Community Meetings – Charities Act Review

The Charities Act 2005 is being reviewed and our feedback is important. The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) is running a series of 21 community meetings in March and April 2019 to explain the review and seek your feedback.

The DIA policy team is running the meetings, which is separate from the Charities Services team that regulates charities.  Having said that, Charities Services is part of the DIA and therefore I could view the review as “reviewing yourself”.

The meetings will involve discussions on a public discussion document which will be released in late February 2019. The discussion document will cover a range of issues within scope of the review.  As soon as this document becomes available, we will circulate it.

Although attending a community meeting gives the opportunity to ask questions in person, you don’t have to attend a meeting to make a submission. More information on how to make a submission will be included with the release of the discussion document in late February.

You can find more information on the community meetings, including dates, locations, and details how to register, on the DIA website  .

The link to the meeting locations and dates is THIS ONE.

Annual Return – Charities Services – 31 December 2018

For most of the Methodist Church of New Zealand, the financial year end is 30 June and therefore the Annual Return to Charities Services is due by 31 December.  The 31 December is coming up very quickly and therefore, if your entity (Parish, Synod, Charitable Trust, etc.) has NOT already filed its Annual Return and checked to make sure the Officers listed on the Charities Services website are correct PLEASE do so as quickly as possible.

You will need your annual accounts that comply with the  financial reporting standards that were mandatory three years ago.

In the past Charities Services have given time extensions but their stance on this is hardening and extensions of time are becoming more difficult to obtain.  The Annual Return takes about 20 minutes to 30 minutes to complete (assuming you have all the correct information) and can be done online.

 

If you require assistance, please let Peter van Hout at the Board of Administration know.

Charities Act Review

Some users will know that the Charities Act is currently in the process of being reviewed.

Earlier in the year there were meetings held in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch.

As a result of those meetings a questionnaire was developed. Some members of the Core Working Group are asking for your help.  They are asking you to complete the questionnaire, but also please share it with your networks, whether registered charities or not, by email, Facebook, or however.

If you are connected to more than one group or organisation, we’d welcome if you could fill it out multiple times, giving the information separately for each one. The more completed questionnaires we receive, the stronger will be the data that we can gather, for input to the review of the Charities laws.

Here is the link to the questionnaire: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CA2005

We realise the questionnaire is quite long but there are a lot of issues where we need data to feed into the review, and we really appreciate your time. We also appreciate that your connections and understanding with the Charities Act may be limited to changing details on the Charities Services website and completing the Annual return.

 

Meeting with IRD

On 31 October 2018, Peter van Hout from the Board of Administration (as a member of the AllChurches Bureau) has a meeting with the Inland Revenue Department.  If you have issues that you would like to have aired with the Inland Revenue Department that concerns the activities of the Church, please email Peter van Hout directly by 12 October.

Gmail – Google lets app developers access personal emails

This appeared in the Christchurch Press on Saturday 22 September 2018 and highlighted that extreme care needs to be taken when using Gmail for official Church business.  If you have any concerns, it is strongly suggested that you talk to the Connexional Office about creating a “@methodist.org.nz” email address for official Church business.  There is no cost for this service and takes 5 minutes to setup and get underway.

“Google is allowing hundreds of companies to scan people’s Gmail accounts, read their emails and even share their data with other firms, the company has confirmed.

In a letter to US senators Susan Molinari, Google’s vice president for public policy in the Americas admitted that it lets app developers access the inboxes of millions of users – even though Google itself stopped looking in 2017.

In some cases human employees have manually read thousands of emails in order to help train AI systems which perform the same task.

The disclosure has uncomfortable echoes of last year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which political consultants covertly harvested data from 87 million Facebook users through…” CLICK HERE for the full article.

Performance Reports (end of Year Financial Statements) – 30 June 2018

Just a reminder that all Methodist Church entities that report either directly or indirectly to the Conference of the Methodist Church need to supply the General Secretary with a final signed copy of their Performance Report (financial statements) for the 12 months ending 30 June 2018 by 12 October 2018. PLEASE put a reminder in your diary or let the person doing the work know of the deadline.

These Performance Reports need to comply with generally accepted accounting practice, which for most Church entities means that they comply with the Tier 3 or Tier 4 reporting standards as issued by the External Reporting Board.

The Annual Return for those Church entities whose financial year end is 30 June 2018 (as set out in the Law Book) needs to include the Performance Report.  This needs to be filed with Charities Services by 31 December 2018.

