Portofino’s Artwork

On the far back wall of Portofino’s Greek and Italian Restaurant in East Ridge, TN is a mural displaying the seven great heroes of the Greek epics known as the Iliad and the Odyssey. The Iliad is an ancient Greek epic sonnet in dactylic hexameter, generally ascribed to Homer. Typically considered to have been recorded around the eighth century BC, the Iliad is among the most established surviving works of Western writing, alongside the Odyssey, another epic sonnet ascribed to Homer which recounts Odysseus’ encounters after the occasions of the Iliad. In the cutting edge vulgate (the standard acknowledged rendition), the Iliad contains 15,693 lines, partitioned into 24 books; it is written in Homeric Greek, an artistic blend of Ionic Greek and different lingos. It is typically gathered in the Epic Cycle.

Set during the Trojan War, during the ten-year attack of the city of Troy (Ilium) by an alliance of Mycenaean Greek states (Achaeans), it recounts the fights and altercations during the long stretches of a squabble between King Agamemnon and the fighter Achilles.

Following is a description of the heroes of the Iliad and the Odyssey, in the order, they appear on the wall of Portofino’s.

Menelaus

Ruler of Sparta; the more youthful sibling of Agamemnon. While it is the snatching of his significant other, Helen, by the Trojan ruler Paris that starts the Trojan War, Menelaus demonstrates calmer, less forcing, and less egotistical than Agamemnon. In spite of the fact that he has a heavy heart, Menelaus isn’t among the mightiest Achaean fighters.

Paris (otherwise called “Alexander”)

A child of Priam and Hecuba and sibling of Hector. Paris’ kidnapping of the wonderful Helen, spouse of Menelaus, started the Trojan War. Paris is narcissistic and regularly unmanly. He battles adequately with a bow and bolt (never with the more masculine sword or lance.) However, he frequently comes up short on the soul for the fight to come and likes to sit in his room having intercourse with Helen while others battle for him, in this way acquiring both Hector’s and Helen’s hatred.

Diomedes (otherwise called “Tydides”)

The most youthful of the Achaean administrators, Diomedes is striking and some of the time demonstrates carelessness. After Achilles pulls out from the battle, Athena rouses Diomedes with such mental fortitude that he really wounds two divine beings, Aphrodite and Ares

Odysseus

A fine hero and the cleverest of the Achaean officers. Alongside Nestor, Odysseus is one of the Achaeans’ two best open speakers. He intercedes among Agamemnon and Achilles during their squabble and regularly keeps them from settling on ill-advised choices.

Nestor

Lord of Pylos and the most seasoned Achaean commandant. In spite of the fact that age has taken a lot of Nestor’s actual strength, it has left him with extraordinary shrewdness. He regularly goes about as a consultant to the military leaders, particularly Agamemnon. Nestor and Odysseus are the Achaeans’ generally deft and enticing speakers, despite the fact that Nestor’s addresses are at times indulgent.

Achilles

The child of the military man Peleus and the ocean sprite Thetis. The most remarkable champion in The Iliad, Achilles orders the Myrmidons, troopers from his country of Phthia in Greece. Glad and resolute, he complains effectively and responds with rankling irateness when he sees that his honor has been insulted. Achilles’ fierceness at Agamemnon for claiming his conflict reward, the lady Briseis, structures the fundamental subject of The Iliad.

Agamemnon (likewise called “Atrides”)

Ruler of Mycenae and head of the Achaean armed force; sibling of King Menelaus of Sparta. Egotistical and regularly narrow minded, Agamemnon gives the Achaeans solid yet once in a while wild and self-serving initiative. Like Achilles, he needs thought and planning. Most remarkably, his awkward appointment of Achilles’ conflict prize, the lady Briseis, makes an emergency for the Achaeans, when Achilles, offended, pulls out from the conflict.

If you are interested in seeing the mural discussed in this article, please stop by Portofino’s Greek and Italian Restaurant at 6407 Ringgold Rd, East Ridge, TN 37412.

Regarding the Injustice of Civil Forfeiture Within the United States

In its infancy, America’s founders set out to establish and secure the social liberties of its citizens. The rundown of “repeated injuries and usurpations,” by King George III, as outlined in the Declaration of Independence, was a reflection of the personalities of the individuals who drafted the Constitution. They needed an administration that by and large avoided our lives and went into them just in light of specific circumstances. However, Americans today are progressively deceived by quite possibly the most tricky infringement of social equality the country has ever seen. 

It is referred to as civil forfeiture and it is the practice by which the government can hold onto your property and monetary resources—with only the justification of suspicion. Under civil forfeiture laws, the public authority can take your home, your business, your cash—basically any property—in light of the simple suspicion of bad behavior. 

