IRS offers helpful hints for churches

Church business administrators should note that church donors should be reminded through church bulletins and other communications to not file federal income tax returns until a contributions receipt is received from their churches.

According to the December issue of the publication Church Treasurer Alert!, donors cannot deduct more than $250 of church giving if they file a tax return prior to receiving a receipt of yearly gifts from the church.

Also, church administrators should also note that contributions deposited in the church offering in 2004 cannot be deducted on 2003 tax returns even if the check is backdated to 2003.

The exception is checks that are mailed and postmarked in 2003 but not received until 2004.

In 2004, the IRS allowable mileage rate is 37.5 cents per mile for all business trips, up from 36 cents last year. This figure is useful for businesses and ministry organizations in computing mileage expense allowances.

If reimbursement is more than the IRS figure of 37.5 cents, the excess is considered taxable income and must be reported as such, Church Treasurer Alert! reports.

If a church reimburses at a rate less than the IRS allowable rate, the difference represents an unreimbursed expense that may be claimed as a business expense deduction by the employee if certain conditions are met.

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