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buffalo2

Is anybody else seeing thi$ ?

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I recently submitted a ~$50 receipt for Camp equipment to our Council for reimbursement in the normal fashion. When I received that check it was for a slightly different amount; I was not reimbursed for the State sales tax, only the material cost. A question to the Council developed that this small difference was considered as my personal donation to Scouting (without a Thank You) Imagine my surprise...

 

I was not offered tax ID information to use nor directed to vendors that carry our Council accounts. There has been no official release or clarification on the matter; we volunteers are expected to absorb this as one more contribution.

 

Is this a BSA National policy or has my Council suddenly gotten creative?

 

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I'm confused. When, as a volunteer, I get sent on a buying run, either Ranger or the Reservation Director gives me the appropriate credit card or store card, and it goes directly on the Council account.

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Creative, very creative. And probably wrong headed.

Spouse accountant sez, in our state, at least, sales tax exception (note the term) must be claimed at the point of sale, not after the fact at the end of the year.

If Council wished to claim it's non-profit tax exception status, you should have been given a copy of the appropriate certificate to show at the point of sale. Accountant spouse sez (opinion!) you are within your rights to NOT pay a contribution not of your choice. Mebbe a call to the Council Scout Executive is in order.

In our Council, I have had reimbursments put off for MONTHS on occasion, due to changes in staff, end of fiscal year troubles, or paperwork snafus, but never as an "assumed" contribution. You might tell them that if it was a contribution to Scouting's worthy cause, there would have been no claim for reimbursement, at which point you would have asked for an acknowledgement for your tax return FOR THE FULL AMOUNT.

 

Have you cashed the check yet?

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Since the amount probably isn't worth fighting over I would drop it sort of. Next time they need you to purchase something say "Sorry, the last time the council didn't reimburse me for the full amount. You will have to send someone else". Oh yeah, and deduct the amount from your FOS contribution.

 

Hal

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There is a difference between exemption from income taxes and exemption from sales taxes. I suppose it is possible that in some states a non profit such as a BSA council can be exempt from sales tax, but then the problems of timing and documentation of the claim arise. If the basis for refusuing reimbursement of the sales tax is some sort of tax emption for the council, then the council needs to sort this out ahead of time before volunteers are asked to purchase anything, and provide those volunteers with the necessary documentation to claim any such exemption at the time of purchase.

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I would do two things.

 

One: Never, ever buy equipment or materials that would need reimbursement from Council, ever again - no matter what the purpose.

 

Two: When FOS comes around, fill out the form with the amount of the sales tax that the Council withheld from your reimbursement, then mark it Paid In Full In Advance, and mail it directly to the Scout Executive with the back-up of your reimbursement request, receipt and copy of the check you received. When the Scout Executive calls you to discuss your FOS contribution, (and I'll bet he will), explain to him in no uncertain terms that what the Council did was unethical, immoral, un-Scoutlike, and quite possibly illegal, and that that was your very last contribution of cash or in-kind materials and that the remainder of the money you would have sent to FOS is heading to your unit, or if you aren't affiliated with a unit, the unit of your choice, then stick to your guns unless you get a very effusive apology and promise that it will never happen again to you or any other volunteer.

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In your conversation with CSE, might point out the extra expense accrued by the action of the reimbursing staff:

* time spent with unhappy volunteer.

* Loss of FoS or other contribution.

* Extra postage, paper, check printing, bookkeeping, etc. when CSE orders apology letter and new check and policy standard written and adopted and ordered.

* Has this happened before? How many other unspoken unhappy unsatisfied Scouters are there out there?

* Was the missing tax payment really absorbed by the Council coffers? I remember a movie (Richard Pryor?) about a creative accountant who ammasses a fair amount by skimming off the fractions of a penny in multiple insurance payments where the payment is calculated as, frinstance, $432.678. He skimmed off the $.008.

* General frustration, in that front line Scouter has not been supported by the Council office in the way he expected and had been supported in the past.

 

Please follow it thru, for all of us.

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While the amount is insignificant, it's wrong. I buy stuff all the time for my church and I am always reimbursed the full amount I spend. I would never ever never buy anything for this council again!

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The amount is not "insignificant", niether is the "principle" involved. Here in the Old Line State, the sales tax is 6%, that's $3.00 on a $50. purchase. Three burgers at the King. Pursue it.

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All of the above!

Definitely say something, I'd be bouncing off the top of the SE's desk at some point if the discussion headed in the wrong direction. Scout Law anyone?, sheesh.

 

When I CHOOSE to make a contribution that's fine, when they take it from me, that's no longer a contribution and either illegal OR unethical OR both.

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I'm sure that the State Attorney General would be very interested in what they are doing.

 

I'll bet the Council is getting its sales tax back. So they are double dipping on both sides.

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Hmmmm....

 

What do you think the chance is that they just grabbed the wrong line off the receipt and in error wrote the check for the wrong amount. When you asked about it, they didn't want to go to the trouble of cutting you another check, so you got a smart aleck answer instead.

 

Give a choice between incompetence and conspiracy, far, far more things can be explained by incompetence.

 

But either way, it ain't right and I would persue it.

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$3 isn't the point. It's the way it was handled! Very poorly!

 

If they grabbed the wrong line off the receipt, it was on purpose!

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"When I CHOOSE to make a contribution that's fine, when they take it from me, that's no longer a contribution and either illegal OR unethical OR both."

 

Hmmm...sounds like "wealth redistribution" to me...

 

Probably what happened is that they are covering their butts...there is probably a COuncil policy that they do NOT pay sales tax. But the person who sent you on the errand neglected to tell you that. So, rather than get in trouble with the SE, they are sticking it to you.

 

I agree with the others...if and when you send in your FOS check, deduct that amount...and include a letter explaining why.

 

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I get something like this every week, farm repairs are not subject to sales tax here, it's handled at the point of sale, tryin to get that tax money back after you paid it is much harder. Council should have given you the tax excempt paperwork BEFORE you got the equipment.

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