Resources for Finances

Budget and Management

If you are a clergy person or lay leader responsible for the financial management of your parish, this is the right place to find resources to support your work. This page will provide you with information and links to resources that can help you facilitate the financial health of your parish.

Recommended Resource Books

The most important resource you need is the most up-to-date edition of The Manuel of Business Methods in Church Affairs.  You may access it here.

This publication of The Episcopal Church provides specific guidance on financial management; budgeting; cash management; investment management; internal control; bookkeeping; financial statements; financial reporting; payroll taxes; travel & expense reporting; clergy discretionary funds; audit guidelines; insurance; parochial reports; record management; and examples of commonly used forms.

If you want to understand the world of church finance, the Finance Resource Guide from Episcopal Church Foundation is a valuable tool. The Finance Resource Guide (FRG) serves as a handbook for congregations and vestries, providing in-depth financial management practices and principles and promoting year-round, theologically driven stewardship.

The FRG is written for lay, clergy, and diocesan leadership and speaks to readers with a wide variety of financial backgrounds and expertise. This spiritually grounded resource guides leaders as they develop and steward financial resources for local mission and ministry. It offers tools that range from how to talk about conflicting money stories in scripture to conversation starters and budget templates.

You can purchase a copy of the guide from Forward Movement publications here.

Other Recommended Titles

Creating Financially Sustainable Congregations by James L. Elrod , Jr.

Financial Management for Episcopal Parishes: Revised Edition by James B. Jordan 

Presenting Financial Reports to Vestries

If you are looking for models and examples of financial reports given to the Vestry, click below: 

Sample Vestry Reports
Sample Vestry Report Handout
Sample Vestry Report Revenue and Expenses

The Episcopal Church Foundation has two helpful articles on reporting church finances:

Basics of Church Financial Reporting—Part I
Basics of Church Financial Reporting—Part II

Assessments

There are two canons of our diocese that pertain to assessments.

Canon 17

SECTION 4. The Convention shall every year make such an assessment on the Parishes of the Diocese as, together with the other income of the Diocese, shall make the sum total sufficient to meet the expenses of the Diocese. Such assessment shall be equitably computed. Then assessments as adopted by the Convention shall fix the amount of the same for the next year and shall be binding on the Parishes. The assessments shall be payable to the Treasurer in monthly payments on the first day of each month. 

SECTION 6. Any Parish desiring to appeal with reference to its assessment, shall make such appeal to the Executive Council within such time as may be appointed by such Council. The Executive Council shall from time-to-time report to the Council, such alterations in the assessments of the Parishes as justice to any Parish, or the exigencies of the case, may demand.

Current Formula used by the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee to determine your assessment:

  • 0 - $25,000: 10.5%
  • $25,001-$115,000: $2,625 +12.7% of income cver $25,000
  • $115,001 -$205,000: $14,055 + 16.8% of income over $115,000
  • $205,001-$300,000: $29,175 + 23.4% of income over $205,000
  • Over $300,000: $51,405 + 17.1 % of income over $300,000

Income-based on a 2-year average. This results in an overall average of 15.3% diocesan-wide.

Tax and Audit/Parish Reviews

 Parish Review guide and list of Parish Reviewers (this section is under construction)

2003 Small Employer Health Care Tax Credit Memo


Tax information for Clergy

2021 Clergy Tax Guide for 2020 Tax Returns

Tax Information for Churches 

2021 Federal Reporting Requirements for Episcopal Churches
Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service Form 8822-B (includes instructions for churches to use to update their Responsible Party)

Sales Tax Exemption

The Diocese of Milwaukee and its entities are considered a 501(c)3 organization, a designation of not-for-profit status. Agencies held or housed by an Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee church may need to apply for their own 501(c)3 designation. However, all entities of the diocese may use the Wisconsin exemption certificate when visiting retail establishments.

Most purchases made by an entity of the Diocese of Milwaukee are exempt from sales tax. The sales tax exemption is appropriate for the purchase of consumable items that will be used at church or church functions and for the purchase of furniture and equipment that will be owned by the church and used for church purposes.

Sales tax cannot be reimbursed, even with receipts. For this reason, it is important to present the Wisconsin Sales Tax Exemption Certificate to all retail vendors.

Click here for a copy of the IRS Letter for The Episcopal Church.

Self-Employment Tax

The Self-employment tax rate is 7.65% (one-half of the total 15.3%).