Re: Liberating Software as Charity?

From: Jimmy Kaplowitz <jimmy(at)spi-inc(dot)org>
To: AJ ONeal <coolaj86(at)gmail(dot)com>
Cc: spi-general <spi-general(at)lists(dot)spi-inc(dot)org>
Subject: Re: Liberating Software as Charity?
Date: 2010-12-15 07:48:44
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Hi AJ,

On Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 12:16:20AM -0700, AJ ONeal wrote:
> I was thinking more along the lines of something like this:
> I suggest that a free software organization of some sort produce some sort
> of software.
> I donate the money necessary to fund the development of said software.
> I benefit from the donation, but so does everyone else.
> Perhaps there is no such organization currently in place.

One thing to consider is whether the specific benefit you receive for the work
you requested would reduce or eliminate the amount of the tax benefit you might
otherwise get from any charitable contribution. Another is what complications
might arise if the transaction is deemed to be an independent contracting
relationship, or even an employment relationship (with the developer as
employee). Further still, free/open source software development may not always
qualify as a charitable activity, depending on the country. All of these
questions may have different answers depending on your specific situation and

All I can recommend is to consult a tax professional such as an accountant or
tax lawyer in the jurisdiction where you are located. If you have a specific
proposal for SPI, keeping in mind that we are a US-based nonprofit with
501(c)(3) public charity status with the Internal Revenue Service, we'd be
happy to consider it. This particular list is publically archived and indexed
by search engines; spi-private(at)lists(dot)spi-inc(dot)org is not publically archived or
indexed but is available to all SPI contributing members; and board(at)spi-inc(dot)org
will reach the SPI board of directors. Use whichever method of contact you feel
is appropriate.

- Jimmy Kaplowitz
Member, SPI Board of Directors


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