Many local church financial and legal resources are available on the General Council on Finance and Administration website. Click these links to see some specific tools and resources.
The United Methodist Book of Discipline assigns the responsibility for the annual audit of financial records to the committee on finance. The committee “shall make provisions for an annual audit of the financial statements of the local church and all its organizations and accounts. The committee shall make a full and complete report to the annual charge conference” (258.4d). A local church audit guide was created to assist local churches with this task. View audit guide / FAQs about local church audit
The Minnesota Conference provides the optional, free service of receiving stock gifts in the conference’s account for churches that do not have their own brokerage account. ADVANCE NOTICE MUST BE GIVEN EACH TIME A STOCK GIFT IS RECEIVED. If stocks are donated and appear in the conference account without this notice, the transaction cannot be completed because the donor and intended recipient aren’t known. (Data privacy policies of banks and brokerages prohibit them from giving us this information, so we must receive it from the donor of the stock gift.)
Upon receipt of stock, the conference will sell the stock immediately and issue a check to the local church as soon as the proceeds from the sale are received. Mutual funds and other types of securities may not be transferred through the conference stock sale account.
It is vital that donors receive expert advice from their own tax or legal advisor before making the gift of stock. Donors with stock they wish to gift to a church or other charity should check carefully to make sure they get the best tax benefit from the gift. If the stock has appreciated, donors are generally better off transferring the stock shares to the recipient organization without cashing them. Donors then get the tax benefit of a charitable contribution at the stock’s current value without paying capital gains tax. If the stock has declined in value, donors are generally better off selling the shares and giving a cash gift. The donor will have the tax benefit of the loss on the shares in addition to the charitable contribution deduction.
Note: The information provided above is intended as general information only. Donors should consult with their own tax or legal advisor. The Minnesota Conference will not be responsible for any losses that occur on stock transactions.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church