On the heels of U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley’s staff report that holds major implications for churches and religious organizations, ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) will hold a free online/telephone briefing about these implications Friday, Jan. 14, at 1 pm. Michael Batts, chair of the ECFA Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations, and ECFA President Dan Busby will conduct the briefing.
“These issues are fundamental to churches and religious organizations across America,” says Busby. “This important briefing will help organizations understand what the charge and scope of the commission are, and the issues on which the senator has asked it to receive input.”
Last week Grassley, who is known for his focus on the financial practices of high-profile nonprofit organizations, released the findings of his three-year inquiry into the financial practices of six media-based Christian ministries. The senator has requested that ECFA spearhead an independent, national effort to review and provide input on major accountability and policy issues affecting such organizations.
“ECFA has a proven track record of accountability with its member organizations and is uniquely situated to work with representatives from the religious and broader nonprofit community,” says Grassley.
The ECFA commission will address some of the most challenging tax and policy issues involving religious organizations. These issues include whether churches should file Form 990, the same highly-detailed annual information return required of other nonprofits; whether legislation is needed to curb abuses of the clergy housing allowance exclusion; whether the prohibition against political campaign intervention by churches and other nonprofits should be repealed or modified; and whether legislation is needed to clarify tax rules covering “love offerings” received by some clergy.
Michael Batts is managing shareholder of Batts Morrison Wales & Lee, PA, an Orlando-based accounting firm dedicated exclusively to serving nonprofit organizations. He is also former chair of the ECFA board and is currently a member of the ECFA board and executive committee. Busby, who serves as an ex-officio on the commission, founded a CPA firm in Kansas City, was the controller of a major medical center and chief financial officer of a national religious denomination. He is an accomplished author and national speaker on matters related to the nonprofit sector.
To sign up for the free briefing, log in or register at https://www.ecfa.org/Login.aspx. A recording of the briefing will be available after the event on the ECFA website. ECFA, founded in 1979, provides accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with the ECFA standards pertaining to financial accountability, fund-raising and board governance. For more information about ECFA, including information about accreditation and a listing of ECFA-accredited members, visit www.ecfa.org or call 1-800-323-9473.