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neckerchief2tight

BSA finance rules????

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Does anyone know of a link or ? regarding Troop finances and how they should be conducted? I'm trying to determine if we should overhaul our finacial structure and base that on any existing BSA guidelines. Would this be at the National or Council level? Thanks!

 

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I am not aware of any formal guidance on financial matters other than fund raising. There is a recent thread on this subject. See the thread, "I am new and wondering..."

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To Eisley....

 

Sir,

The reason I'm asking for advice here is due to a situation that is coming up for our next Committee meeting. The issue is:

Should adult leaders be compensated out of troop funds for attending summer camps, high adventure, etc? We have become flush with some $ due to good fundraising efforts but I'm concerned that the BSA charter states that members should not receive compensation for belonging to the group. Am I off base here?

HELP!

 

 

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Just a personal opinion here, but my thought is no. The leadership positions in scouting I always thought were voluntary.

 

The extra money gained in your recent fund raisers should be used exclusively for improving the boys' experience, be that, buying nice tents, upgrading an overnighter at a local campground to a nicer campground farther away, or just add some of it back into the boys' scouting account. Let them pay part of their summer camp fees, buy things at the camp store, replace a worn out uniform shirt, etc. I'm sure if you talked to the boys and their parents, they'd be pretty upset knowing that they worked their butts off selling popcorn or whatever & the money they raised would be going in someone's pocket.

 

Again though, just my opinion. If someone has thoughts on why some of the money should go to the volunteers, I'm all ears.

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By compensated, do you mean the troop pays the adults' train fare, air fare or camp fees, or do you mean compensation in the form of a "salary" or per diem or something? I could see the troop possibly covering cost of airfare or camp fees, but that would be it. As others have pointed out, the adults are volunteers. If compensated for their time, these wages would be subject to income tax, social security taxes, etc. The IRS has very strong feelings on that subject.

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KL Wisconsin has made the right distinction. If you are talking about some kind of honorarium or fee for participating, then the answer is no. If you are talking about reimbursement for legitimate expenses, then there is no problem with this in general, although the committee needs to think about what it will reimburse.

 

For example, uniforms and auto mileage to and from meetings and events are properly, in my opinion, borne by the individual.

 

Our unit covers all fees for lcoal training. Expenses such as postage and reproduction should be reimbursed.

 

Expenses for outings, including summer camp, are another matter. In my opinion, adults who commit week to go to summer camp should not pay for the privilege. This should be taken out of general troop funds or spread across the boys going to camp. On those major outings that I personally have led, I spread the costs for the adults over the boys, including my own son, who went on the outing. One outing expense that is not covered under my personal policy is meals consumed coming and going.

 

Our unit does not cover the costs of adults going to Philmont.

 

So you have a lot of options.

 

Another thing you should share with your committee is that unreimbursed expenses, including uniform costs, are tax deductible as a charitable deduction. Talk to your tax advisor, but I think that people who do not itemize their deductions can deduct charitable contributions. I always keep receipts for publications I buy, maps, uniform parts, and anything else for which I am not reimbursed. Needless to say, if the unit reimburses an expense, it goes against the scout law, and the internal revenue code, to deduct things for which you are reimbursed.

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Our troop went to Pholmont this year but the trip needed 2 adult leaders. The troop asked a past scoutmaster and his( now adult ) eagle scout son to lead the scouts. The troop decided to pay the train ticket and the camp fees for both, even though they did not expect any money.

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The Council summer camp our troop attends allows for the first two, required, leaders for any troop to attend free of charge. Beyond that, they have a ratio, which age has not allowed me to remember, but basically it attends to the number of leaders to number of boys. Thus, a troop with 15 boys attending camp would be allowed two adult leaders free. A troop with 50 boys attending would be allowed a higher number of leaders free.

 

That being said, our troop has always used the policy that adult leaders attending above and beyond the number allowed for free, do so at their own expense entirely. I believe those expenses are, of course, tax deductible to a certain extent, see your next 1040 to be sure. The folks in our troop see these expenses, and the personal time given, as a charitable donation to the troop and Scouting. We have had cases when for different reasons, either Scouts desiring to attend, or leaders or parents necessary for the trip could not afford to go. Most times this has been hardship cases. In those cases, the troop bears the cost, gladly. But the troop does not offer reimbursment for any trip expense except, and this is the only exception, cost of gas if ferrying Scouts to and from an event or camp.

 

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My troop takes this approach. Each outing requires the attendance of at least two adults. The fee for two adults is added together, divided by the number of adults attending, and subtracted from each adult's fee. So, yes, we make it a little more affordable for the adults to attend as volunteers. Our logic is this: The adults are volunteering their time and energy. We want to encourage their participation by reducing some of the financial concern.

 

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Right on with your logic Rooster.

When I was a scout we had a family with four boys active in the troop. The Father was as active as he could financially be but it was next to impossible for him to join his boys at camp without assistance on an enlisted sailors pay.

 

We do as much as we can to cover summer camp fees for our adults.

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While the point has been made it bears repeating...

Anytime an opportunity for training (both adult and youth)arises it should certainly be encouraged and taken advantage of. Covering a portion of the costs of Wood Badge or Council-level JLT might be enough to add another to the fold, and can't help but improve your Troop.

 

 

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neckerchief2tight,

 

As you can see from the above, a great many, if not most, scout units do reimburse at least partially for expenses borne by volunteers. Any policy you might adopt in your committee depends on your objectives and your means. Reimbursing expenses, particularly for outings and summer camps, encourages adult participation and support, which is usually in short supply. I do suggest that reimbursement policies be committed to writing, and an estimate of overall budgetary impact be considered in adopting any particular policy. It is also important that reasonable financial controls be in place, so that people like the scoutmaster are not simply reimbursing themselves without anybody else knowing about it. That is not the kind of situation you want to create.

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It is my feeling that the Scoutmaster should submit ALL expenses incurred in operating the troop. This would include propane cylinders, campground fees, gasoline to haul the boys to events, lashing ropes, water filter cartridges, topo maps, merit badge books, trainings, patches, and BSA publications. When the money in the bank account runs out, it's time to do fundraising. The adult leaders give their "one hour a week" and should not also have to pay Scout related costs out of their own pocket.

 

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Correction/clarification

 

You have to itemize deductions on your tax return in order to deduct charitable contributions. The idea of allowing "non-itemizers" to deduct at least some charitable contributions is merely a proposal, yet to be written into the tax code.

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