[Noisebridge-board] legal question from a new hackerspace

Mitch Altman maltman23 at hotmail.com
Wed Aug 22 17:35:14 UTC 2012

Congrats on the new space!

As Andy and Noah said, this really is not a big issue.  The main thing that the IRS cares about is that no one use a 501(c)(3) as a means of defrauding them out of tax revenue.  As Andy suggested, the Nolo Press book is a great resource.

Non-profits are allowed to make a profit.  Unlike for-profit corporatations, that profit doesn't go to share holders, it stays within the corporation.

Individuals at non-profit hackerspaces can use the space as a resource to make money for themselves.  However, the space shouldn't be used to avoid (or appearing to avoid) paying personal or corporate taxes.


> From: jncunningham at gmail.com 
> Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2012 21:21:52 -0700 
> To: board at lists.noisebridge.net 
> Subject: [Noisebridge-board] legal question from a new hackerspace 
> Hello! I'm helping to start a new hackerspace down in the LA area and I 
> have a question about how you handle your non-profit status. 
> Say for example one of your members makes something and wants to sell 
> it for personal profit - does that affect the non-profit status of the 
> organization? If they provide their own materials and just use the 
> space and facilities? I don't mean large scale manufacturing, seems 
> pretty clear that's a no-go; more like individual projects they might 
> sell online or at a fair. 
> Do you ever sell projects as an organization? I'm hoping that if the 
> proceeds go only to help support the space (like w/ rent, utilities, 
> materials etc) then it could be done without affecting the non-profit 
> status. 
> I know you can't provide actual legal information, and I won't take any 
> answers you give as such; I'm just wondering if you all have dealt with 
> this topic and how you handle it :) 
> Thanks a bunch! Here's our website if you want to have a look: 
> http://maglaboratory.org/ 
> John 
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