[Noisebridge-discuss] 2010 taxes

Ryan Rawson ryanobjc at gmail.com
Thu Jan 13 21:46:27 PST 2011


But a member in good standing vs a member in bad standing and a
non-member all receive (from the IRS's POV) the same value from NB.
Which makes the member in good standing's donation fully tax
deductible as per other emails on this subject.

The issue is do you receive MONETARY benefits from your membership
dues?  The answer I think has been decided 'no' on this mailing list
(as I see it).

All the 501(c)(3) corp needs to do is sign letters on behalf of those
wishing to do tax deduction.  As someone else mentioned the Right
Thing To Do would be to prepare your own letter and have the treasurer
sign it.

To quote a previous email:

"Example here:  if I pay $50 to be a member of
"Friends of the (insert name of municipality) Library" and there is
no change in my rights to use the library's resources, I get a $50 deduction."

I think if you replace "Friends of the (..) Library" with
"Noisebridge" the example fully applies. And thus noisebridge dues are
fully deductible - since a member has no greater monetary benefits
than a non-member.

-ryan

On Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 9:39 PM, Sai <noisebridge at saizai.com> wrote:
> Per the bylaws, the board would need to enact that.
>
> FWIW, with my nonprofit-CEO hat on:
>
> I think other-Ryan is right that the "$1" bit seems weirdly arbitrary.
>
> However, I would point out that currently, to be a member in good
> standing, one is *required* to pay membership dues. You can't require
> "donations".
>
> So: an alternate approach would be to eliminate membership dues
> entirely - make membership a free and purely formal status - and
> *only* have "suggested" donation subscriptions. That would also be
> easier on the Treasurer, as there wouldn't be a requirement to track
> the donation part vs the fees part.
>
> - Sai
>
> On Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 11:31 PM, Ryan Castellucci
> <ryan.castellucci at gmail.com> wrote:
>> We're hackers.  We hack.  Let's make 'hack' the system by making
>> 'membership' $1/mo and encourage people to 'donate' $39/mo or $79/mo.
>>
>> Problem.  Solved.
>>
>> On Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 9:21 PM, Sai <noisebridge at saizai.com> wrote:
>>> AFAICT, the part about 526 records means that NB would have to make an
>>> official decision that dues are donations.
>>>
>>> - Sai
>>>
>>> On Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 11:18 PM, Ryan Castellucci
>>> <ryan.castellucci at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> From a CPA I spoke with (since I'm probably itemizing this year) who
>>>> wishes to remain anonymous:
>>>>
>>>> ========================================================
>>>>
>>>> Membership fees paid to a 501(c)(3) are, in general, deductible as
>>>> charitable contributions.  For instance, paying dues to be a member
>>>> of the local S.P.C.A. is deductible.  The portion of the dues that
>>>> represents the value of any goods or services received in exchange
>>>> for a payment to a charity, however, is not deductible as a
>>>> charitable contribution.  For instance, if you pay $100 for a
>>>> membership to KQED but receive a "premium" of a book worth $15, then
>>>> only the excess $85 is deductible (even though you may perceive some
>>>> value by getting to continue to get to watch the programming).  If
>>>> you pay a charitable organization $50 to attend an event, the
>>>> admission of which is worth only $30, then the excess $20 is
>>>> deductible.  So -- what is the "value" of the benefits you receive
>>>> from Noisebridge?  Often, mere attendance at meetings is considered
>>>> to be of no value.  Example here:  if I pay $50 to be a member of
>>>> "Friends of the (insert name of municipality) Library" and there is
>>>> no change in my rights to use the library's resources, I get a $50 deduction.
>>>>
>>>> Having said all of that, you have to have enough itemized deductions
>>>> (medical, taxes, mortgage interest, charity, etc.) to actually
>>>> benefit from deducting charitable contributions -- that's because
>>>> most taxpayers are allowed to deduct a "standard deduction" and there
>>>> is no benefit from itemizing deductions unless the itemization
>>>> exceeds the standard deduction.  Additionally, there are strict rules
>>>> about receipts and/or acknowledgments for charitable contributions
>>>> -- both in terms of having the proof and in terms of what the charity
>>>> includes on the receipts and/or acknowledgments.  Repeat:  there are
>>>> strict rules about receipts and/or acknowledgments for charitable
>>>> contributions.  More information is available in this IRS
>>>> publication: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p526.pdf  The section
>>>> entitled "Records to Keep" on pages 17 and 18 (in the 2009 version of
>>>> that publication) is of particular interest.
>>>>
>>>> Since "everything Noisebridge has/does is available to non-members"
>>>> (except voting/consensus), I see nothing but charitable
>>>> intent in paying membership dues and would deduct the dues, as long
>>>> as the record-keeping requirements enumerated in IRS Publication 526 are met.
>>>>
>>>> ================================================================
>>>>
>>>> On Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 3:25 PM, rkt88edmo <rkt88edmo at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>> I do tax work for a living but don't specialize in indivdual taxation
>>>>> and am not a member but have been to the space.
>>>>>
>>>>> Since you didn't receive any goods or services from Noisebridge that
>>>>> aren't available to the general public you do not need to reduce your
>>>>> charitable donation deduction.  I wouldn't bother with assigning shelf
>>>>> space a dollar value unless "Noisebridge-the-official-legal-entity"
>>>>> makes a policy to do so or you really feel that it really is of
>>>>> substantial monetary value.
>>>>>
>>>>> Given the full membership rate I would encourge anyone who itemizes
>>>>> their deductions and who will deduct their Noisebridge membership dues
>>>>> to document the transactions and obtain the tax ID number of
>>>>> Noisebridge.  Even better would be a letter or receipt from
>>>>> Noisebridge with letterhead stating it is 501(c)3, including the TIN
>>>>> documenting amount of cash or cash value of property contributed;
>>>>> which I would hope you could obtain be if you do-ocratically drafted
>>>>> it yourself and present it to the treasurer via email or at a meeting.
>>>>>  If you did either of those I doubt any CPA would have trouble with
>>>>> you taking the donation.
>>>>>
>>>>> I can answer questions offline if you have any.
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> Noisebridge-discuss mailing list
>>>>> Noisebridge-discuss at lists.noisebridge.net
>>>>> https://www.noisebridge.net/mailman/listinfo/noisebridge-discuss
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> --
>>>> Ryan Castellucci http://ryanc.org/
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> Noisebridge-discuss mailing list
>>>> Noisebridge-discuss at lists.noisebridge.net
>>>> https://www.noisebridge.net/mailman/listinfo/noisebridge-discuss
>>>>
>>>
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> Ryan Castellucci http://ryanc.org/
>>
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