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SemperParatus

COs and Unit Financial Information

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Non-profit Chartered Organizations (other than churches) must file Form 990 with the IRS, which requires a complete financial accounting of all its activities. This includes PTAs, VFWs, Lions Clubs, etc.

 

Is your unit providing your CO with balance sheet and income statement information at the CO's fiscal year-end to enable the CO to include this information on its tax return?

 

If not, I wonder if it has ever crossed the mind of the CO signer of the return that he may be missing something as he signs the return under penalties of perjury, declaring he has examined the return and to his best knowledge, it is true, correct and complete.

 

(This message has been edited by SemperParatus)

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Hmmm... good point.

 

Will make this a point for my CP Executive Officer when he meets with the units next week.

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That is Not necessarily true. Can you show me in the R&R where it says that? Cause its not there. Does it say that in the Charter agreement, NO.

 

Before you make blanket statements you need to look at the laws of the state in which you live. In our state we, the troop are the owner. The CO appears no where on our bank account, out trailers are registered and titled in the troops name and we have our own insurance on them in our name. All legal in this state.

 

The BSA R&R are VERY fuzzy grey on equipment ownership

 

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It's my understanding that, no matter how the equipment or accounts are titled, they actually belong to the CO. If you shut down, they get it. If you move sponsors, they have to approve the transfer. That's why, in my later years, I created a non-profit 501©(3)corporation to control the money and the equipment. The equipment was leased to the troop for use at $1.00 a year.

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Put it another way. What if the CO failed to exist? Would the unit continue. No. You would have to find another CO. On the other hand to me its the CO responsibility to ask for accounting information. If required. Since the accounts are not combined and the oversight is not I don't see the GAAP requirement that the unit report.

 

It's not a BSA R&R issue.

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Some chairmen/women, Treasurers, and other Scouters really do need to go read their Charters!!!

 

Scouting operates on a "license"(charter) system. The National Council licenses your local council. In turn, the Local Council licenses the Cub, Boy, or Venturing (including Sea Scouting) programs to local organizations (Kiwanis, churches, schools, VFW Posts, American Legion posts, and so on).

 

These are the "Chartered Partners."

 

The Chartered Partner owns the license, thus it OWNS THE UNIT, to include its property and funds.

 

Yes, this applies to LDS units as well. I'll ask someone more expert in LDS Scouting to comment for more details.

 

The chartered partner can set expectations within the Scouting framework of its units.

 

It really is that simple.

 

YIS

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John,

Actually its not that simple. The property laws differ greatly from state to state so there is no hard and fast rule on property. You don't have to beleive me, ask your lawyer.

 

This is why the BSA R&R on equipment aree so fuzzy.

 

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I read again the annual charter agreement. It really is very straightforward. Scouting is a program the chartered organization may use as part of its programs. They agree to follow the Scouting program. BSA agrees to support it.

 

The Scouting unit committee is no different than the community service committee of the Elks club or the choir at the church. The Scouting unit does not "own" equipment any more than the choir owns the hymnals and choir robes.

 

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I'd have to agree with nldscout on this. I'm certainly no expert on property law, but I have to think it's not that simple. The BSA charter agreement may say one thing, but I really don't think it takes into account the variety of state law on such matters. It's a fuzzy enough situation that I think Kahuna probably has the right idea by taking some action to clarify things. I'd bet it just doesn't come up that often, ie, a unit fails, and the BSA charter conflicts with some aspect of state law in the state where the unit resides.

 

Nothing that has anything to do with attorneys is ever simple :)

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If the choir decides to quit the church, where would the members get the idea they can take the choir robes with them? The concept of who owns unit equipment is only fuzzy to the degree that the charter concept is misunderstood. There isn't even a shred of evidence to support the idea that the members of a unit own, either collectively or individually, equipment obtained by the unit. The unit is not a separate entity unto itself; it is simply a program utilized by the chartered organization and operated by its selected leaders to further its aims.

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The following is just my opinion but...I think the chartering concept is pretty clear. While many COs are pretty hands off, and may have little knowledge of day to day activities of a unit or their financial activities, if push came to shove... I think all assets of a BSA unit would be awarded to the CO. Now, as Kahuna has pointed out there may be ways around having the CO as owner. Setting of a separate entity that "lends" the equipment to the unit or having individuals purchase equipment they allow the unit to use.

 

As a practical matter though, many units have their own accounts,(we do) under their own control and the only time it would be an issue is if a unit were to fold or liquidate, something that is fortunately relatively rare.

 

SA

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After reading some of the replies, I thought I'd chime in with my two cents. So the Chartering Organization gets everything, let's take a look at this, at least from my perspective:

 

1.. My pack gets a place to meet, a hall in the church from the CO. We get no money or anything else, just a meeting room.

2.. You mean to tell me, when we have a fundraiser and the money that goes into the pack account and Scout account, the CO (in this case, the church) owns those funds?

3.. If someone, regardless if they are inside or outside the pack donates tents, money, equipment to the pack, the CO (in this case, the church) owns it?

4.. So basically what you are telling me is that in my state, Massachusetts, when the church is getting sued (in this case, the Roman Catholic Diocese for sexually abusive priests) the packs that are chartered by the CO (in this case, the local church in the diocese), we stand to loose everything because our funds and equipment are owned by the CO (in this case, the church)?

 

Please, do not cover every jurisdiction with a blanketed policy. As mentioned earlier, each state has their own law which supercedes any BSA policy. To give an example, if you give a check to Wal-Mart for your purchases, they will ask for your license to write your social security number on the check. That is store policy. However, it is AGAINST state law and you have the right to refuse to give it to them. Since the check is consider legal tender, Wal-Mart cannot refuse you the purchase. If you have a history of bad checks at the store though, they can refuse you the purchase. You can also threaten a suit against the store if they write the number down. I know, I'v been there!

 

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Scotiacat,

 

I'm from Mass as well, and the answer to your questions 2, 3 & 4 are yes, yes and yes. However 4 is unlikely unless the Church were to declare Bankruptcy and a Judge order those assets to be allocated to a group other than the Pack. As long as the Church wishes to charter a Pack and controls its own funds, there would be no reason to believe the assets the Pack uses would be at risk. However, if the Pack were to disband, the Church could lay claim to the assets assuming they knew they existed.

 

SA

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