Do we need to keep the tithing envelopes?

by Kathy Butler
(Corning, AR)

We are a small church and have small tithing envelopes that our congregation can choose to use to put their tithes in.


I was told by the retiring secretary that we needed to keep all the envelopes, she said she wasn't sure why, however. Not all of the people who give tithes put it in the tithe envelopes.

Some just put their checks in the offering plate. Some do give cash tithes and they put theirs in the tithe envelopes to be recorded under their name.

I record any loose check or those in the envelopes as giving on the person's giving records. I also record the cash in the tithe envelope.

My question is for IRS purposes or to keep everything legal and above board, am I supposed to keep those tithe envelopes, since not everyone uses one?

Vickey's reply

Contribution envelopes are for the convenience of your church members. There is no law that I know of that states everyone must use a tithe envelope to give their contributions.

As far as how long to keep them...you want to keep them long enough to ensure that if there was a dispute on the exact amount donated you would have the envelopes to look back on.

According to Richard Hammar,an attorney, CPA: You should keep envelopes for at least 6 months after you issue your donors periodic (i.e., quarterly, semi-annual, or annual) summary of contributions, and include in this summary a statement similar to the following: "Any documentation, including offering envelopes, that the church relied upon in preparing this summary will be disposed of within six months. Therefore, please review this summary carefully, and inform the church treasurer of any apparent discrepancies within six months of the date of this summary."

Comments for Do we need to keep the tithing envelopes?

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Feb 14, 2012
Tithe Envelopes
by: Anonymous

My pastor had gone to a Money Management for churches seminar, and was told there that all contributions (tithes, offerings) are to be put into tithing envelopes for IRS purposes. And also was told that they are to keep the envelopes (although I can't remember now for how long).

I'm reading per your site that it isn't necessary. I'm confused now. :-(

Jan 16, 2014
What to do with tithing envelopes
by: Anonymous

I think that when the end of the year giving statement is given to each member

(after all contributions are recorded of course)

along with that statement the member should be given their tithes envelopes as well.

Apr 15, 2014
DestroyingTithing Envelopes
by: Anonymous

Is it ever ok to destroy tithing and offering envelopes because not everyone records the exact amount accurately? If the amont in the envelope is recorded, can you destroy the envelope that day?What does the IRS require?

Jul 28, 2014
Keeping tithe envelopes
by: JoFeene

I attend a Church Mgmt seminar and also when researching Record Retention Guides various income (AR/AP) items are to be kept for 7 years (Churches aren't mentioned but tithe envelopes fall in that category). If you are using an accounting software, financial reports will be retain. Review the guide and judge for yourself.

https://www.cpa.net/resources/retengde.pdf

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