Each year, District churches are required to provide to the Conference statistics pertaining the the prior year’s membership, operating expenses, etc. The numbers are entered into “Tables” found on the EZRA data management website. The statistics tell a story about the vitality of each congregation and help the Conference determine apportionment giving for the next year.
Here are some frequently asked questions about completing Tables I, II and III:
Q: Where can I get a copy of the tables?
A: Digital copies of the tables can be printed from EZRA Stats. (The prior year values will be generated for reference.)
Q: Where do I include information for a church-run preschool?
A: Line 29
Q: Should the number in Line 29 be the number of families or the number of children?
A: The number of children
Q: Where do I include information for a corporate-run preschool?
A: Don’t include corporate-run preschool information on the Tables since the church has no input or control over how many Christian-based lessons are part of the curriculum.
Q: In Line 30, should I include the total number of people served by a program, even if the same small number of people are served repeatedly throughout the year? (Example: A church runs a food program and serves 1,300 meals throughout the year to the same 25 people each week.)
A: You should include the number of individual persons served. In the example above, the answer would be 25.
Q: Is Line 70 asking for gross income or net income?
A: Include only the portion received as cash salary (plus any special agreed upon deduction such as for an IRS 403(b) plan) over and above the Conference-sponsored pension plan.
Q: If salary is diverted to a housing allowance, is the actual salary (based on the Salary & Benefits form) posted here? Or the adjusted salary?
A: Do not use the information from the Salary & Benefits form, if it is different than what is actually paid/designated on the pastor’s paycheck. Using the payroll records is more accurate than the Salary & Benefits form.
Q: If a parsonage is provided, is the housing amount listed in Line 70?
A: Only the salary portion the pastor has designated, in advance and approved by church council, is listed here. It is the same as a housing allowance for a non-parsonage pastor. Pastors living in the parsonage can still designate a portion of their cash salary as housing, then when they file their taxes it will their responsibility to verify they spent that amount with their tax preparer. The church is not responsible to confirm the amount spent by the pastor for household items.
There is more info on the GCFA website. Here is a link to the Housing Q & A : http://s3.amazonaws.com/Website_GCFA/services/legal/HousingAllowanceQAs.pdf
Q: Line 31 asks for the market value of church-owned land, buildings and equipment. Should churches keep reporting the same number here year after year? In most cases, church property has not been appraised in several years. Also, how often should churches be re-appraised? Is there a Conference policy on this?
A: There is no Conference policy requiring churches to conduct appraisals. This can be costly. Lizette at HUB International — (808) 645-6100 — can help with the asset values covered by the property insurance. Also, the annual tax bill will give an amount for the value of the land and structures.
Q: Line 32 asks for the market value of all other church-owned assets. Does this include church-owned property held as investments (i.e., houses that are not parsonages)? Where should church-owned stock/securities be reported? Conference UM Foundation monies?
“Enter the estimated market value of all other real estate and personal property such as cash, stocks, bonds, trusts, securities, investments belonging to the church, including money raised or donated and held for future building programs or any other special purposes, and all property and other investments not included elsewhere.”
Q: Where should I report contracted custodial services (those receiving 1099 forms)?
A: Line 57b
“Normal Maintenance: light bulbs, contracted custodial/gardening/cleaning services & supplies, minor plumbing repairs, etc. Major repairs/improvements are reported on line 59.a.”
Q: Where should I report pre-school utilities? (If they don’t pay utilities, just rent.)
A: Line 57d – The Conference suggests using part of the rent towards utilities to keep the church expense down.
Q: How should churches report when they borrow money from themselves to pay for operating expenses? Should the number reported in Line 32 be adjusted because a church has used some of its own money?
A. If the church has used the borrowed money, it now longer as it, so it should be deducted from Line 32 and added to Line 34. Caution: If these funds were used for 59a. or 59b., that amount should not be reported as an expense.
Q: Where should I report money raised to give as donations to ministries (such as Guatemala Project, New Entra Casa, etc.)? In other words, how do I report money given by a donor for a stipulated purpose?
A: The expense would be entered on Table 2, Line 43 or 44 and the income would be shown on Table 3, Line 63d.