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Lodge and hall financial health

Tips for financial health

Your January checklist

For your Trestleboard

Find it on freemason.org

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Lodge and hall financial health

Back in 2012, Morgan Hill Lodge and Keith Lodge merged to create South Valley Lodge No. 187. The brothers decided to use one building as their home and sell the other, which begged the question: What to do with the hall associations? They had two, but only needed one.

It was an important decision, with tax implications – and it was about to get even more complicated than they’d realized. The brothers turned to the Grand Lodge Financial Services team for help. These experienced professionals include:

  • Tom Boyer
  • Maribel Pasamic
  • Lauren Mandujano
  • Marlene Huang
  • Jun Apruebo
  • Linh Pham
  • Phil Pereira
  • Sarah Li
  • Jennufer Hua

Gregg Hall, who was then president of the hall association (now named Leverton Masonic Hall Association) and is currently treasurer of South Valley Lodge No. 187, explains.

 

Navigating the merge

  • Before talking to the Financial Services team, we assumed we would simply keep the hall association that owned the building we’d chosen. But the professional team at Grand Lodge looked at all of the numbers and determined it made much more financial sense for us to keep the other hall association and transfer ownership of the building to it. This helped us to avoid more than $100,000 in real estate taxes.
  • In the process of closing out the unwanted hall association, we discovered that the hall had mistakenly been using the same tax ID as the lodge, creating all sorts of tax issues. Financial Services helped us sort it out.

Reinstating tax-exempt status

  • Then we discovered that the hall association we were keeping had lost its tax-exempt status. Years ago, someone had the wrong idea about nonprofits and taxes, and didn’t pay the hall’s taxes for a handful of years. As a result, the IRS revoked the tax-exempt status, meaning that any income becomes taxable, including large gifts. This is a substantial expense, and a complicated issue to fix.
  • Financial Services filed taxes for the missing years, then walked us through the lengthy process of successfully getting our tax-exempt status reinstated by the IRS. They even got our penalties waived. Now whenever we receive a notice from the IRS, I forward it to our team at Grand Lodge and they take care of it.

Name change

  • We also wanted to change the name of our hall association, which requires submitting a change of our corporate bylaws to the secretary of state. Grand Lodge filled out the paperwork for us.

Everyday services

  • We use Intacct accounting and Grand Lodge tax preparation services. It’s great: I tell the Financial Services team what we need, and they already have the information to get started. I don’t even have to send copies of our financial info, because everything is uploaded to Intacct.
  • As part of using Intacct, we’re frequently in touch with Financial Services for accounting questions. For example, when we purchased kitchen equipment as a capital expenditure, they calculated the depreciation.

I have a background in business and accounting, and I still rely on the people on the Grand Lodge Financial Services team. They’re there to help. They provide expert knowledge and experience that the average member just doesn’t possess.

Contact: Gregg Hall

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Tips for financial health

The hall is often your lodge’s most valuable asset. Here are suggestions to make the most of it – and avoid costly mistakes.

Multi-year maintenance plan
Putting off maintenance can ultimately become very expensive if emergency repairs are needed. Create a multi-year maintenance plan for the hall, and stick to it. Remember to:

  • Include all necessary maintenance activities, their frequency, and their estimated costs – from pest control to gutter cleaning to roof repair.
  • Account for escalating costs due to the age of the building, seasonal conditions, or tenant needs.
  • Plan ahead for necessary inspections, including their costs and how frequently they’re required.
  • Estimate an allowance for reactive and unexpected maintenance.
  • Questions? Contact Grand Lodge Real Estate Services.

Rentals

  • Adding retail tenants to storefront space, if applicable.
  • Renting the hall to other lodges, concordant bodies, schools, churches, and community groups.
  • Contacting the local chamber of commerce to advertise availability for limited, periodic rentals such as focus groups, dance classes, off-site training, and parties.
  • Using peerspace.com and rentals.com to list and rent space on an hourly or daily basis.

Set a rental rate that exceeds your minimum operating cost and reflects fair market value.

