I had an international church contact me. I know the person and have verified it is the person who contacted me, so this not a scam.
He lives and works in a country outside the USA. He attends an International Church there. The International Church has expat members from around the globe who live/work there. The country where they live does not allow churches to open a bank account. But the church would like to provide an option for their members to give electronically. So there a several great solutions out there, but the issue still comes back to the bank account. Since they are not registered in the USA, my understanding is they cannot open a bank account here.
Does anyone have any experience with this type of scenerio and have suggestions/recommendations on how they can set up electronic giving and legally be able to set up a bank account in the USA or another country?
Steve, I’d like to help. What country is the church currently located in?
Will there be anti-laundering laws in both countries that need considering?
Cash giving might be the safest with the least hassle. Would there be a possibility that the unmentioned country firewall the giving platform in the future?
A solution could be to work with a USA Ministry/Church which already has an outreach in the unmentioned country and who might already have a legal method.
A little more detail here if that helps you, Steve:
- If the church location itself is in a country that is currently on the OFAC list then there is little that can be done from the United States.
- Distributing assets back to the country in question must also be verified with the country receiving the funds and their local laws. If a church can’t open a bank account they may not also be able to legally receive foreign money as well. You may want to verify what constraints the church has.
- If the church is intending to own a US bank account as a non resident organization of the US then they will need to setup a charitable organization in the US.
The rules for this are complicated but the most important starting question is what country the church is located. With that information you can determine what laws apply and what possible solutions exist.