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David CO

What does the CO own?

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Thanks. I just searched and read the three existing old threads on Scout accounts. Interesting.

 

Regardless of what the unit does with it, looks like I'll need to report it as CO income.

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If indeed the Unit is owned by the CO, then it follows that the CO "owns" the financial activity of the unit. If the Unit is using the EIN of the CO, then the CO should be aware of and get a summary of Unit activity as the CO's fiscal year ends. The CO should then report this activity (or not) on it's tax returns as appropriate on advice of its accountant. If the unit is using it's own EIN, then typically they do not have to file an IRS form 990 (see link below).

 

There are several ways a CO can be organized 501©(3), 501©(4), etc. and different COs are in different situations in this regard.

 

There's a doc at http://www.bsacac.org/PDFs/Financial_Policies_for_Units.pdf that goes into more detail on some of these unit finance questions. The web page at http://whiterockdistrict.org/content/fiscal-policies-and-procedures-boy-scout-units attributes this information to Russell C. McNamer, Tax and Legal Specialist for Boy Scouts of America.

 

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Avid SM writes - If the CO dissolves a unit, then that unit no longer exists - it's charter is dropped. All of the units things and money belong to that CO, no matter what.

 

I have always been told this.

 

In our latest council newsletter, I was surprised to read this...

 

"What happens to the unit funds should the unit dissolve - In the event of the dissolution of a unit, or the revocation or lapse of its charter, the unit committee shall apply unit funds to the payment of unit obligations and shall turn over the surplus, if any to the local council."

 

Thoughts on this?

 

Abel

 

 

 

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That passage has it's genesis in various forms of documents floating around the internet. The closest to the source (with an actual reference to the author) can be found at http://whiterockdistrict.org/content/fiscal-policies-and-procedures-boy-scout-units

 

IMHO, that passage is completely incorrect. A CO operates a unit using BSA materials per the charter agreement. The Council exists to help the CO be successful in running the unit. If a unit goes away, the CO legally owns its assets. Nowhere in the charter agreement (the only document a CO signs and agrees to besides adult apps and recharters) does it state that the Council is entitled to unit assets should a unit dissolve.

 

I'd be curious if anyone can find information or statements to the contrary...

 

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These are a few situations i know of.

 

#1 One unit folds. Just before folding, they sell ALL of their equipement: tents, lanterns, trailer, etc. to my unit dirt cheap. Some of the scouts transfer over, some don't. Don't know where all the money went, but those coming into the troop did have troop accounts.

 

#2 My unit's first CO wanted us gone as we no longer met their purpose according to the new IH. This was after we discussed the theft, vandalism, and damages the troop had encountered (a ransacked storage room, a brand new fiberglass storage shed used as a dart board that destroyed a bunch of tents, lanterns, and other gear). No money was given to the CO when the troop moved to a new CO, nor did they pay us for any damages. (an aside: When that IH was replaced a 4 later, a new IH came in, wanted a troop and pack and got it. New IH was very surprised to learn that a troop had been there for 20 years as no one told him about the troop).

 

#3 Unit's 2nd CO got a new IH with a very strong anti-BSA bias. (She called the cops on us for trespassing when we were holding an ECOH that was scheduled and was running late due to us cleaning up). Long story short, we moved to a 3rd CO keeping everything: unit number, money, equipment, etc. How we kept the money I do not know, but believe she didn't know how much was in the account and didn't go after it. Knowing the IH she would have kept it if she knew how much was in the account.

 

(another aside, that CO has now merged with the current CO)

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AlFansome, thanks for the link. I wonder if the BSA made some changes which they are just getting around to getting the info out. And yes, what you posted is word for word. Even the troop equipment is put on hold by the CO to await another unit to be started. Sounds like the BSA is wanting to control everything.

 

From AlFansome's link he provided - [EDITOR'S NOTE: This advice was provided to Boy Scout councils in August 2008 by Russell C. McNamer, Tax and Legal Specialist for Boy Scouts of America. Be warned: since White Rock District does not own this information, we cannot guarantee its accuracy, especially as tax laws inevitably change.

 

Anyone out there hear of Russell McNamer?

 

I would love to hear from any professional Scouters on this one. I have always been told that the CO owns the unit and thus the unit treasury and equipment. Is the BSA now saying that they now own the unit's finances?

 

On another note, a few years back, my troop's treasurer stopped getting bank statements. After a few months she contacted the bank to find out why. Seems that the statements were being sent to another address far away from the council. The treasurer's name was still on the statement, but the address was different. It was then that the treasurer noticed that the name of the account had been changed. The name of the account used to be Boy Scout Troop XXX in c/o of the treasurer. It had been changed to Boy Scout Troop XXX, the XXX Council BSA.

 

All of a sudden the name of the council appeared on the statement. Someone at the bank had changed the name of the account. At the time one of the bank's VP's was also a council VP. The troop has since opened a new account and transferred all but about $100 to the new account. The new account name is "The XXXX Church doing business as Boy Scout Troop XXX".

 

We have also found that other troops have realized their accounts names were changed. We would have simply overlooked it but since the treasurer was no longer receiving statements because someone had put the wrong address on the statements, we happened to contact the bank. I would challenge others out there to check to see if your unit's bank statements have had subtle changes to the account name.

 

There has been some real funny business going on in my council over the past few years.

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I think if you read your council by-laws and BSA by-laws you will likely find more info on this topic.

 

The bit about the money and property being held for future Scouting use jives with what I remember reading, but of coarse you can never find those on-line in any reasonable form, because apparently we prefer our corporate machinery to be considerably more mysterious than an OA ceremony (which any person can easily find on-line).

