On the morning of Tuesday, February 9, the members of the community met for the annual board meeting of Trappist Caskets. All the monks are members of the board since we form a 501(d) corporation which owns Trappist Caskets. Under the federal tax code, communal groups which share a common fund (to which they individually not have access) are allowed to divide the income among the members for taxing purposes. This provision was initially made for communal groups such as the Hutterites and Amish. Some years ago (1970’s and 1980’s), Fr. Pachal Philipps of Guadalupe Abbey investigated its applicability to monastic communities. If all the proper conditions are met, it can greatly reduced the amount of taxes that have to be returned to the government. A few years ago, we reorganized to meet the requirements of this provision. The monastery itself remains a 501 (c3), but the ownership of Trappist Caskets is a separate corporation.
Each year, an official board meeting must convened which means that all the monks should be present. The meeting is chaired by our lawyer, Davin Curtiss of the O’Connor law firm which has been assisting the monastery since Noah got off the Ark. Also present were David Schueller, our community’s financial advisor and Sam Mulgrew, manager of Trappist Caskets. Minutes are kept, officers are elected, motions are seconded and Robert’s Rules of Order strictly followed. With the adjournment of the meeting, we returned to our unruly ways.