Section Treasurer FAQs
Inside the Financial Services Department
Who administers funds for sections?
Sections administer their funds and are responsible for their own budgets.
- Expenses have to be appropriate for sections and follow section by-laws, including any compensation paid to members.
- The Section Fund Balance Policy and Strategic use of Reserves requires that sections must have a positive fund balance at all times.
- Many sections have very healthy fund balances, sometimes many times their annual expenses. A section might consider adding programs for their members when the fund balance exceeds three times their annual expenses.
- If a fund balance starts to get low relative to annual expenses, sections will need to manage their funds carefully.
What is SBM's Federal Tax ID number?
Are section purchases tax-exempt?
Yes, sections are tax-exempt under the State Bar of Michigan. We encourage you to provide the vendors that you do business with a copy of the State Bar of Michigan's tax exemption certificate. If the vendors have this certificate, they will not charge sales tax on your invoices.
Where can I get a copy of the SBM tax exemption certificate?
Call Alpa Patel at (517) 346-6362.
SBM accepts two forms of payment: check and credit/debit card.
- Checks: To submit checks received for seminars, publication orders, etc., please fill out a Check Transmittal Form. Sections need to maintain confidentiality of any check information and store checks in a secure location until submitted to the State Bar of Michigan Finance Department. Mail the checks, along with the completed check transmittal form, and accompanying documentation (registration form, publication order form, etc.) to the State Bar of Michigan Attn: Finance Department, 306 Townsend St., Lansing, MI 48933. Checks should be made payable to the State Bar of Michigan and mailed as soon as practicable, and no longer than three business days from the date received, to the Finance Department. Please do not hold checks. Once checks are submitted to the Finance Department, sections should not retain any check information or copies of checks. All check information, as required, is securely maintained by the Finance Department.
- Credit cards (including debit cards): The State Bar of Michigan accepts Visa and MasterCard credit and debit card payments for seminar registrations and publication orders online only. Credit card payments should not be accepted by the section over the phone, by email, by fax, by mail, or in person.
Cash payments should not be accepted or submitted by mail to the State Bar of Michigan.
Does SBM accept credit cards?
Yes, the State Bar of Michigan accepts Visa and MasterCard credit and debit card payments, online only. Credit card payments should not be accepted over the phone, by email, by fax, by mail, or in person.
Where do I find the Check Transmittal Form?
You can access the Check Transmittal Form here.
Do sections need to charge sales tax on products we sell?
Yes, you need to charge 6% sales tax on products sold by your section (e.g., pamphlets and books). You may include sales tax in the price and SBM will break out the 6% sales tax, or you may break out the sales tax on your order form(s).
How do sections submit requests for payment?
There are four types of documents for submitting requests for payment: an invoice, an expense reimbursement form, a check request, and a section payment form.
- Invoice: A bill from an outside source or vendor. It can be used to submit for payment directly, unless a section member has paid the invoice and is seeking reimbursement.
- Expense Reimbursement Form: Used for all section reimbursements. Receipts are required for expenses of $25 or more. A list of attendees is required for all meetings and events; it is recommended to have a sign-in sheet at the meeting. If SBM is handling your event, we have the list on file. Examples of reimbursements are mileage, parking, lodging and meals. Please note supported sections are required to follow the SBM’s per diem limits for meals. Also, the SBM follows the IRS rate for approved business mileage reimbursement. If this rate changes, which is typical at the beginning of the calendar year, we will notify you of the change.
- Access the Expense Reimbursement Form here.
- Read directions for filling out the Expense Reimbursement Form here.
- Check Request Form: Used if the expense is not a reimbursement and if you do not have an invoice. Donations are an example of an expense where a Check Request Form would be used. Minutes approving the expense should be attached to a Check Request Form. This form should also be used to request payment for section administrators and assistants.
- Access the Check Request Form here.
- Section Payment Form: Must be used any time a payment for services is rendered to a section member. An example would be a payment for newsletter editing. This form of payment is considered taxable income to the person providing the service and a Form W-9 is required before payment can be made. This payment also requires a 2/3 vote, where the person receiving payment may not vote, and a copy of the minutes approving the payment must be submitted to SBM.
- Access the Section Payment Form here.
- Read directions for filling out the Section Payment Form here.
What is the current mileage rate?
The State Bar of Michigan uses the I.R.S. standard mileage rate for reimbursing mileage.
- For miles driven on or after 1/1/2024, the rate is 67 cents per mile.
- For miles driven on or after 1/1/2023, the rate is 65.5 cents per mile.
- For miles driven on or after 7/1/2022, the rate is 62.5 cents per mile.
How do I get invoices paid?
Invoices must be submitted to the State Bar of Michigan with the section treasurer's signature or e-mail authorization to pay. The general ledger account number(s) that you want the expense to be charged to should also appear on the invoice. If an invoice is submitted to the State Bar of Michigan directly from a vendor or from a section member other than the treasurer, you may email authorization for payment to Alpa Patel. Please include in your email the vendor, invoice number, amount to pay, explicit authorization to pay, and account numbers to charge the expenses.
