January 2021

Contents

2020 May Be Behind Us, But its Taxes Are Coming Soon

The new year is a time for many things, but one of them is less exciting than the rest: the approach of tax season. And as many lodges and hall associations are dealing with a reduction in income over the past year due to reduced or lost rent payments and single-use event rentals, this year, it’s especially important to make sure is managing its finances and tax obligations properly. Luckily, Grand Lodge can help.

“Many lodges struggle with their finances at the end of the year,” says Maribel Pasamic, controller for the Grand Lodge of California. It’s a truism that no one joined Freemasonry to become bookkeepers, but the reality is that lodges and hall associations need proper financial stewardship.” Tax season just happens to be when some lodge and hall association leaders remember this. If you’re among those struggling to backtrack and reconcile records at the end of the year, let the Grand Lodge finance team help through its suite of tools and services. Chief among those is a service called a bank and investment account reconciliation. But the best tool is a little bit of foreplanning, Pasamic says. “The biggest mistake we see lodges and hall associations make is not updating their records throughout the year. Once you stop entering in your financial records, it becomes that much harder to keep track of things when the end of the year arrives.”

Services like the account reconciliation are available those using the accounting system Intacct, which more than 250 California lodges and hall associations currently do. Beginning in January 2021, lodges can sign up for Intacct free of charge, though hall associations will still be assessed a service fee. Another change for 2021 is the availability of Paycheck, a new payroll system offered by Grand Lodge. Unlike Intacct, both lodges and hall associations will be assessed a fee to use Paycheck based on the number of employees they have.

A great way to learn the ins and outs of lodge and hall association finance is by registering for the Online Masonic Leadership Courses for secretaries, treasurers, and hall association directors. This year, bootcamps and retreats will be held virtually throughout January and February. Attend all the events or pick and choose the sessions most important to you. This year’s bootcamps and leadership courses are free. These bootcamps are designed to teach the basics of lodge management, introduce iMember 2.0, and teach those new in their roles and how to effectively do their job.

But also, always keep in mind that Grand Lodge is always a call or email away. “Basically, if you have a problem,” Pasamic says, “just pick up the phone and call us. That’s what we’re here for.”

Lodge Financial Health Check-Up

Lodge halls are important and valuable assets, and each hall’s situation is unique. Grand Lodge real estate services can help with the following:

  • Provide technical expertise and counsel to hall association trustees for real estate transactions with operational limitations, including long-term leases greater than three years; list, sale, and purchase of real property; secured loans/encumbrance of real property; improvement of their buildings; and suggestions for negotiating transactions and structuring short- and long-term agreements.
  • Offer advice on strategic approaches to leverage the value of hall properties.
  • Offer consultations and support for completing and obtaining written approval for Grand Lodge Masonic Properties Committee application packets, using best practices.
  • Advise on capital improvement and building operations issues, such as reserve funding, solar projects, and so forth.
  • Provide support to prepare 6- to 12-month cash flow projections.
  • Provide guidance on preparing multi-year capital projects planning.
  • Offer insurance premium installment plans to halls with cash flow challenges.
  • Serve as a liaison between the hall and broker/underwriter for complex property insurance claims.
  • Run cost-benefit analyses and financial proformas of real estate projects relative to the lodge and hall association objectives.
  • Provide replacement-cost estimates to gauge sufficient coverage against property loss.

To get started, contact Grand Lodge Real Estate Services at (415) 292-9111 or realestate@freemason.org

Reminders and Masonic News

Masonic Online Leadership Courses Coming Soon

Secretaries, treasurers, and hall administrators are the glue that has kept Freemasonry alive for over 300 years. You are a part of this long tradition. Join your counterparts from lodges all over the state in January and February 2021 as we come together in our first online leadership course. This year, bootcamps and retreats will be held virtually throughout January and February. Attend all events or pick and choose the sessions most important to you. This year’s bootcamps and leadership courses are FREE! LEARN MORE

Member Restoration Campaign Is Back for 2021

The Member Restoration Campaign continues into 2021. Last year, Grand Lodge offered members who’d been suspended for non-payment of dues a simple way back to good standing. More than 1,300 of them—about 12 percent of those who were approached—acted on it. This year, we have an opportunity to reach out to even more of our suspended brothers and provide them with an easy and fair way to restore their membership and join in all the aspects of Masonry that make our fraternity so special. In order to participate, lodges must opt into the program by passing the 2021 Restoration Campaign Resolution by a 2/3 vote at stated meeting. Lodges that took part in the 2020 campaign can opt back in by passing the continuation resolution. LEARN MORE.

 

Pay your Dues on iMember 2.0

Lodge dues for 2021 are due December 31, 2020. With iMember 2.0's new payment service, members can now pay their dues by credit card and get immediate access to their new dues card. Log in to iMember today to get started. PAY DUES NOW

Your January Checklist

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

Executive Committee

  • Register for 2021 leadership retreats.
  • Schedule inspector’s official visit and examination of the books, due by end of March.

Master, along with Executive Committee

  • Submit 2021 budget for approval at stated meeting.
  • Present 2021 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 2022 program plan.
  • Begin preparing 2022 budget.
  • Begin preparing 2022 officer appointments.
  • Begin preparing 2022 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.
  • Review the list of suspended members sent to you by Grand Lodge and determine if your lodge wants to participate in the Restoration Campaign.

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.

For Your Trestleboard

Use this content to spread the word about the Distressed Worthy Brother Relief Fund and MCYAF’s expanded telehealth services. 

Distressed Worthy Brother Relief Fund

MCYAF Telehealth

Question of the Month

Last month we asked what steps your lodge had taken during the pandemic to prepare for a resumption of in-person meetings. Here are the results:

  • 55% - Updating membership roster/contact information 
  • 51% - Developed safety guidelines for in-person meetings 
  • 43% - Planned to integrate video/streaming technology 
  • 26% - Other Answers (Encouraging members who are far away to be part of the virtual meetings and have bought some PPE already

Here's your next question.