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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • The mechanism of a non-profit membership organization in the United States is quite complicated and overly complex. It basically further cripples any action that the administration can do. When I started Perl Mongers, a couple of lawyers explained it all to me and my research all turned up the same answer: don't form as a membership organization if you can help it. If TPF becomes more like a guild (which is what you propose), its tax situation is completely different.

    If you were only in the presidency for a
    • Having been on the Board of several US charities under section 501(c)(3) and an officer of one [former Secretary MoP []], I endorse brian d foy's comments regarding non-profit governance. Membership organizations are possibly the most complex , but all non-profit governance in the US is complex. Not only does it depend upon the exact IRS chapter a corporation is registered under (scientific & educational, good works, fraternal, religious, ...), but also under which options under the local law of whichever one of the 50+ states/commonwealths/territories in the US in which it is incorporated also matters greatly. Charities in my Commonwealth report annually to the Attorney General (as a public charity) and the Secretary of State (as a corporation), in addition to their annual US IRS (Internal Revenue = tax) reporting requirement. (I don't recall having to file a state Dept.of Revenue report.)

      I'm not certain it's overly complex, but it is complex, possibly necessarily so, and may be no less complex elsewhere (EU + member-state regulations?). But net-net, re-chartering under a different chapter is impractical at best. Thus, many larger mature organizations spin up one or more parallel arms to meet the multiple purposes -- a Political Action Committee (PAC), a Foundation, a Friends/Supporters of, or a Guild -- with interlocking directorships and financial flows, but legally separate corporations.

      What is obvious isn't legal and what's legal isn't obvious. US Tax Courts are not somewhere volunteers want to be, where they may be personally liable as well. [Court in general is a bad place for volunteers.] Good legal counsel -- sometimes available pro bono (free as in beer) -- is essential, as is Officers & Directors Liability Insurance (unless you want to put all your property in your spouse's name).

      Note that religious charities and fraternal non-charities often have some simpler rules. (But the recent politicization of religion & vice versa is opening a can of worms here too -- can a Church lose it's tax-exemption by breaking down the Church-State barrier from it's side? Some are suggesting so.)

      [Disclaimer: IANAL ... but I worked all too closely with one in non-profit registration & litigation years ago. Volunteers and litigation and a $DayJob mix poorly.]

      # I had a sig when sigs were cool
      use Sig;