All vendors (individuals and companies) must have an IRS W-9 on file with us before we can process payment to them. This form indicates to us whether the vendor should receive an IRS 1099. A W-9 is not necessary if the payment is for reimbursement (mileage, lodging, etc.) only.
How do I report meals for groups or council meetings?
When you send in a bill for a group or council meeting, you must include a list of attendees. There are three ways in which you can provide this information:
- An attendance sheet
- A copy of the minutes
- If the meeting is for the council, you may include a statement that indicates only the council present, the council except for named individuals, or the council including named individuals.
How do section members get reimbursed for their expenses?
To be reimbursed for their expenses, section members should fill out an Expense Reimbursement Form, attach the appropriate receipt(s), and have the section treasurer approve the reimbursement request. Receipts are recommended for all expenses, but detailed receipts are required for expenses over $25. An example of a detailed receipt is a receipt that shows all items purchased at a restaurant including drinks, food items, and the cost for each item. Please note supported sections are required to follow the SBM’s per diem limits for meals. Payments to vendors for $5,000 or more are not reimbursable, and should be paid directly by the State Bar.
Where can I find important forms?
- Access the Expense Reimbursement Form here (read directions for filling out the Expense Reimbursement Form here).
- Access the Check Request Form here.
- Access the Section Payment Form here (read directions for filling out the Section Payment Form here).
- Access the IRS Form W-9 here.
Who is authorized to approve expenses?
All expense vouchers and invoices must be approved by the section treasurer or chair. Expense vouchers to reimburse a section treasurer must be approved by the section chair and vice versa.
What are the special rules for gifts and recognition to section members and others, per IRS regulations?
If sections give a tangible gift that cost less than $100 (e.g., a shirt or a mug) to an individual, there are no tax consequences to the recipient and the State Bar is not required to collect any data for possible special tax reporting to the IRS. Tangible gifts (other than recognition plaques and gavels) with a value of $100 or more are considered taxable income to the recipient and should be reported to the SBM Finance Department. Any cash or gift card is considered taxable income to the recipient, regardless of the amount, and should be reported to the SBM Finance Department.
In order to comply with the IRS tax reporting requirements, we require a Form W-9 from the recipient before issuing payment when the total value of the gift(s) in a given year exceeds $600. If the total value of all gifts or other compensation from the State Bar to an individual is $600 or more, we will issue a Form 1099 to the individual, and send a copy to the State of Michigan and the IRS. If you have any questions on specific purchases that could trigger tax reporting, contact us. Due to the sensitive nature of tax information, please do not e-mail this form to us unless the document is secure. We are working on a secure portal for you to submit sensitive documents and we will keep you updated.
When do invoices, check requests, section payments, and expense reimbursements need to be submitted?
All expenses need to be submitted to the State Bar of Michigan Finance Department within 30 days of when the expense was incurred (or within 45 days for expense reimbursements).
Each week, if your section payment is received by the SBM Finance staff by Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. and no further supporting documentation or approval is required, payment will be issued on Friday of the same week. If you have any special requests outside of this schedule please contact Becky Weaver at (517) 346-6321.
At fiscal year-end, which is September 30 of each year, sections will receive notification from the SBM finance staff indicating the deadline to submit revenue and expenses incurred for the fiscal year just ended (typically by the third business day of October each year). SBM has a tight deadline for year-end close and your assistance is appreciated. Please do not wait until the end of the fiscal year to review your financial reports.
What financial reports will I receive?
Each month you will receive by email two financial reports. One financial report is a summary of your section's financial activity. It shows the total amount for each revenue and expense account for the current month and for the year to date. Your ending fund balance is also shown. Your ending fund balance is calculated by adding your beginning fund balance on October 1 plus your year-to-date income less your year-to-date expense (see an example here). The other report is a detailed listing by account of all your section's expenses to date (see an example here).
When will I receive my section's monthly financial reports?
You should receive your monthly financial reports approximately ten business days after the end of the month. September’s financial statements, however, will always be sent much later due to the year-end closing process.
What is a chart of accounts?
Your chart of accounts consists of 11 digits divided into five segments (see an example here).
- The first segment is one digit long. The "1" indicates this is the company "State Bar of Michigan." You will always use a "1" in the first segment for all your account numbers.
- The second segment is also only one digit. Use a "7" to indicate revenue and a "9" for expenses.
- The third segment is two digits and will always be "99" indicating "section."
- The fourth segment is three digits and represents the specific section. For example, "475" is the number for the Health Care Section.
- The fifth segment is four digits long and represents the activity. For example, 1050 is dues revenue and 1826 is copying.
I found expenses on my financial statement that I didn't approve. What are they?
The State Bar of Michigan provides some services for a fee. If someone in your section requested such services, you may be unaware of the charges. For example, there may be costs associated with your newsletter, such as printing and postage. Seminar assistance, e-blasts, and teleconference usage are other expenses commonly incurred by sections.
If you need help identifying the origin of an expense, please contact Becky Weaver at (517) 346-6321.