Also a reminder that you need to also look at  your constitution and the Independent Assurance Policy of the Church to see if you also require an audit or review. For Parishes and Synods, the general rule is that if your operating expenditure is under $500,000 then you do not need either a review or an audit.  If your operating expenditure is between $500,000 and $1,000,000 then you will need to have a independent review undertaken.  If your operating expenditure is over $1,000,000 then you will need an audit.  For some entities it is mandatory that an audit or review to be undertaken.  This work needs to be undertaken by a qualified person. A qualified person is defined within the Financial Reporting Act as a person who is professional qualified to undertake the work.

If an independent audit or review IS undertaken, then any management report/letter received from auditor  or reviewer will also need to be sent to the General Secretary.

The Independent Assurance Policy can be found HERE .

Related Party Transactions

From the 1 January 2019 the way report related party transactions will change so care will be required.  For Tier 3 and 4 reporting entities, the simple word “significant” will be removed from WHAT is required to be reported in the performance reports.  While this may seem a simple change the effects may be quite dramatic.  After the “annual audit season” is over, Peter van Hout will rewrite the related party document to reflect the changes but in the meantime, to understand what is required in the performance reports (financial statements) see this link…..Related Party Transactions

Goods and Services Monthly Returns

This is a reminder that Conference decided in 1986 that the Methodist Church of New Zealand be registered as one “person” (group registered) for the purposes of the Goods and Services Tax Act 1985.  One of the consequences of this decision is that ALL entities that are under the authority of Conference need to lodge monthly GST returns through the Methodist Church online GST system so that the Church is able to comply with the Act.

The Information Leaflet that relates to GST can be found on the Methodist Church website.  Click HERE to download it.

Monthly GST Returns need to be loaded into the online GST system by midnight on the 25th of each month.  For more information, please contact Peter van Hout in the Connexional Office of the Board of Administration.

End of Financial Year Preparation

It is nearly Happy New Year time for prepares of financial statements within the Church.

The Independent Assurance Policy (audit or review) for financial statements has not changed from last year and can be downloaded from HERE. It has already been sent out as part of the annual statistics package in May 2018.  In summary, if your operating payments are under $500,000 then the Church does not require an audit or review (but you can still have one done if you choose to. If your operating payments are between $500,000 and $1,000,000 then the financial statements need to be reviewed by a qualified person (normally a Chartered Accountant in Public Practice).  For operating expenditure greater than $1,000,000, then an audit is required to be undertaken by a qualified person (normally a Chartered Accountant in Public Practice).

If you do have an audit or review undertaken, then the auditor or reviewer is required by the assurance standards to also issue a “management letter” or “business issues” report.  This must also be submitted with your annual accounts to the General Secretary.

Please remember that the financial statements need to be prepared using the appropriate financial reporting standards issued by the External Reporting Board (Tier 1, 2 , 3 or 4).   If you need support in the preparation of these, then the Connexional Office is able to assistance.

Things to note are:

  • If you are using Xero, please make sure that all bank transactions are coded and that the bank accounts are fully reconciled.
  • If you have MTA and CB&L accounts, then please make sure that journal entries are undertaken to balance these accounts with the statements you have received from the Connexional Office.  These statements may not appear until the second or third week of July.
  • If you have any loans outstanding, once again undertake the necessary journal entries to balance these off with the appropriate interest paid and capital repayments journaled.
  • Were there any large repairs and maintenance items that should be capitalised as a fixed asset or did you purchase new furniture, computers, etc. that need to be on the fixed asset register?
  • If you have fixed assets, has depreciation been run and entered into the accounts.
  • Cast your eye over the entries going through the bank accounts to make sure they have been allocated to the correct accounting code.
  • Has GST been claimed on only those tax invoices that have GST on them and that tax invoices are in the files?
  • Have services that the Church has provided (hire of hall, etc.) been correctly charged.
  • Look at and start documenting your Outcomes and Outputs that your Parish has undertaken in the year.

 

Statistic Forms and Annual Financial Statements – 30 June 2018 – Timetable

The Connexional Office have sent out the annual bundle of statistic forms, guides and timetable for the collection of statistical and financial information for the year ending 30 June 2018.  Attached is the general information form which has the timetable associated with it.  If you have NOT received the email regarding this, please email the Connexional Office and ask for a set.

Two key dates are:

Completed online or paper based statistics Form M2 – Due date is Friday 10 August 2018

Financial Statements for the year in the correct format (Tier 2, 3 or 4) with the audit or review report attached, when required by Church Policy – Due date Friday 12 October 2018

Front page Methodist Parish Statistics Checklist 2018 (YELLOW)