Treasurers of the Regional Chapters have important fiduciary responsibilities. Because Regional Chapters enjoy tax-exempt status as affiliate organizations of The College Music Society, Chapter treasurers are required to perform specific tasks by specific dates, according to the provisions of the tax code of the United States and in keeping with sound financial practices. These tasks include creation of a budget, managing funds, and providing timely reports. These tasks are not onerous, but they do need continuing care and attention. These guidelines are intended to make the Chapter treasurer’s responsibilities and tasks clear and easy.

The Society and the Regional Chapters work together to ensure that their financial health is maintained. This Handbook provides information concerning (1) the general Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines that apply to tax-exempt organizations, (2) how the CMS Board of Directors, CMS Executive Office, and Regional Chapters work together on budgets and financial transactions, and (3) the reporting requirements for Regional Chapter Treasurers.



Tax Status and IRS Reporting Requirements

The Regional Chapters of the Society have been granted tax-exempt status by the IRS under section 501(c)(6) of the Tax Code. The IRS has designated the Chapters as affiliate organizations of the Society. It is not necessary for the Chapters to file an annual tax return with the IRS. IRS reporting requirements are met by the Society through (a) an annual information report filed each fall on behalf of the Regional Chapters, and (b) the Society’s annual tax return.

Financial Policy

The Society views the Regional Chapters as financial partners. This requires two key items: (1) the development of a budget that reflects plans and programs for the following fiscal year, and (2) the submission of an annual financial report. The Chapter budgets are reviewed by the Finance Committee as the Committee develops the budget for the Society for the following fiscal year. With the financial needs of both (a) the Chapters and (b) the Society before it, the Finance Committee is able to understand (1) the scope of Chapter activities for the following year, (2) the financial needs of the Chapters, and (3) how Chapter needs can be cared for within the Society’s budget. The Finance Committee can then determine how to meet those needs most effectively.

Fiscal Year

The Society and its Regional Chapters are on the same fiscal year: August 1 through July 31. References to “the fiscal year” refer to the August through July time frame.



Custodian of Funds

In complance with IRS rules and regulations, the CMS Executive Office serves as custodian of the funds for each Chapter. As part of its accounting system, the office maintains income and expense accounts for the Chapter. All Chapter income is credited to the income account and all Chapter expenses are paid from these funds. This procedure streamlines and insures consistency in financial operations, helps the transition from Treasurer to Treasurer, lessens the Society’s financial risk, and relieves Chapter Treasurers of the added stress and workload of managing the Chapter’s accounts.

Maintaining Detailed Accounting

The Executive Office maintains accurate, detailed accounting of income and expenses for each Chapter. Chapter Treasurers may request from the Executive Office an income and expense statement at any time. This statement will be sent as an MS-Excel spreadsheet via e-mail. To request a statement, simply send an e-mail note to bookkeeper, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Not only is good bookkeeping a proper accounting procedure, its review may be required by the IRS during an audit. Failure to comply with IRS regulations can result in substantial penalties being levied against Chapters and the Society. Please help CMS keep records current by submitting in a timely manner (a) invoices for expenses and (b) income from receipts.



The Regional Chapter Treasurer’s main responsibilities are:

1. Developing and submitting a budget to the Society's Board of Directors by July 1 for the coming fiscal year;

2. Monitoring Chapter income and submitting invoices for payment of Chapter expenses;

3. Providing assistance in support of the annual Regional Conference program; and

4. Submitting a financial report to the Chapter during its annual business meeting.



Budget for the Following Fiscal Year

A budget for the coming fiscal year (August 1–July 31) should be developed by the Chapter Treasure in consultation with Chapter's Officers and submitted to the CMS Vice-President, with a copy to the CMS Executive Office, by July 1. The budget is simply a detailed plan—one that should reflect all the expected income and expense from the coming year’s Regional Conference. The financial plan provides an idea of what the annual conference will cost and what income is expected from it. In general, the CMS Board of Directors expects the Chapters to plan and execute their conferences on a break-even basis. That is, for the budgeting of conferences, income and expense should match. Many Chapter Treasurers have found that the best time to create a budget for the following fiscal year is immediately following the annual spring conference when the operations and expenses are fresh in mind. The budget may be filed any time prior to the due date of July 1.

