Questions and Answers About Your Coop

I am interested in being a Golden West Director. How do I apply?
The Board of Directors holds four-year terms. When the term of a board member is set to expire, each member in that board member’s district is notified by mail that an election will be held to elect a director. Any member who qualifies under the bylaws of the Cooperative may run for an expired term. A member who desires to run for a directorship must file a nominating petition no later than thirty days prior to the annual meeting. The nominating petition must be signed by fifteen or more members of the district.

When is the Annual Meeting held?
The Cooperative’s annual membership meetings are held in Wall, South Dakota, typically, on the fourth Saturday of September. 

If I am unable to make it to the Annual Meeting, can I still vote?
A member must register and be present at the Annual Meeting to exercise their right to vote. Each membership will receive an authorization to vote slip when registering at the Annual Meeting. The following summarizes each membership’s right when voting:

• The member of an individual membership may vote at cooperative meetings.

• Either of the members, but not both, of a joint membership may vote at cooperative meetings.

• Non-individual members, such as school districts, town, churches and corporations may vote at cooperative meetings by completing the authorization to vote form and presenting it at the registration desk of the meeting. The form designates a delegate to vote on all issues that come before the meeting including election of directors. The form, which is provided in the Annual Meeting edition of the newsletter, must be signed by an officer or member of the governing body.

How do capital credits work?
Each year the difference between the cost of doing business and the actual revenues collected is determined by Golden West. This amount is equal to the total patron’s equity of the year. A detailed allocation process is then applied to compute each member’s share of the patron’s equity. This computation is affected by the member’s contributions to revenue through qualified purchases.

How does a member know the amount of their capital credits?
Each member has a separate capital credit account, which represents the member’s ownership in the Cooperative. When capital credits are allocated at the end of a year, all members who received qualifying services during that year will receive an allocation statement showing their current year’s allocation and the outstanding balance of all the year’s service. These statements are typically mailed out in July of each year.

What is an allocation statement?
Each year in July members of Golden West will receive an allocation statement. This notice is provided yearly to show the total amount of business you’ve done with the Cooperative (patronage) and the amount of money you will receive in the future (deferred dividend). 

When are capital credits returned to members?
Your locally elected Board of Directors determines the amount of retirement (capital credits paid) annually, based on the financial condition of the Cooperative and other considerations. These payments are usually made in September in the form of checks. 

What should a member do if they move from the Golden West service area?
Since a portion of past margins are returned annually in the form of a capital credit check, it’s important that members inform our office of any changes in their mailing address. Each year, hundreds of refund checks are returned to the Cooperative with invalid addresses.

What happens in the case of a deceased member?
When a current or former member passes away, there are two options available with the member’s capital credit account. One option is for the member’s beneficiaries to continue to receive a portion of the capital credit account balance each time capital credits are paid out. The advantage to leaving the account as is and receiving payments as they are made, is that the full balance or 100% of the account is paid. The disadvantage is that it takes several years, likely 10 years or more, to pay out a capital credit account.

The second option is to settle the capital credit account. This means that the member’s beneficiaries, with proper documentation, can receive 50% of the capital credit balance. There is some paperwork which must be completed before the credits are paid. Please contact Golden West for more information about this process. See Golden West Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, Bylaws, Article VII, Section 2(h). 

What if a member of a joint membership is deceased?
If an account was a joint account and one member has passed on, the surviving heir may request removal of the deceased member’s name or pay out 50%. When both members are deceased, final settlement proceedings are initiated on their capital credit account. See Articles of Incorporation and Bylaw, Bylaws, Article 1, Section 4(b). 

What if a member has service at more than one location at the same time?
Members with multiple accounts for different locations can receive a consolidated capital credit allocation statement and/or check whenever possible, when grouped under a single membership number. Members will receive separate checks for individual and business accounts.

Why am I required to provide my social security number when filling out a membership selection form?
Capital credit refunds over $600.00 require Golden West to send a 1099 MISC form to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These 1099 MISC forms are reported by social security number to the IRS.

Social security numbers are also used to ensure the privacy of your account. When calling Golden West you may be asked your social security number to confirm you are the account holder or authorized to discuss or make changes to the account.

I already filled out a Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) form to authorize specific individuals to make changes to my account. Does that make those individuals joint members with me?
A CPNI form authorizes specific individuals to discuss information about your account and make changes to the account. However, these authorized individuals are not entitled to any privileges associated with your cooperative membership (such as voting at cooperative meetings or receiving money back as a capital credit check), nor are they responsible for payment on your account or listed in the directory.

If you have previously added an individual as authorized to make changes to your account, it does not automatically make them a joint member with you in the Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative. To make changes to your current membership you will need to fill out the membership selection form or call a Golden West business office by dialing 777 from any Golden West phone or call toll-free at 1-855-888-7777.

Are capital credit allocations taxable?
For individuals, capital credits are generally not taxable on individual tax returns. Capital credit refunds over $600.00 will receive a 1099-MISC. On a 1099-MISC form, the income earned will be noted and no federal tax will be withheld. We suggest you seek the advice of a tax professional for any specific questions.