Issue 62 of Administration Matters

Most (but not all) congregations can avoid new nonprofit employee parking tax

A little-noticed provision of the 2017 tax reform created potential tax liability for nonprofits – including churches – that provide certain transportation fringe benefits, including parking and paid public transportation. This article provides a summary of the changes and some suggestions for minimizing or eliminating the liability. >More

Legal Checklist for Congregations Webinar

Congregations can unwittingly create legal issues and liabilities through inattention to basic requirements and details related to corporate status, taxes, property, insurance and abuse prevention. Many of these issues can be prevented by using an ELCA-prepared checklist of key items for congregations to address. Join us for a free webinar where the ELCA legal staff will discuss the checklist and best legal practices for congregations. This webinar will be of particular interest to rostered ministers and lay congregational leaders and staff, including congregation council members and officers, and church administrators. Webinar date: Feb. 21 at noon CST. Register here. Registration deadline is Feb. 15.

Tax reporting can be complicated

Portico offers the set of annually updated Richard R. Hammar tax guides at no cost to pastors and congregations participating in the ELCA benefit program. Federal Reporting Requirements for Churches helps congregations understand federal reporting requirements. The Clergy Tax Return Preparation Guide gives special attention to tax-related topics relevant to ministers. Updated versions coming soon. To access, log into your Portico member or EmployerLink account.

2019 IRS mileage allowance

The Internal Revenue Service issued the 2019 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business and charitable, medical or moving purposes. Beginning Jan. 1, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) is:
• 58 cents per mile driven for business use, up 3.5 cents from the 2018 rate.
• 20 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, up 2 cents from the 2018 rate.
• 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.
The business mileage rate increased 3.5 cents for business travel driven and 2 cents for medical and certain moving expense from the 2018 rates. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged. For more information, visit the IRS website.

Low temperatures increase the risk of damage to frozen sprinkler systems and plumbing pipes

Contrary to what one might think, losses due to frozen pipes occur more frequently in climates that are not normally associated with cold weather, especially when unexpected cold fronts sweep through a region. >More

Slips and falls

Protect your congregation from the second-leading cause of preventable injuries by inspecting your facilities and identifying key areas that may contain trip, slip and fall hazards. Inclement or changing weather conditions can increase the chance of an accident. >More

2018 ELCA annual report cover

The ELCA covers for annual congregational reports in 2018 are now available to order. You can also download them for free. >More