference to receive the payment. See the CFA report # 1 Item 3 for further clarification.

The conference provides per diem to retirees, surviving spouses, clergy on disability and elected equalizing members provided they do not come on behalf of a local church also.  

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