Question About Funding and Accounting For Independent Missionaries

by Jon
(Northern Illinois, USA)

My wife and I have started a small ministry and we know missionaries all over the world.

On occasion I get the question "can we run our 'support' through your ministry so that our donors can get a tax deduction?"

In some cases, we would absolutely love to do that for them, but I am unclear how to go about it.

If that person is a part of an organization, we would just send the money to the organization, but that defeats the purpose.

We are more talking about people who are "independent" missionaries.

How do we document the relationship between the ministry and the missionary?

I am worried that the IRS might just say "hey, you can't just send people money, that is inurement."

Any more thoughts on all of this?

Comments for Question About Funding and Accounting For Independent Missionaries

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Looking for more...
by: Jon

Greetings to the two "anonymous" individuals who responded.

Thanks for your input.

Although I am looking for more.

I know it can be done, the question is how? There are two ways that I know of for certain. One is to form a "religious order." Money can be designated as support for members of a religious order. I know because I used to be part of one and I've read the wording in the internal revenue code.

Another is to hire the person as an employee and have a compensation agreement.

But those are both very involved. I was hoping that someone knew an easier way of doing it.

I would imagine that the mentioned organizations who "do that" might know what I am looking for.

Accounting For Independent Missionaries
by: Anonymous MN

There are agency that provide such a service to Missionaries such. Two that I am aware of are Allergo and Central Missionary Clearinghouse.

by: Anonymous

I'd advise against it, as the IRS is very specific that donations to individuals are not tax deductible...
If you have a policy that states you have complete control over all donations but will consider needs brought to your attention... that might cover you...
but... make sure you have a "cap" on the amounts you give to individuals and use the check list the IRS has for who you give to and why...
mainly the IRS doesn't want you to discriminate...

Much easier to just say "no" and let the donors give direct...


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