  • Minimum operating cost: Average three years’ worth of operating expenses to find the average yearly operating cost. Divide by 365 to find the average daily cost. Divide by the property’s square footage to find the average daily per-square-foot cost. To find your minimum operating cost, multiply the daily per-square-foot cost by the square footage being rented and the time frame.
  • Fair market rental value: Benchmark your rental rate against comparable buildings in the community such as community centers, libraries, senior centers, churches, and event venues. (Brokers will often provide market info for free.)
  • Questions? Contact Grand Lodge Real Estate Services.

NEW! Ensure that guests can easily find and rent the hall with a user-friendly hall website template from Grand Lodge. View a sample website. To create a site for your hall, contact Communications.

Taxes
The costliest mistake is losing your tax-exempt status with the IRS – so ensure that you’re filing all taxes promptly and accurately. Have an accountant prepare or check your forms, or consider Grand Lodge services like Intacct and tax preparation.

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Your January checklist

Stay on track of lodge business and prepare for important deadlines. Here’s your January checklist:

Executive Committee

Master, along with Executive Committee

  • Submit 2019 budget for approval at stated meeting.
  • Present 2019 calendar and program plan at stated meeting.
  • Confirm Audit, Charity, and Membership Retention Committee appointments and review responsibilities with each.
  • Confirm other committee appointments and review responsibilities with each.
  • Review all candidates’ progress towards advancement.

Senior Warden

  • Confirm candidate coaches and review responsibilities.
  • Review all candidates’ progress towards advancement.
  • Begin preparing 2020 program plan.
  • Begin preparing 2020 budget.
  • Begin preparing 2020 officer appointments.
  • Begin preparing 2020 installation of officers.

Junior Warden

  • Confirm with treasurer the policies and procedures of Refreshment Fund, if applicable.

Secretary

  • Continue to collect delinquent dues from members (were due on January 1).
  • Continue preparing secretary’s annual report to present to the lodge in February.

Treasurer

  • Continue preparing treasurer’s annual report to present to the lodge in February.
  • If your lodge has employees, file federal and state payroll taxes.
    • IRS form 941, due in January (unless IRS has approved an annual filing of Form 944, due January 31)
    • State form DE9/DE9C and DE88 (deposit form), due in January, must be filed electronically
    • IRS form 940 (federal unemployment), due in January
    • W-2, due to employees in January
    • W-3 and copy of W2, due to IRS on or before January 31
    • Using Intacct or the Grand Lodge payroll system? Financial Services will complete your payroll forms 940, 944, W-2, and W-3
  • If your lodge or hall employs independent contractors:
    • Distribute 1099-MISC to contractors by January 31.
    • File Form 1096 with Forms 1099-MISC and send these returns to the IRS on or before January 31.
    • Using Intacct? Contact Financial Services at financialservices@freemason.org or (415) 292-9170 for assistance in generating the 1096 and 1099 reports from Intacct

Questions? Contact Member Services at memberservices@freemason.org or (415) 776-7000.

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For your Trestleboard

February is Masonic Widows Month, a time to reach out to sweethearts and show your support as a lodge. Why not start a handyman program at the same time? Helping sweethearts and other elder members around the home is a thoughtful gesture that also improves their safety if they’re living alone. Use this Launch a Handyman Project resource for ideas. Once you’re ready to get started, advertise your services in your lodge’s Trestleboard using the template ad below. Simply fill out the name and phone number of the lodge brother who will organize the schedule of handyman projects.

This month:
Handyman Ad
Age Successfully at Acacia Creek

Share in your Trestleboard.

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Find it on freemason.org

From Public Schools Month to Masonic Veterans Month, many months of the fraternal year are designated with a special Grand Master’s Proclamation, encouraging lodges to focus on a topic important to California Masonry.

Now, you can find all of them in one place: In the news section of freemason.org. View View 2019 proclamations.

Download upcoming proclamations to read at stated meeting, include in your Trestleboard, announce in the lodge app, and share in any other way with fraternal family.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked you to share something new that your lodge tried in 2018. Of those that responded:

  • 43% - New technology, ex. lodge app or PayPal
  • 29% - New programming, ex. Masonic education series or fellowship activity
  • 29% - New degree tradition, ex. candidate gifts or special dinner
  • 21% - New charitable commitment, ex. 100% officer giving or Let’s Write the Future
  • 14% - New Grand Lodge service, ex. Intacct or tax preparation
  • 14% - New training, ex. Lodge Outreach Program or 2018 leadership retreat


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