Part of the reason more Americans are not in shock over this practice is that they simply cannot believe it actually occurs; the writers of the Constitution intended to protect us from such maltreatment. All things considered, the Fourth Amendment is supposed to protect us against unreasonable search and seizure right? Isn’t the eighth Amendment expected to protect us from inordinate fines? 

Stories of civil forfeiture are frequently met with suspicion and disbelief. Tragically, they are often true and further maltreatments continue to occur.

In Philadelphia, the public authority has raised civil forfeiture to an artistic expression. Specialists there seize somewhere in the range of three hundred and five hundred homes as well as different bits of land each year. Somewhere in the range of 2002 and 2012, the city gathered more than sixty-four million in civil forfeitures. Not to be outperformed, experts in New Mexico offer direct workshops on how governments can benefit from civil forfeiture. 

Under American law, litigants are assumed innocent until proven guilty. Yet, in civil forfeiture, individuals are presumed guilty. The burden of proof rests with the person in question, who is forced to refute any wrongdoing, despite the fact that she has not been accused of anything. 

Driving innocent citizens to basically refute a negative before their property is returned to them approaches absurdity. Most targets of civil forfeiture are almost always unable to recover the items taken from them; the burden of proof is excessively cumbersome, especially for individuals who do not have the financial ability to retaliate in light of the fact that the government has taken their resources. 

Civil forfeiture is the stuff of third-world despots and it is not welcome in a free society. Up until now, the individuals focusing on this issue have been largely bipartisan.  Subsequently, Congress needs to make a move by getting control over or nullifying civil forfeiture altogether.

If you have become the target of civil forfeiture, or have further questions regarding it, please contact Logan and Thompson at 423-476-2251 or find them online at loganthompsonlaw.com.

The Social Portrayal of Dogs In Art At the Mountain Oaks Manor

Social portrayals of dogs in art have gotten more detailed as the connection between humans and dogs has evolved. For the most part, dogs represent confidence and devotion. A dog, when remembered for a metaphorical print or painting, depicts the quality of loyalty embodied. As hunting scenes became popular in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, a pack of chasing dogs set at the feet of two trackers represented dutifulness and devotion. As times and the role of dogs changed, they came to represent dependability, reliability, and love.

Chasing scenes address basic themes in archaic and Renaissance art. They embodied a game selected by the nobility, and chasing represents a fundamental piece of court manners. Portraits of individuals with chasing dogs, birds of prey, or hawks would signify status. Hunters utilized various dog breeds in various chases, and they remained so well known during the Middle Ages, that dogs chased wild bears out of England. To this very day, the English hunting season is a cherished part of the English aristocratic existence.

As dogs became more obedient, they arose as man’s best friend and appeared regularly painted sitting on their master’s lap. All through craftsmanship history, primarily in Western workmanship, there is a mind-boggling presence of dogs as superficial points of interest and pets in paintings. Families invited dogs into their homes and they became treasured components of the family. Dogs turned out to be profoundly respected by the privileged societies, who utilized them for hunting. Hunting dogs came to be by and large associated with the privileged.

A great piece of art depicting the loyalty and devotion of dogs can be found hanging in a tea room at Mountain Oaks Manor. “Evening” encompasses an accurate representation of dogs’ unwavering dedication and reliability. In this painting, the group of dogs is addressed as obediently following their lords, on their way to the English chase. To see this beautiful piece of art and many, many others, please visit the second floor of the Mountain Oaks Manor at 9508 Church St. in Ooltewah, TN, or find out more about the tea room online at mountainoaksmanor.com.

Key Questions to Ask Before Visiting a Personal Care Facility 

With most personal care inhabitants across the country having gotten their COVID-19 inoculations and new information showing a descending pattern in cases and passings, the government Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is asking states to ease limitations on in-person visits at personal care facilities. 

Here is key data about the subsequent stages toward rejoining with friends and family in long term healthcare facilities. 

When can I resume visiting my loved one in a personal care facility? 

State authorities have commonly followed CMS rules in confining or opening up guest admittance to personal care facilities. Sooner rather than later, you ought to be able to have the option to resume visits.  

The refreshed government direction — which came after AARP and different backers for more seasoned Americans approached the CMS to open up guest access — urges nursing homes to permit indoor appearance as a rule, regardless of whether the office or its local area are viewed as in flare-up status for COVID-19. There would be a couple of special cases — for instance, if the inhabitant you wish to see is contaminated, or if that individual has not been inoculated and the local area Covid spread in the encompassing region stays high. 

Forthcoming state selection of those rules, appearance keeps on relying generally upon whether there are dynamic COVID-19 cases in your loved one’s facility, and conceivably on case numbers in the encompassing local area. 