The budgets for all Chapters will be reviewed by the CMS Finance Committee at its fall meeting and considered in context of the budget for the entire Society. These Chapter budgets will provide the Committee with an idea of the level of program and financial activity that can be expected from the Chapters. The Board's goal continues to be to support the Chapters in their creative efforts to serve the CMS members within their regions.

Treasurers are asked to use the provided Annual Budget Template to develop the Annual Budget. Please include the completed Registration Fee Chart with the final budget.

Constructing the Budget – Expense

In constructing the annual financial plan, please take the following conference expense items into consideration: (1) Speaker/Guest Artist Fees, (2) Support Personnel, (3) Food & Beverage, (4) Facility Rental, (5) Registration Materials, (6) Program Books, and (7) Equipment and Instrument Rental. This list is by no means exhaustive—other legitimate expenses will vary depending on each Chapter’s practices and traditions. Each Chapter is required to include a $10 administrative surcharge per attendee, so this should be factored in when determining the final budget.

As each Regional Conference is advertised in electronic format to members of the Chapter by the CMS Executive Office (e.g., Calls for Program Participation, conference announcements, and reminders), there is no need to budget for printing and postage of these items.

Constructing the Budget – Income

In constructing the annual financial plan, please anticipate all sources of revenue, including (1) conference registration fees, (2) meals revenue, and (3) add-on events. This list is by no means exhaustive and income categories will vary by Chapter.

Conference Registration Fees – As noted above, conference registration fees should cover all expenses for the event. The non-member registration fee (or base rate) should equal or exceed the regular registration fee plus a figure that approximates the cost of full CMS membership. As discounted conference fees are a benefit of membership, discounts will automatically be applied when a member logs into the CMS website prior to registration. The Society recommends offering a discounted registration fee for student and retired members; however, please remember that these discounted fees will need to be subsidized by a higher fee for regular members so that all conference expenses are still covered. In all cases, the amount of each discount is determined by the Chapter. The only stipulation is that the discount amount or percentage (as the case may be) must be the same across all categories of membership. A self-calculating Registration Fee Worksheet has been developed to show how discounts and penalties are applied. In all categories, a discount may be added for online transactions to incentivize registrations well in advance of the program, while a late fee should apply for those who register on site.

Meals Revenue – Meals, receptions, and breaks may either be included in the registration fee or be collected as an additional fee on the registration form—whichever is determined to be most practical for each situation. When constructing the budget the Chapter's Board, in consulation with the conference planning committee, should estimate, to the best of their abilities, associated meal costs and include them in the financial plan.

Add-on Events – Local area tours, special performances, and other events can enhance the overall conference experience and members are usually willing to pay additional fees for them. It is a good idea to budget relatively conservatively for these conference functions in case attendance does not meet expectations.

Treasurers with specific questions about how the CMS Executive Office handles conference income and expense are welcome to direct inquiries to the CMS Director of Professional Activities, Peter Park.

Filing the Completed Budget

Upon completion of the budget, please file the budget and completed Registration Fee Chart with CMS This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and and copy to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Attaching the budget as an Excel file to an email is the preferred method. Kindly note that the deadline for filing the budget is July 1.

The importance of receiving an annual budget from each Chapter cannot be overemphasized. Timely receipt of such information enables the Finance Committee to (a) provide responsible oversight for the finances of the Society, (b) plan responsibly for the future, and (c) meet IRS reporting requirements in a timely manner.



Procedure for Conference Revenue

Online Registration Revenue – All revenue received online for regional conference registrations, meals, and special events will be deposited into the chapter’s account, less a $10 administrative surcharge per registrant. This revenue will be available immediately for the payment of conference expenses.

On-site Registration Revenue – A late fee, determined by each chapter, will apply for all on-site registration. All revenue received on-site for registration fees, meals, and special events will be deposited into the chapter's account, less a $10 administrative surcharge per registrant. Chapters may only accept payment by electronic means. Commencing with the 2022 regional conferences, payment by cash or check is no longer allowed. The Executive Office will create a secure form for on-site credit card transactions, and will faciliate a mobile payment service for fund transfers to accommodate those who either cannot, or do not wish to, pay by credit card. 

