Note: Since each church and pastor is unique in resources, history of budgeting and
reporting church expenses, they need the freedom to adopt a policy that fits their
unique ministry and needs. However, certain guidelines are needed to insure the
policy meets essential and legal requirements. The sample policy below allows a
church to meet these requirements.
Churches need to make decisions about the following:
1) A church may decide the frequency of turning in receipts. A church may
require expense reports be turned in every week, or every two weeks, monthly,
but not over 60 days as required by the IRS.
2) A church may decide at what certain value a receipt is required to
substantiate a purchase. For example, the General Council on Finance and
Administration requires receipts for all expenses over $25. On the other
hand, the IRS requires receipts for any expense over $75, but then again, a
church may require a receipt for every purchase.
3) The church should decide on the length time that the staff person has to return
excess reimbursements when funds were given to the employee in advance.
The IRS suggests that not more than 120 days is a reasonable amount of time
for an employee to return any excess funds which have been advanced to
them. A church can set a shorter period of time it chooses.
This following page contains a sample of an accountable reimbursement policy.
The specifics of each policy should be reviewed by each church and minister
considering their specific concerns. If legal or tax advice is required, the services
of a competent professional advisor should be sought.