 

If I remember, there was language regarding the money/property being given to the council, an alternative for the CO to hold it for future Scouting use, and some other alternative having to do with mutual agreement of the CO and council. I can't see as how this is legally binding on the CO if the CO was not made aware of and did not specifically agree to it in advance, but in a way the reasoning makes some sense. Funds raised by Scout units are clearly raised for Scouting purposes, so it is a bit shady for the CO to use those funds for some other purpose. In some jurisdictions using funds raised for other than the stated purpose qualifies as a sort of mis appropriation and can be considered a sort of theft in the extreme (our council narrowly avoided going down that road about 5 or 6 years ago when it was discovered the money given for James E West Fellowships for years had not been put in the endowment, but rather was used as general fund revenue and spent, at least one attorney involved in the council sited relevent statute involving "theft by misappropriation" as being a possible avenue for prosecution, though nothing came of it in the end).

 

In any case, this is a rather tricky question, and I suspect you would need copies of the Charter Agreement, your council by-laws, the BSA rules and regulations, and an attorney knowledgeable with the laws of your state to figure this out.

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I found a copy of the 2007 Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America. What it states is -

 

"All money raised by or received for the benefit of a unit or local council and all property acquired by a unit or local council shall deemed to be received or acquired solely for the benefit of Scouting as interpreted and promoted by the Boy Scouts of America."

 

and

 

"In the event of the dissolution of a unit or the revocation or lapse of its charter, the unit committee shall apply unit funds and property to the payment of unit obligations and shall turn over the surplus, if any, to the local council, if there is one, or if there is no local council, dispose of the same in accordance with the direction of the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America. In the case of a chartered organization, any funds or equipment which may have been secured as property of the unit shall be held in trust by the chartering organization or the chartered local council, as may be agreed upon, pending reorganization of the unit or for the promotion of the program of the Boy Scouts of America"

 

"Any property or funds acquired by the Executive Board upon the dissolution of a Scouting unit or local council shall be administered so as to make effective, as far as possible, the intentions and wishes of the donors."

 

 

This all seems to state that while the CO does "own" the unit, anything earned, fundraised, or purchased in the name of Scouting, must be used for Scouting.

 

In other words, a Scout unit is not a money making vehicle for the charter organization.

 

 

 

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thanks ScoutNut for the info, but as far as my comments, I never implied that Scouting is a money making vehicle for the Sponsoring institution. My concerns dealt with a unit treasury if a unit dissolved.

 

Scouting is many times used by a church as part of it's youth program. Should the church itself decide to help fund the troop and or pack, then these rules and regs should be made known up front to the sponsoring institution when the BSA decides to grant them a Scouting charter. By the way, none of this information is part of COR training and now DE has never ever mentioned these rules and regs to our sponsoring head during their annual visit - which also never happens.

 

I am now curious how far back this has been written in the BSA rules and regulations. I know what professionals have told us in the past concerning the ownership of the unit, the ownership of the camp etc. And this idea that the remaining funds from a dissolved unit has never been mentioned. But then again, these rules and regs are not just sitting around the Scout office. You cannot even order them from national supply. So generally most simply go along with what a professional tells you. I now realize how clever at times the manipulation of the volunteer corps has been over the years. Perhaps training ought to include the rules and regs and policies and procedures. Now that would truly be a "quality" training. Knowledge of the rules and regs, charter and bylaws should be accessible and made known to lead volunteers (Scoutmasters, Cubmasters, Crew leaders as part of their basic training.

 

Just my two cents.

 

Proud Eagle is right when he wrote - "but of course you can never find those on-line in any reasonable form, because apparently we prefer our corporate machinery to be considerably more mysterious than an OA ceremony"

 

And believe me, I do educate myself on learning the rules, regs, policies and procedures. I have done so because I am tired that the boys are not getting a quality program from my council for the fees they pay. And I quickly found out that leaders in my council (both professionals and volunteers) do not like it what so ever when it is pointed out when they are not being followed.

 

In the end it is the boys who lose out when those in leadership positions fail to follow them or make up their own because of personal gains, or status etc. It is the boy this program is meant to serve.

 

Rules and Regulations are generally kept from the average Scouter at least in my council. And woe to any volunteer who actually reads them and challenges those who are not following them. All one has to do is read my posts concerning summer camp and district committee nominations to understand where I am coming from.

 

Thank you Scoutnut for your information you provided.(This message has been edited by abel magwitch)

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My comment on the CO not using their BSA unit to make money for them was a general comment on why these rules were there, not at all directed toward you.

 

I found the document online here -

 

http://www.scribd.com/doc/8919606/Rules-and-Regulations-of-the-Boy-Scouts-of-America

 

Your council Service Center are able to get the most recent version for you if you ask them.

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Like I said way back when this thread started, who owns what and what happens to it is ntirely dependent upon the state that you are located in. In several states a Boy Scout troop is an unincorporated entity that has multiple legal and ownership rights.

 

Here in NY you have more limited ownership, But all the trailers and boats we own are registered to Troop XX. No where id the CO's name on it anywhere.

 

This is why BSA has no hard rules on ownership because it changes state to state.

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Then quite frankly, the BSA should not tell the SI that they "own" the unit. If the BSA is unwilling to be up front with a SI when organizing a new unit with the rules and regs, then it has no business telling folks that they "own" something. It needs to be pointed out that the BSA in my neck of the woods has never stated to my SI that it has "limited" ownership; that word is not used. The "owners" need to be informed of the limited nature of their ownership especially concerning funding when the unit is formed; during the DE's annual visit; at COR training.

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