The CMS’s past rules, given in September 2020 and to a great extent received by the states, suggested permitting indoor visits if an office has been without cases for 14 days and is situated in a district with an inspiration rate on Covid trial of under 10%. For common sense purposes, that kept offices generally shut to guests as COVID-19 cases and passings flooded broadly in late 2020, inside and out of personal care facilities.

Where visits are permitted, they by and large should be by appointment and during indicated hours. In certain states, just a couple of individuals are permitted to visit a specific occupant at a time, and the general number of guests in an office at a given time is covered. Get some information about its own guidelines before you appear. 

Should not something be said about “humane consideration” visits? Would I be able to visit my loved one in such situations? 

The CMS is approaching states to permit indoor “humane consideration” visits in all conditions. From the get-go in the pandemic, this was broadly deciphered as of importance when a personal care occupant is close to the end of life. However, in its September direction, the CMS explained different circumstances steady with the aim of humane and empathetic consideration, for example, 

  1.  A recently conceded occupant is battling with the adjustment in climate and absence of actual family support.
  2.  An occupant is lamenting for an as of late expired companion or relative.
  3. An occupant needs inciting or consolation to eat or drink, help recently given by a friend or family member or other parental figure, and is encountering weight reduction or lack of hydration.
  4. An occupant is giving indications of overwhelming misery from separation; for instance, talking rarely or crying often.
  5. The CMS says that the rundown of situations is not intended to be comprehensive and that humane consideration visits ought not be restricted to relatives yet can be led by any person that can address the inhabitant’s issues, for example, ministry or lay people offering strict and otherworldly help.
  6. Various states, including Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Texas, have embraced “fundamental parental figure” arrangements. Under these projects, nursing homes may permit more noteworthy access (for instance, longer and more successive visits) to an assigned relative or other individual who offers fundamental help to an occupant, for example, assist with day by day living exercises like eating, washing and preparing.
  7. Converse with your adored one’s office or your neighborhood long haul care ombudsman about masterminding merciful consideration visits.

What sorts of wellbeing checks do nursing homes run on guests? 

As it has all through the pandemic, the CMS keeps on suggesting “screening of all who enter the office for signs and side effects of COVID-19,” including: 

  1. Checking guests’ temperatures,
  2. Interrogating them regarding indications and possible openness, and 
  3. Noticing them for any indications or indications of contamination. 

Passage would be denied to any individual who has had close contact with a COVID-19-positive individual in the past 14 days. 

The rules do not need nursing homes to test guests for COVID-19. Yet, they do propose that offices in zones with medium or high COVID-19 transmission rates offer tests nearby where practical or urge guests to get tried all alone, so that individuals who are contaminated yet asymptomatic don’t unconsciously taint others. 

Will I need to wear a cover and stay 6 feet from my loved one? 

In all likelihood, face-coverings will stay one of the “center standards” for forestalling new nursing home episodes recorded in the government rules and is a staple of state-level guidelines for continuing appearance. 

The new government direction suggests that offices permit some actual contact among occupants and friends and family, like embracing and clasping hands, if the inhabitant has been completely inoculated and the guest is concealed. Guests ought to stay at any rate 6 feet from different inhabitants and staff. 

To keep up separating as per state and government rules, personal care facilities are for the most part: 

  1. restricting guests’ developments inside an office, expecting them to go straightforwardly to their cherished one’s room or an assigned visiting region; 
  2. expecting visits to be planned for advance;
  3. allowing visits just during select hours; and
  4. managing the quantity of individuals who can visit an inhabitant, and the general number of guests on location, at some random time. 

How else would I be able to deal with and limit dangers to occupants? 

Consider getting a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether the office or your state requires it. 

Another alternative is to make a few visits virtual. Videoconferencing and visit stages like Zoom, Skype and FaceTime have provided help for occupants and families during the pandemic, and proceeding to utilize them now and again even after lockdowns lift can limit openings for ailments to spread.

Step by Step Instructions to Wearing a Wig With Confidence

Numerous ladies who have experienced hair loss because of cancer treatment say that losing their hair is akin to losing part of their character. Your hair might be a significant piece of your mental self view and style, and it very well may be disturbing when it is no longer there.

In the same way as other ladies who experience treatment-related balding, you may conclude that wearing a wig is the correct answer for you. Nevertheless, wearing a wig can feel new or awkward from the start, particularly in the event that you have never worn one before.

Despite the fact that you might be feeling troubled or uncertain about losing your hair, there are approaches to help deal with the process of wearing a wig. Here are a couple of tips to kick you off on your excursion to wearing a wig with confidence.

Do your examination

Wigs come in various kinds of styles, shadings, and lengths, and we as a whole have our very own inclinations about how we need our hair to look. There are numerous online assets where you can discover data to assist you with picking the correct wig for you and videos to assist you with figuring out how to style a wig. Information is power — settling on educated buys and style choices will help you feel more sure about the wigs you decide to wear.

