Michigan Sales Tax: Applies to Churches too!

Michigan Sales Tax Act applies to all churches that make sales at retail (defined as the sale of tangible personal property for any purpose to the ultimate consumer (MCL 205.51(1) (b)) must apply for and receive a sales tax license. (MCL 205.53.) If the annual retail sales of the church are less than $5,000, then the church is exempt from paying any sales tax. (MCL 205.54o.) However, they must still receive a sales tax license. If the aggregate sales exceed $5,000 per year, then the tax applies to all sales. It is not an exemption of the first $5,000. Every subdivision of a single church (UMW, youth group, men’s group, choir, etc.) is considered part of the same church for purposes of calculating the $5,000 limit.

Churches can apply for a sales tax license online through the Michigan Department of Treasury website. They need to complete Form 518. (Click here to read the sales tax booklet)

Churches and other nonprofits qualify as businesses and individuals under the sales tax act. When they sell something to the final consumer, the sales tax applies. In other words, when they sell something to the person who is going to use it (or eat it), they must collect sales tax.

Mortgage Burning Ceremony at Dunes UMC


GRAND HAVEN, Mich., May 5, 2015 — Thanks to the generous donations and tenacity of their church family, the United Methodist Church of the Dunes will be celebrating the payoff of their mortgage with a special combined service on Sunday, May 17 at 10:00 a.m., brunch at 11:00 a.m., and a mortgage burning ceremony at noon.

The church is located at 717 Sheldon Road in Grand Haven on a very choice 8-acre site known as Hofma Hills. The unique structure was designed by Alden B. Dow, a renowned architect from Midland, Michigan. It was consecrated by 523 grateful members in February 1961.

According to Dow, “This is not just another church copied from blueprints of countless other churches. This is a church to inspire the concept of growth – growth beyond ourselves – beyond walls – beyond this earth and beyond time.”

And grow the church has. In August of 1999 church members took a leap of faith and voted to build an ambitious $1.8MM addition. It was completed in 2001, and on May 20 the addition was dedicated in memory and in honor of Rev. and Mrs. William Wiltse. Rev. Wiltse served as pastor of the church from 1958 – 1964 and was instrumental in the move of the church from its former location on the site of the current Grand Haven Post Office on Washington Street to the wonderful property that has been home since 1960.

“Praise God! Praise the generosity of faithful donors! Praise the boldness of the daring dreamers,” stated the current pastor, Rev. Dr. Glenn Wagner. “We are looking forward to a great morning of celebration and have invited former pastors and members of the families whose inspiration and lead gifts made the dream of our Wiltse Center possible.”

The celebration will kick-off at a combined service at 10:00 a.m. To say thank you to all who made this work possible, a catered dinner will be served to the first 250 who made reservations through the church office. At noon a ceremonial burning of the mortgage will take place in the parking lot in front of the church. The public is invited to participate in all of the events, space permitting.

So what is next for the church? According to Wagner, “We are still dreaming dreams, but would like to keep the church on sound fiscal footing and desire to support future dreams as funds are made available on a pay-as-we-go basis.”

Wagner explains, “With all of us continuing to pull together for the sake of Christ, we will continue to dream big dreams and then with God’s help we will bring those dreams to fruition. As a pastor, I dream of leading this great church in disciple making ministries that reach beyond our walls. I dream of disciples growing through Bible study, via engagement in hands on missions, and through participation in life changing prayer, worship, service, learning, and fellowship experiences.”

How to Help Middle East Refugees

Middle East Refugee: Help through The United Methodist Church

Contributions through The United Methodist Advance Projects are tax deductible.
One hundred percent of the donation goes to the project.
The United Methodist Church pays the administrative costs.

Online Donations

Shepherd’s Society of Bethlehem Bible College
Humanitarian outreach is given to Syrian Refugees by mission teams from Bethlehem Bible College, http://www.bethbc.org.
Photos of prior mission ministry are on Bethlehem Bible College’s Facebook page.
Make donations online at www.umcmission.org.
In the search box enter “Shepherd Society” or “3020439”. Once on their page, choose “donate.” In the gift designation section, enter, “Syrian Refugee Outreach.”

UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief)
Make donations on line www.umcor.org.
Choose “Donate” on the first screen and “International Disaster Response” on the second screen.
The funds will be distributed to the areas of greatest need.

Donate by Check

Shepherd Society of Bethlehem Bible College
Make check out to Advance GCFA, include both Project Number “3020439” and “for Syrian Refugee Outreach” on the memo line.

United Methodist Committee on Relief
Make check out to Advance GCFA include both International Disaster Response Project Number “982450” and “for Syrian Refugees” on the memo line.

Mail to:
Advance GCFA
PO Box 9068
New York, NY 10087-9068

Mental Health First Aid Training: May 17

Mental health conversations are happening all around the country as people are trying to deal with tragedies happening in their own communities. Our faith communities are not immune to people struggling with these issues in their everyday lives. The Mental Health First Aid training  is for anyone who works with youth or adults as well as parents who want to be more informed about what signs they should be aware of as their children grow. This is such an important topic and we need to erase the stigma surrounding mental health issues and start the conversation.

There are two separate trainings  put on by Network 180 one for those working with youth or parents, the other is for those working with adults.

Sign up now for this FREE training! Limited spots available.

To register, please email Matt Witkowski, Community Ministries Director at m.witkowski@grtumc.org or contact by phone at 616-456-7260. Registration closes on May 2.

What:  Mental Health First Aid (Youth and Adult Trainings)

Trinity United Methodist Church
1100 Lake Dr SE
Grand  Rapids, MI 49506

Who:   Network 180
When:  Tuesday, May 17 from 8:30am – 5pm (Lunch provided)
Cost: FREE
To register, please email Matt Witkowski, Community Ministries Director at m.witkowski@grtumc.org or contact by phone at 616-456-7260.
Limited spaces available. Registration closes on May 2.

New & Improved Local Church Dashboard

A new church dashboard
For more than a year we have been working with GCFA to make the Church Dashboard easier to use.  As with any improvement process, there is bound to be a period of adjustment and correction necessary and so we thank you in advance for your grace and understanding as we work to get this right.

We think you will like the new look and function
The goal of the new Church Dashboard is to make your lives and ours easier when it comes to handling and updating information for your church.


  • You now have to go to only one place to update all your church leadership (EZRA). This saves time and reduces errors.
  • You now have the ability to print and bring this info to your annual church conference.

What You Need to Do
You will be using the same username/password provided to you last November to access the Statistics module in EZRA.

If you have previously logged in and changed your username/password you will need to use that to log in to access the new church dashboard.
If not, your username is your 6 digit GCFA ID (Contact Liz for your GCFA ID, grdistrict@wmcumc.org).   Your password is 15wmcgreen.

We’ve included a couple resources for you to use to get started.  First we’ve created a short instructional video to help you get an overview of how to use the new church dashboard. Second, we have a user manual to help answer any questions you might have.
Please contact Liz in the GR District Office if you’re having problems entering your leadership data!

Deadline: Please make all changes by March 17, 2016.

Liz Bode
GR District Office
616.459.4503 ext. 1211