Procedure for Conference Expenses

Expenses Prior to the Conference – The CMS Executive Office will work with the Chapter Treasurer to ensure that payments required in advance of the conference (e.g. catering deposits, printing costs) are made. In such cases, the Treasurer should obtain an invoice from the service provider and forward a copy of the invoice to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of the CMS Executive Office (photocopies and PDF files sent via email are acceptable). To allow adequate time for processing, invoices must be received at least two weeks in advance of the payment due date.

Post Conference Expenses – The Chapter Treasurer should collect all invoices for conference expenses and submit them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in the CMS Executive Office within two weeks of the conclusion of the conference. Invoices should be sent together in a single envelope or email. The names and addresses of all vendors, as well as the amount each should be paid should be clear. The CMS Executive Office will ensure that expenses are paid from the Chapter account in a timely manner.

Mileage – It is not necessary to submit receipts when applying for mileage reimbursement; however, an accurate notation of the total number miles driven must be provided. As of January 1, 2022, the Society reimburses mileage at the IRS rate of $.585 per mile for the first 100 miles and $.33 per mile for any additional mileage, up to a $500 maximum. This policy will be amended in accordance with any changes to the IRS rate. In cases where one must cover a great distance by car, it may be worth comparing the cost of car rental against that of mileage reimbursement, as renting a car can sometimes be less expensive for the chapter. 

Special Circumstances – It is common for meals, breaks, and other functions to be catered by the host institution. In such cases, the institution typically provides an invoice for payment following the event. However, the Society realizes that special circumstances will arise from time to time that require payment to a third party at the time of the function. As CMS does not expect any individual member to utilize their personal finances for conference expenses, Treasurers are encouraged to (1) plan for these expenses well in advance of the event and (2) work with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of the CMS Executive Office to devise a plan for payment. In certain circumstances, CMS may be able to give the service provider a credit card number to be used for the expense. At other times it may make sense for the host institution to make the payment and be reimbursed by CMS afterward.

Phishing Scams

It is CMS policy to list the emails of its officers on the public website so that the membership can contact them. These listings are cloaked, which means that means that it is difficult for machines to automatically harvest them; however, this does not prevent them from being harvested, and potentially misused, by humans. It has occurred in the recent past that scammers, posing as that chapter's president, have reached out to chapter treasurers by email asking for an expedited payment to be transferred electronically to a vendor. Without careful inspection, such scams can be convincing and appear to be legitimate. If the authenticity of a monetary request is ever in question, do not reply to the message. Instead, please contact the supposed sender directly via their known email address to verify. It is a good idea to report phishing emails to both the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and to your email service provider (if using Gmail, next to Reply, click More->Report Phishing). 



Conference Registration – The Treasurer should communicate the details of the Chapter’s budget with the Program Chair so that the Chair may finalize the conference registration form by September 1 of the year prior to the conference. During the registration process, the Treasurer will receive copies of online registration submissions in order to monitor the revenue stream. The Chapter Treasurer should also attend the conference and assist with on-site registration.  

Payment to Keynote Speakers – Provided the Chapter President has supplied the required information regarding keynote speakers, the Executive Office will mail honoraria payment directly to the speaker on the Tuesday following the conference. If speakers must be reimbursed for any travel expenses, it is the responsibility of the Treasurer to collect the appropriate receipts and forward these to the Executive Office for payment processing within two weeks after the event. 

Payment to Awardees – In cases where the Chapter offers incentive awards to its membership, the Chapter Treasurer must collect completed IRS W-9 forms from each winner following the conference and forward these to the Executive Office for payment processing.



Since the Chapter’s financial health is integral to the Chapter’s operations, the presentation of an annual financial report is essential. This report should be presented to the Chapter's leadership and membership during its annual business meeting. In support of this, the Society will provide the following items which can be the basis for this report:

(1) an income and expense statement at the close of the previous fiscal year (July 31) that expresses the financial history of the Chapter; and

(2) an income and expense statement that reflects all financial transactions during the current fiscal year (since August 1).

A self-calculating Excel template is available here to assist in creating an Annual Financial Report. It is not necessary to file this report with the CMS Executive Office.



If there are any questions, always feel free to get in touch with any of us as follows:

Brian Kai Chin, Vice President
Seattle Pacific University
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Charles Rochester Young, Treasurer
Baldwin Wallace University
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Peter Park, Director of Professional Activities
The College Music Society
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William Pelto, Executive Director
The College Music Society
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