Keep it comparative

Picking a wig that seems to be like how your hair looked before you began to encounter going bald can be a straightforward method. When looking for a wig, it very well may be useful to have a couple of photos of your favored haircut, shading, and length. Having these reference photographs can make it simpler to discover a wig that is nearest to what in particular you are used to.

Redo your cut

You can take your hairpiece to your hairdresser to get it simply the manner in which you need — have bangs trimmed or managed, have the style formed to your face shape, or have it dispersed to eliminate an overabundance hair. Recollect that wigs look the most natural when the hair is not entirely set up, so do not hesitate to play with the hair and style it how you need.

Customize your look

Wearing a wig does not mean you need to wear it in a similar manner constantly. Have a go at adding a headband, scarf, or any hair assistant to make an individual touch.

Embrace your style

Regardless of whether you are wearing a wig that is like your regular hair or you have picked an absolutely new cut and color, make sure you embrace it and exude confidence! In any case, be patient with yourself and the process of finding the perfect style of wig for you. Everybody’s experience with balding is unique, and it could require days or even months to begin feeling great with wearing a wig.

If all else fails, connect

Recall that you are in good company. Each and every wig wearer started their excursion where you are at this moment. On the off chance that you have questions, concerns, or simply need to vent, have a go at joining an online care group or discussion zeroed in on treatment-related balding.   Discovering people who share your experience can change your entire attitude toward wearing a wig.

Expect remarks from loved ones

It is altogether your decision to decide when and even if you will share insights regarding your balding and subsequent wig experience with others. Hair is close to home, so it is dependent upon you to choose when you are prepared to share what you are going through — recall that you do not owe anyone an explanation.

Nonetheless, expect that individuals in your day to day existence may see an adjustment in your appearance and that they may get some feedback about it. You may not realize how to react the first occasion when somebody inquires as to whether you have changed your hairdo or on the off chance that you are wearing a wig — and that is OK. Expecting these inquiries and setting up a reaction can help you feel more certain about your decision to wear a wig.

A basic and direct way you can react to such an inquiry without going into subtleties is, “My hair looks different today because I am wearing a wig. I needed to have a go at something new! Do you like it?” How much or how little you share is completely your personal decision.

Recollect it is not unexpected to feel anxious

It’s OK to feel reluctant or apprehensive when you first venture out into public in a wig.  You may worry that individuals will notice that you are wearing a wig or that your hair looks artificial. That is ordinary. Attempt to recall that the vast majority of people are so overwhelmed by their own lives that they probably will not even notice changes in your appearance like you figure they do. Likewise, wig innovation has improved a tremendous amount throughout the long term — trim fronts and monofilament highlights look so regular, the vast majority will not understand you are wearing a wig.

For further questions regarding this topic, please call the Wig Palace at 423-894-0157 or check them out online at www.thewigpalace.com.

Church Accounting Services And What Outsourcing Means For Your Organization

When was simply the last time you asked how your congregation was doing with its financials? All things considered, your bookkeeping framework is your association’s monetary spine. The response to this inquiry should advise you: 

  • How much cash you at present have 
  • In case you’re spending more than anticipated 
  • In case you’re equipped for covering your bills 
  • What your arrangement is for your present cash 
  • In case you’re in the red 

To help, strong asset bookkeeping programming for your congregation and an accountant who understands what they are doing are firmly recommended. Without it, you face hazards like getting behind and missing significant cutoff times while speculating about your association’s monetary wellbeing. You may likewise be uncertain if it’s being completed properly, particularly if the monetary reports are off base in any capacity. Your reports can even begin neutralizing you with pointless or misdirecting data. No one needs that. 

Along these lines, in the event that you have at any point contemplated internally, “I surrender! I can not adequately keep up with my bookkeeping!,” at that point it very well might be an indication that you ought to reevaluate your congregation’s accounting. 

Paying for somebody to do your books may sound threatening, yet here are nine motivations to consider rethinking your accounting and putting resources into your monetary wellbeing. 

1. Rethinking with chapel bookkeeping administrations = more precise accounting 

In the average small church setting, the individual doing the accounting regularly does not have a great deal of preparing in bookkeeping. By reevaluating your books, you get a full group of prepared individuals who have insight. This guarantees: 

  • You will not miss significant cutoff times
  • Mix-ups will be undeniably more uncertain
  • Your assigned assets are isolated effectively in the books 
  • Your financials are flawless, represented, adjusted, and forward-thinking 
  • Different kinds of pay are represented accurately 

2. Ability and experience 

The magnificence of employing an expert to deal with your bookkeeping is only that! An expert will really oversee it. Employing a bookkeeper can be cost-restrictive, yet by re-appropriating with chapel bookkeeping administrations, you approach a significant degree of mastery. They can respond to complex inquiries and guarantee you’re following prescribed procedures. 

