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posted by janrinok on Wednesday March 20, @10:41AM   Printer-friendly

Just a brief update - but welcome news for a change.

After a long wait (and after a query to the IRS regarding the progress of our application), fliptop has received news verbally that we have been approved by the IRS for Not For Profit status. The essential paperwork should be with fliptop by the end of the week. Once it has been received we can then move ahead to create a company. Again, we cannot guess how long this process will take but it is the final step required before the community can take control of the site and its assets.

My grateful thanks to fliptop for his efforts.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by pTamok on Wednesday March 20, @11:26AM

    by pTamok (3042) on Wednesday March 20, @11:26AM (#1349613)

    Thank you to all working on this.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday March 20, @06:27PM (1 child)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday March 20, @06:27PM (#1349631)

    Ironically, I was about to post a comment about how: if you get 501(c)(3) registered, my mega-corp's charitable donation matching program will recognize you as a legitimate recipient for 1:1, sometimes 2:1, matching funds from the corp. for employee contributions.

    But... when I hit Submit I got a "Internal Server Error" page, for the next several hours...

    I, for one, do appreciate that these things don't (always) run themselves.

    --
    🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 2) by kolie on Wednesday March 20, @06:36PM (1 child)

    by kolie (2622) on Wednesday March 20, @06:36PM (#1349634) Journal

    Exciting times.

    • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Wednesday March 20, @07:53PM

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 20, @07:53PM (#1349643) Journal

      It certainly is but, as you know, the hard work is still in front of us. I think we will all be pleased to get this phase out of the way though. Thanks for your help on the by-laws.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by gnuman on Wednesday March 20, @07:06PM (10 children)

    by gnuman (5013) on Wednesday March 20, @07:06PM (#1349635)

    Maybe I'm a little dense, but I just don't get it. Why all the trouble and pain of setting up a separate entity for purposes of having a small website? The costs of this entire legal setup probably exceed many times the actual infra costs. Until one needs real infra, to me it's like "premature optimization".

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday March 20, @07:15PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 20, @07:15PM (#1349636) Journal

      Lawyers.

      Not everyone in the world is very nice peephole.

      Band players like suits.

      --
      When trying to solve a problem don't ask who suffers from the problem, ask who profits from the problem.
    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday March 20, @07:17PM

      by VLM (445) on Wednesday March 20, @07:17PM (#1349637)

      "someone has to own everything" and that has historically been ... contentious.

      I suspect there's some slippery slope, where the simplest imaginable LLC costs about $35 if you DIY (in my state), and if you use semi-professional help it's only $100 or so (see incorp.com, etc). Next thing you know you're setting up a full charitable org and it's "hundreds" if not "thousands".

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by janrinok on Wednesday March 20, @07:45PM (4 children)

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 20, @07:45PM (#1349640) Journal

      The existing Board made a condition of the transfer that it would only be made to another formally created company. I think that this was intended to ensure that the quality of the site content was maintained, and to ensure that all legal i's had been dotted and t's crossed so that anything that the new site did would not reflect on the current Board members.

      We did try to assume responsibility for the existing site but that was not acceptable to the current Board. Trust me, we would rather not to have had to go through the last 9 months!

      • (Score: 2) by Tork on Wednesday March 20, @09:17PM (1 child)

        by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 20, @09:17PM (#1349653)
        Does it have anything to do with the new owners being able to access all of the content inside the database?
        --
        🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
        • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Wednesday March 20, @09:48PM

          by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 20, @09:48PM (#1349657) Journal

          I'm not sure what you are getting at but the entire database will technically belong to the community, but the contents will still be protected as they are today. The temporary new Board will be replaced by a Board elected by the community. The temporary Board members may stand for election if they so choose to do. Anyone serving on the Board will have to give up their anonymity. That is US law unfortunately and nothing that we as a community can do anything to change.

      • (Score: 2) by gnuman on Friday March 22, @06:36PM (1 child)

        by gnuman (5013) on Friday March 22, @06:36PM (#1349878)

        The existing Board made a condition of the transfer that it would only be made to another formally created company.

        What prevented the current company from just being transferred to new owners with by-laws intact? Nothing needs to be recreated or shut down. Or was this some sort of "test of motivation"?

        We did try to assume responsibility for the existing site but that was not acceptable to the current Board. Trust me, we would rather not to have had to go through the last 9 months!

        I trust you on that :-)

        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by janrinok on Friday March 22, @08:06PM

          by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 22, @08:06PM (#1349892) Journal

          The by-laws for the current site are based on shareholders - of which there are two: NCommander and Matt Angel. They have total and final control over everything that is on this site. Nothing can be done unless they want it to be done, but they can also do things that we as a community disagree with. The existing by-laws actually state that the site is run for the benefit of the shareholders - not the community.

          For the new site there are NO shareholders. The community of registered accounts are the 'owners' of everything. The Board will be made up of community members who have been elected by the community itself. Board members can also be relieved of their positions if they try to go against the majority of the community. It will be your site. Nobody (apart from with a legal warrant) can close the site down if you do not wish it to be closed down. The community will also have their elected Community Representatives who will work alongside the staff. They are there to provide the assurance to you that the staff are not running a right wing of left wing cabal, are not making up rules to suit themselves, and that decisions that the staff have to make almost daily are reasonable and justifiable. As you can imagine, in the same way that this site was ground-breaking in 2014 by breaking all ties with commercial influences, what we are trying to achieve moving forward is equally novel. Writing the by-laws to support this objective was not an easy matter. It has not been done before.

          We have today received the letter from the IRS registering the new site as a charity. We will not be paying US taxes. US citizens will be able to claim tax relief on their donations to the site. All donations will remain voluntary. As far as we can tell - this is another notable milestone for a site such as ours. We will be providing stories as we have always done to the community who are then encouraged to discuss them.

          Nevertheless, there is still much work ahead of us but we, that is the community 'we', can do it! If I didn't believe that then we would not have kept going through the last 9 months or so.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by fliptop on Wednesday March 20, @09:20PM (2 children)

      by fliptop (1666) on Wednesday March 20, @09:20PM (#1349654) Journal

      The costs of this entire legal setup probably exceed many times the actual infra costs

      If lawyers get involved, this may have some truth to it. However, I researched what was necessary to register a 501(c)(3) in my state, and the first step was to apply w/ the IRS by filling out form 1023-EZ. Which I did, and submitted, and it cost $275.

      Once I get the approval letter back from the IRS I then have to register an Unincorporated Non-Profit Association in my state (West Virginia) which does not require registering w/ the Secretary of State's Office but does require registering w/ the State Tax Department (for a much smaller fee, not sure what it is offhand but I think it's around $35). The State Code that applies to this can be found here [wvlegislature.gov].

      After registering w/ the State Tax Department the final step will be having the bylaws finalized (which we're working on now) and put the temporary Board of Officers in place. At that point we'll have what we need (a tax-exempt org) to assume the existing company's assets. Not sure if we need to get a new bank account or not, I've been focused on the regulatory paperwork only.

      --
      Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
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