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Hold Please

I’ve gotten quite a few inquiries on the non-profit I was trying to start a while back. Actually, I got quite a bit of stuff in the mail too. A big thanks to everyone who contributed, I appreciate it and your items have been ferried off accordingly. You should have received your receipts by now.

The bad news is I’ve had the job on hold for several reasons, the primary one being cost. Good lord, its pricey to form a non-profit! Not to mention incredibly confusing and tedious. The IRS code alone was 125 fraking pages! And that’s just for forming and operating one. Not having money to throw away on attorney’s to do the work for me, I read most of’em too. On a side note, I see now why churches get to act as political engines w/o fear of penalty.

I could see my out-of-pocket cost(s) quickly skyrocketing and I’m not willing to fork over that much dough in this economy. Plus, I’m still leaning toward trying to buy a condo around year end. I gotta prioritize a bit. I learned a lot and hope that I can pick it up again later on. While reading thru the tax code was a total pain, it was also very informative. It is amazing what you can legally classify as a “charity”. If the rest of our tax code is as poorly written, no wonder the greedy keep finding loopholes. If our current Prez was smart, he’d work w/Congress to have the tax code completely re-written and updated. I’m quite sure we could solve a massive amount of our national debt this way.

Anyway, I’m still doing my part. And if you are local, I can give you recommendations on where to send stuff for recycling, donating, etc. If not, I highly recommend you Google+ it before throwing your tech junk away. Not only is it tax deductible but you are doing a good deed for the planet. And frankly, our planet needs all the help it can get right now. Its frightening to realize we could see a natural disaster on a global scale caused by pollution in my life time! Every little bit helps, so do your part.

7 thoughts on “Hold Please

  1. Yes, to become recognized as a non-profit organization [501(c)(3)] is not trivial. As you've seen the paperwork, it is not simple (enough to choke an elephant). However, the government is motivated to eliminate fraudulent people/groups from paying their fair share of taxes. Did you know that the NFL (Charities) is one of the largest 501(c)(3)?

    A tax lawyer is highly recommended to navigate the paperwork.

  2. The tax code has been modified so many times for special interests that it is now similar to swiss cheese. Lots of holes in it.

  3. I was gonna ask something similar to Justin's question. I vaguely remember you mentioning the non-profit but don't remember the details of its purpose or MO. I was gonna suggest maybe there is a similar organization that would like to have a chapter in S.F. The one that comes to mind is Portland's FreeGeek (http://www.freegeek.org).

    They take in used equipment, 'employ' volunteers to salvage and retask. After so many hours of service the volunteers get free systems.

  4. Have you thought of getting a fiscal sponsor? It's the way that most nonprofits get off the ground. They find another nonprofit to act as an umbrella organization, and then they take a small percentage of income (or sometimes flat fee) for administrative purposes. You might even find someone who would do your back end administrative functions. I know that the Tides Center sponsors a lot of startup nonprofits. You could look there.

  5. I get rid of a lot of things via Craigslist freebie lists. Many times people flake but other times it makes someone (or some organization) without much money really really happy to receive a working TV/printer/monitor/refridge etc. I call it "social recycling." Also, I nuke or smash all my media before giving it away or turning in at recycling centers. There are lots of free programs for Mac and PC that will do 3+ overwriting of drives and media with random characters. Many of them meet DOD's requirements for their own discards. cheers!

  6. I work at a private foundation, so I am intimately acquainted with the tax code. It is indeed annoying.

    On a side note, I know someone who donated his computer to a school and now he is in federal prison for possession of child porn because there was a video on his hard drive that included actors under 18. He was 21 at the time he downloaded it.

    He will be a registered sex offender when he gets out.

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