3. Church bookkeeping administrations lessen the danger of misrepresentation 

By and large, small churches had 49.2% less controls set up to forestall misrepresentation. A reevaluated bookkeeper has experience executing solid inward controls, and on the grounds that they’re unprejudiced, they can help diminish these dangers. 

4. Save time 

You have 1,000,000 things you need to do every day to keep your association running, and your mastery in those territories is a significantly more proficient utilization of your time. Having a reevaluated accountant can let loose this authoritative errand, so you can burn through your effort zeroing in on accomplishing your central goal and dealing with the everyday activities. Another advantage is you can recruit an accountant for a measure of time you decide. Numerous organizations may just see their clerk once per year, during charge season. 

5. More consistency 

Most places of worship have a financier or volunteer who assists with the books.  However these individuals will in general go back and forth. Reevaluating with small church bookkeeping administrations implies you will not stress over scrambling to discover help ultimately. You will not fall behind while you sit tight for another clerk, train approaching volunteers, or fix expensive errors made by individuals who are as yet getting familiar with everything. 

6. Church bookkeeping administrations improve measures 

A secret advantage of re-appropriating is it really improves your present monetary cycle. Reevaluated bookkeepers have insight with best practices that improve the proficiency and accurateness of information, so it is a smooth cycle to simplify it to import information and close the books. 

7. Better knowledge into your financials 

Having an expert deal with your record implies they’ll have cutting-edge records and can give understanding into your monetary position. Exceptional financials let you expect income, lessen costs, and better your association’s monetary position. 

8. Better understanding into giving 

Your re-appropriated accountant can likewise help screen giving for your association. Accurately following pay for each assigned reason allows you to produce reports to see giving patterns. It additionally allows you to screen supplier maintenance, make commitment proclamations, and welcome new providers. 

9. You can be a superior steward of your assets 

Precise following of your assets gives your congregation affirmation that you are utilizing their commitments well and are filling their assigned needs. With incredible monetary detailing, you can show how your congregation is achieving your central goal with financial obligations. You can likewise have the reports you need to meet award prerequisites and plans for future undertakings. 

9 Steps For Getting A Divorce Or Legal Separation By Logan-Thompson, P.C

  1. Settle on a joint appeal or not. A joint request for separation implies that you and your spouse will file the Petition together. The benefit of a joint appeal is that the filing charge is shared and each spouse is in the know. If filed separately, the filing party pays the filing expense and the respondent (the spouse who is not documenting the Petition) does not know about the petition in its entirety.
  2. Record the summons and request a joint appeal with the Clerk of Circuit Court in the district where you reside. This recording of the request begins the activity and time span for when you can get a judgment of separation or legal divorce.
  3. Secure a temporary hearing on the off chance that you need it. A temporary hearing happens under the Family Court Commissioner and is intended to address the issues of child guardianship, child arrangement, utilization of the family home, cars or other individual property, bills, and upkeep or spousal help.
  4. Schedule a date and time for a pretrial hearing. The appeal ensures that the Clerk of Circuit Court assigns you a court date for a pretrial meeting with a circuit court judge. At a pretrial meeting, the court will pick a date for the last separation hearing. 
  1. Serve the other spouse with the summons and appeal. Evidence of administration should be recorded with the Clerk of Circuit Court. 
  1. Attend a Temporary Order Hearing. At this point, you will be given a date and time to show up under the watchful eye of a family court official. At the conference, you can express your side of the situation for the purpose of securing child support and visitation for your children. Regularly, spouses will concede to a brief issue and the family court magistrate will acknowledge the arrangement on the chance that it is reasonable and serves the wellbeing of the children. In the event that spouses do not have an arrangement, an evidentiary hearing will be held and orders will be made by the family court judge.
  1. Complete paperwork and file it before the last hearing. This incorporates a settlement understanding, a monetary revelation explanation, imperative measurements structure and the discoveries of reality, finishes of law and judgment of separation.
  2. Go to the last hearing. This is an evidentiary hearing where you should communicate your perspective to the court official, if there is an understanding. On the off chance that there is no arrangement, there is a generous measure of data that should be given to the Court with the goal for you to accomplish your ideal result.
  3. Take care of potential issues. After the judgment is conceded, steps should be taken to separate retirement records and ledgers. You may have to get ready and sign deeds to move land. Basically, title to property must be appropriately relegated and moved. This can be lumbering and ordinarily spouses are just relieved “to be done” with the court cycle. I call this the additional mile. Finish the race by seeing through the fulfillment of these things. If you neglect to do as such, you never really cross the end goal and you won’t encounter the award. Ensure that a certified lawyer walks you right through to the end.

