As United Methodists, we give in order to minister in Jesus’ name. Your giving dollars go to support the ministry of the local church and fund remarkable ministry around the world, like caring for survivors recovering from natural disasters, assisting vulnerable communities, fighting diseases like malaria, and equipping the next generation to lead the church and society. In all of this, we share the good news of Jesus Christ.
There are several ways you may currently give to the ministries of our church:
- Online: If you wish to have your gift automatically withdrawn from your checking or savings account or charged to your credit/debit card, you may click on the Online Giving link to access our online giving setup page. This giving option allows you to ensure that your gifts are received by the church on a regular basis, even if you are out of town or teaching Sunday school one week.
- Cash: You may place a cash gift into the offering plate during the worship service. If your gift is for an occasional special collection or for our church apportionments, please put it in an envelope labeled with your name and the collection you are giving towards.
- Check: Make your check payable to “Silver Spring United Methodist Church” and write the purpose of the gift (i.e.; Weekly Offering, Apportionments, etc.) in the note field. Drop it in the plate on Sunday or mail it to:
8900 Georgia Ave
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Please contact the church office if you are interested in receiving weekly offering envelopes. For more on Giving in the United Methodist Church, see umcgiving.org.
1. If I make a contribution in early January 2015, can I claim it on my 2014 taxes?
No. Contributions must be claimed in the year in which they are delivered. Example: Mary writes a check to the church on December 31, 2014, and deposits it in the church offering on Sunday, January 1, 2015. Her check is not deductible on her 2014 taxes. She can claim it on her 2015 tax return.
2. If I mail my contribution in December 2014, but it doesn’t reach the church until January 2015, which year should I claim it?
On your 2014 tax return. A check that is mailed is deductible in the year the check is mailed (and postmarked), even if it is received early in the next year. Example: Mary mails (and postmarks) her check in December 2014. The church will not receive the check until January 2015. The check is deductible on Mary’s 2014 tax return.
3. Can I deduct the value of the volunteer work I did for church?
No. The value of personal services are never deductible as a charitable contribution. However, unreimbursed expenses you incur in performing services on behalf of the church may be. You can use a “standard mileage rate” to compute a deduction for any miles your drive in performing services for the church (see more at: IRS “charitable” mileage rate). Be sure to maintain accurate records. Example: Several church members go on a short-term mission’s trip to another country. The value of their labor is not deductible, but they can deduct their unreimbursed travel expenses (transportation, meals, lodging) incurred in performing the trip.
4. I gave $135 to my church when I registered for a retreat. Can I deduct that?
No, assuming you received benefits (e.g. lodging, instruction, materials) worth $135 or more. Contributions generally are deductible only to the extent they exceed the value of any premium or benefit received by the donor in return for the contribution.
5. I designated my contribution to the church benevolence fund. Is it deductible?
That depends. “Designated contributions” are those made to a church for a specific purpose. If that purpose is an approved project or program of the church, you can deduct the contribution. Example: You donate $200 to the church and instruct the church treasurer to give the $200 to a specified needy family in the church. This contribution is not tax-deductible.
6. Is there any limit to the amount of contributions I can deduct on my taxes?
Yes, a contribution deduction ordinarily cannot exceed 50 percent of a donor’s adjusted gross income (a 30 percent rule applies in some cases). Donors who exceed these limits may be able to “carry over” their excess contribution and deduct it in future years.
7. What kind of records do I need in order to prove I made a contribution?
- For an individual cash contribution of under $250: You must have a bank record (such as a canceled check) or a receipt from the church containing the church’s name, and the date and amount of each cash contribution.
- For individual contributions (cash or property) of $250 or more: You must receive a written receipt from the church with the church’s name, the date and amount of each contribution, and states whether you received goods or services for your contributions (and if so, a description and good faith estimate of the value of the goods or services received). If you received no goods or services for the contributions, then the receipt must say so or indicate that only “intangible religious benefits” were received. If you’ve made individual contributions of $250 or more, don’t file your federal income tax return until you receive a contribution statement from your church that satisfies these requirements. Otherwise, your contributions may not be deductible. Canceled checks cannot be used to substantiate cash contributions of $250 or more.
- For non-cash property valued at $500 or more: Other rules apply (see instructions to IRS Form 8283). If the value is more than $5,000, you must obtain a qualified appraisal of the property and attach an “appraisal summary” (IRS Form 8283) to the tax return on which the contribution is claimed. Some exceptions apply.
For further assistance, contact the Church Office: [email protected]
Information provided by Richard Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA, Christianity Today International.