Our church is sponsoring a short-term mission trip. The trip cost is $1,000 per person. How can we protect the charitable deductibility of contributions to support the trip?
It starts with approving legitimate mission trips as part of the church missions outreach. Then, the key issue is demonstrating that the church has discretion and control over funds raised for the trip. Communication with prospective donors should make it clear, preferably before gifts are made, that gifts are only preferenced, not restricted, to support the mission trip of a particular trip participant.
Dan Busby is a certified public accountant, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), and the author of the Zondervan Clergy Tax & Financial Guide.