For further information on obtaining a divorce or legal separation, please contact Logan-Thompson at 423.476.2251 or check them out online at www.loganthompsonlaw.com

Four Reasons to Wear a Wig

1. Diminishing HAIR

Losing your hair can be extraordinarily embarrassing. Hair loss can be brought about by an ailment or societal pressure. While balding for ladies can be extraordinarily upsetting, there are various hair treatment alternatives accessible. While searching for the reason as to why you may be losing your hair, you can wear a hairpiece. In the event that you are managing diminishing hair, a hairpiece can step in and take care of the issue, rather than an entire wig.

2. Taking a stab at A DIFFERENT HAIRSTYLE

You do not need to trim or color your hair to undergo a complete hairstyle change. Wearing a hairpiece gives you a choice to switch up your look every day. Need to go blonde? Or on the other hand, need to take a stab at a pixie hairstyle? Need to go from wavy to straight or directly to wavy? You can, without much of a stretch change, your haircut with a hairpiece. A trim front hairpiece is known for giving a characteristic appearance.

3. Protect YOUR REAL HAIR

Wearing a wig can keep your genuine hair fit as a fiddle. For those who have undergone terrible hair coloring debacles, the experience of utilizing an amateur beautician can frequently be unfavorable. Or then again, there are the individuals who battle to get their hair to an attractive length, and would rather not have their hair cut at all. In such cases, a wig presents an optimal option rather than cutting your hair.

4. Costume PARTY

Another motivation to wear a wig is for an ensemble party. Regardless of whether Halloween, a disguise gathering, or somebody’s birthday occasion, wearing a hairpiece can, without much of a stretch, take your outfit from rather ordinary to stunning. You can channel your inward Wonder Woman in a long dark hairpiece. Need to look like Diana Ross? Wear a major afro style.

Churches and Finances: Tax Exempt Status and Internal Audit Procedures

In general, charitable contributions that are provided to a nonprofit organization can only be deducted by a taxpayer if the organization has filed for tax-exempt status. IRC §501(c)(3) states “Exemption application not filed. Donors may not deduct any charitable contribution to an organization that is required to apply for recognition of exemption but has not done so.” This stipulation does not apply to the church organization because a church organization is not required to file for tax-exempt status. Therefore, a taxpayer may claim the deduction, even if the church organization has not filed for tax-exempt status.

Sometimes a church is advised to file for tax-exempt status to assure taxpayers that their contributions are deductible. This application is made on IRS Form 1023 Application for Recognition of Exemption under IRC §501(c)(3). Benefits of exempt status include public recognition of tax-exempt status, exemption from certain state taxes, assurance to donors of deductibility of contributions, exemption from federal excise taxes, and nonprofit mailing privileges. It is not clear that this is good advice.

In addition to complying with GAAP, the church should have an adequate system of internal controls in place to assure 1) that assets are safeguarded, 2) that financial statements are reliable and 3) that management policies are followed effectively and efficiently. It is often the nature of church members to hold a certain level of trust for fellow members, including those members placed into a position of financial management. Even so, it is necessary to employ internal audit procedures in the church organization. Audit procedures help to assure the people that make contributions to the church that the funds are handled responsibly. Audit procedures also protect those people in contact with the funds against possible accusations of inappropriate handling. These internal procedures do not need to be complicated but should be followed and enforced.

Items that can be evaluated in an internal audit are not only related to financial performance. Nonfinancial operations, such as attendance rates can also be evaluated, along with policies established by the church government and laws.

A church accounting system should have a minimum of three positions including 1) a controller, 2) a financial secretary and 3) a finance-budget committee. The qualifications of these positions are important.

A knowledgeable person with proven accounting ability should be chosen to hold the position of controller. If the controller’s normal accounting profession involves normal business reporting and planning, this person should be able to remove themselves from the regular reporting and planning techniques and be able to focus on the interests of the church organization.

The financial secretary is often in charge of maintaining accounting records and may also prepare checks for signature. It is good policy to require the signature on the check to be a different person than the person preparing the check. Often, two signatures are required for checks exceeding a predetermined amount according to church policy.

The persons selected for the finance-budget committee should also be knowledgeable of accounting and financial management. It is common for churches to select committee members based on their popularity or position in the church, and not because of their ability to contribute to financial matters. Therefore, the church should be careful in its selection of people who will be involved in the financial administration of the organization.

Often, one of the functions of the finance-budget committee is to establish an audit committee. This audit committee may be charged to reconcile, or review the reconciliation, of the church bank account and they may also be charged to examine contribution records to confirm that they agree with actual contributions.

