Timely Submission of Annual Meeting Documents

By Don Borror

 

RSA 21-J:34 sets out the statutory mandate for this, stating in part that “the governing body of each city, town, unincorporated town, unorganized place, school district, and village district, and the clerk of each county convention shall submit to the commissioner of revenue administration the following reports necessary to compute and establish the tax rate for each city, town, unincorporated town, unorganized place, school district, village district and county.”

 

Many of the documents are due 20 days after the meeting, such as the posted warrant, budget form, signed minutes and appropriations form. In SB 2 municipalities, all of these documents, as well as the signed minutes of the deliberative session and the signed official ballot, are due 20 days after the voting session of the meeting.

Other documents are due later in the year. The MS-5 form (financial report) is due April 1 for calendar year municipalities and September 1 for optional fiscal year municipalities. The MS-1 (summary inventory of valuation) and MS-4 (revised estimated revenues) forms are both due on September 1.

 

The DRA is in the process of working with the federal Census Bureau to coordinate filing and processing of the MS-5 forms (financial reports). The goal is to allow municipalities to file the MS-5 electronically as soon as next year. Another initiative currently underway is the electronic filing of all the required documents, which is a goal for the future. However, whatever the filing method, it remains crucial for municipalities to meet the statutory filing deadlines.

 

Why is it so important to adhere to these statutory deadlines? In the event of a problem with a warrant article, the DRA Municipal Services Division must disallow appropriations that are not in accordance with state statute. If this occurs, the town must often adjust expenditure levels to avoid overspending the bottom line of the reduced appropriations. Should a disallowance become necessary, timely filing permits early notification to the municipality, which in turn permits the municipality to better plan its finances for the remainder of the fiscal year.

 

In some situations, the disallowance can be corrected through a procedural defect meeting, as authorized by RSA 31:5-b. In this case, timely filing allows the municipality to hold the procedural defect meeting earlier in the year, thereby curing the defect.

 

CPA audits must be filed as well. RSA 21-J:34, X states that if a municipality has been audited by an independent public accountant, then “it shall submit a copy of the audited financial statements in accordance with RSA 21-J:19, III.” Current department statistics indicate that last year, only 30 percent of towns and cities, and only 8 percent of village districts, submitted such audits. These documents are an important part of the tax rate preparation process, so be sure to file them timely.

List of Filing Dates

Don Borror is assistant director of the Municipal Services Division at the Department of Revenue Administration. For a list of document due dates, see page 34 or visit the DRA website. For further information, contact Don at 603.271.3397 or dborror@rev.state.nh.us.