The audit committee should be encouraged to conduct a periodic internal audit of the church. Loudell Ellis records a number of objectives of a church audit:

  • To determine that adequate internal control procedures exist and that such procedures are being followed.
  • To determine that all donations to the church were deposited and recorded correctly.
  • To determine that securities were safeguarded and that related revenue was collected and recorded.
  • To determine that disbursements were properly authorized (i.e. that the budget was followed or that changes were approved) and that authorized members approved payment of invoices.
  • To determine that payments to vendors at year-end were not delayed because of overspending the budget.
  • To determine that records were maintained on plant and equipment items and that adequate insurance was obtained.
  • To determine compliance with federal and state regulations, including properly and timely paid employment taxes and income taxes, if applicable.
  • To recommend improved procedures and practices.
  • The audit committee should assess whether the financial goals of the church were met regarding whether expenses were met, whether debt was managed properly and whether funds were used as the contributor intended.

EXTERNAL AUDITS

Many churches prepare their financial statements internally rather than have them prepared and reviewed by a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). For larger churches, this approach may introduce problems in dealing with organizations outside of the church. For instance, if a church with insufficient collateral were to apply to a banking institution for a loan, that banking institution may require audited financial statements, among a number of other reports. Audited statements may also be desirable as verification of internal audit procedures or as an additional assurance to the members and stakeholders that financial statements are accurate. For these reasons, a church may voluntarily undergo external audits conducted by a CPA.

While it is true that the church organization is exempt from taxes and need not file Form 990 with the IRS under IRC§501(a), the IRS may, under certain circumstances, require an audit. Religious organizations exempt from taxes are expected to report and pay taxes on unrelated business income exceeding $1000 using Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return. IRC§7611 outlines restrictions on church tax inquiries and examinations.

The IRS has very specific guidelines and restrictions regarding its ability to examine church records and activities. The first step for the IRS is to conduct an inquiry of the church. IRC §7611 dictates that the IRS may submit for a church tax inquiry if there is a reasonable belief that 1) the organization may not be exempt, by reason of its status as a church or 2) it is carrying on an unrelated trade or business or otherwise engaged in activities subject to taxation. A notice of inquiry must be sent to the church in advance and is required to contain an explanation of the concerns that gave rise to an inquiry and the general subject matter of an inquiry. Also included in the notice are any applicable administrative and constitutional provisions regarding the inquiry, including the right to a conference with the IRS before any examination of church records.

Once these inquiry requirements have been met, an examination can then be arranged. This examination of church records may only be to the extent necessary to determine the liability for, and the amount of, any tax imposed. This examination may also only be to the extent necessary to determine whether an organization claiming to be a church, is a church for any period.

At least fifteen days prior to the examination, a notice is provided to the church and to the regional IRS counsel. This provides reasonable time for the church to participate in a conference, but only if the church requests a conference before the examination. This notice of examination must contain 1) a copy of the church tax inquiry notice, 2) a description of the church records and activities that are to be examined, 3) an offer to have a conference to discuss concerns relating to the examination and an attempt to resolve these concerns, and 4) a copy of all documents collected and prepared by the IRS for use in the examination (this disclosure is required by the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C.552).

Once the examination of church records has started, the IRS examiner may examine any church records or religious activities which were not specified in the examination notice, as long as there is a reasonable belief that 1) the organization may not be exempt, by reason of its status as a church or 2) it is carrying on an unrelated trade or business or otherwise engaged in activities subject to taxation.

An example of the application of IRC §7611 can be observed in a dispute between the IRS and a church organization. In 1989, the IRS went to court regarding a dispute with the Church of Scientology Flag Service Org, Inc. and its secretary and directors. The church claimed that a number of violations occurred regarding the involvement of the IRS and its examination of the church. The church claimed that the inquiry notice did not adequately explain the subject matter or the concerns of the inquiry. The church also claimed that there was not sufficient evidence to question the exempt status of the church. The court found that the IRS did in fact comply with IRC §7611 by stating in the inquiry notice that the tax-exempt status was questionable due to the church’s “substantially commercial purpose”. The inquiry letter also stated that the church’s agreements regarding trademarks, patents, copyrights, and trade names would lead to operations of the church that are not consistent with the tax-exempt status it claimed.

The church also contended that the reasonableness of the claim that the church’s tax-exempt status was not valid. The court stated that IRS was required to comply with the notice requirement, which it did, and that the church has no ground to challenge the belief of the IRS regarding the reasonableness of the claim.

The church claimed that the IRS’ participation in the conference held before the examination was not for the purpose of settling their concerns, but was merely “going through the motions” to comply with the code. The court stated that whether or not those claims are true, the IRS code does not require that the conference hold any good faith or sincerity. The code only states that a conference must be held, and no further laws regarding the content of the conference are in place.

The only claims of the church that were referred to the United States Magistrate was a claim regarding whether or not the items requested by the IRS are necessary for the determination of the church’s tax-exempt status, and a claim regarding the allowance of discovery by the church to provide whether the IRS was acting in bad faith.

Conclusions

Religious organizations are an interesting segment of the not-for-profit sector. The concept of “separation for church and state” interpreted from the United States Constitution means that certain exceptions must be made for religious organizations regarding financial reporting. Even so, religious organizations should comply with GAAP in order to assure that assets are safeguarded, that financial statements are reliable, and to make sure that management policies are followed.

The use of internal controls in a church is important. While a high level of trust exists between the church members and those in the position of financial management, audit controls are needed to assure the membership that funds are handled responsibly. Audit procedures also protect those in positions of financial management against possible accusations of improper handling. It is also recommended that large churches have a periodic external audit conducted by a CPA.

Ways to Stay in Touch with Elderly Loved Ones During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it remarkably difficult for families to keep in contact with senior friends and family. Individuals who are 65 years of age or older, or who live in senior care facilities, have been recorded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as high-hazard for the infection. For most families, protecting senior friends and family from disease implies doing so without face-to-face visits and finding alternative approaches to associate with one another.

Fortunately, there are more assets accessible than any other time to help families stay close even while socially distancing. Following are some suggestions for protected and imaginative approaches to remain close with senior friends and family during this difficult time.

1. Make video calling simple

Apparatuses like FaceTime, Skype, Zoom and WhatsApp permit families to communicate effectively through video calls. The majority of these applications and stages are free to download. FaceTime video calling comes standard with iPhones, while Skype and Zoom offer free video conferencing on an assortment of gadgets.  Furthermore, WhatsApp is a free video calling and communication application that can be used with Androids or iOS.

With all of these various choices, it can be confusing or difficult to know which one should be used when communicating with your senior loved one.  To make it simpler, let your senior relative’s necessities function as a  guide. The best applications tend to be those that are easy to utilize and that are free for friends and family.  On the off chance that your senior already has a cell phone, tablet or PC, speaking via a video chat may be the least demanding choice. If your senior has already been utilizing a specific application, feel free to proceed with that.

2. Plan a window visit

You have probably seen viral photographs of “window visits” individuals are having with senior relatives at their homes or outside of their senior care facilities.. During these visits, relatives stay outside, yet they talk with their loved one on the telephone or carry handcrafted signs with messages. It seems considerably more like an ordinary visit when seniors can see their friends and family, even if it’s only through a window.

Notwithstanding window visits, families are additionally putting a social separating turn on different sorts of house calls. For example, friends and family may sit on their patio and loved ones sit on a folding chair in the yard far away and visit that way, or from a vehicle.

3. Take a virtual get-away

Certainly, most retreats, exhibition halls and other fun places are shut to general society. Nevertheless, you and your senior loved one can investigate the world together from the security of your own home. For instance, why not call them and take a visit through an online historical center together?

You can experience free online virtual voyages through Yellowstone National Park, the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, the Louver in Paris and even Mars. However long your senior cherished one has access to a savvy gadget, they will have the option to visit with you through your desired web application.

4. Rediscover snail mail

Putting a letter in the mail is still a viable alternative, and it can give anybody a passionate lift to get a card, letter or blessing via the post office.

Consider sending letters consistently, and  utilize snail mail as an approach to inform friends and family of unique or informative events when you can not all physically be together.

All things considered, the CDC likewise suggests that everybody wash hands with cleanser and water for at least twenty seconds or utilize a hand sanitizer containing sixty percent alcohol before sending out or receiving mail.

5. Enroll guardians’ assistance

On the off chance that your senior loved one has restricted capacities or lives in a senior care home, see how on-site staff can assist them in keeping in contact.  For example, numerous facilities are purchasing tablets and having staff take them to inhabitants’ rooms intermittently to video visit with their families.  This is especially significant for occupants who can not participate in such functions without the assistance of someone else.

In case you are going the non-electronic course, staff at senior care facilities can likewise be approached to help with letters and cards so your cherished one can furnish you with regular updates.

6. Utilize the telephone, and do so twice as regularly

The telephone still works, and hearing from family and friends can make a big difference in a senior’s day.  Consider increasing the number of calls you make to loved ones who are isolated.

Reaching out to loved ones via social media or the telephone is crucial, as social isolation can lead to hypertension, coronary illness, weight gain, anxiety, and dementia.

Staying in touch with friends and family who are in senior care facilities during COVID-19 can be challenging, but with the applications available today, a little effort can certainly go a long way.