[permaculture] NGO? 501c3? Incorporate!? Oh my.

Robert Waldrop bwaldrop at cox.net
Tue Feb 6 11:53:07 EST 2007

Most states have a legal way for an unincorporated 
association to do business under a name other than 
the name of the members, usually it is some form 
of "doing business as" or "dba".

Incorporating a non-profit organization is 
generally easy.  Each state has a law governing 
this, and generally that law has an outline of the 
requirements of the incorporation documents.  Some 
states have a form that can be downloaded, the 
blanks filled in, and then that is filed as your 
articles of non-profit incorporation.

In describing purposes of the organization, all 
that is necessary for the incorporating documents 
are broad general statements.  (Well, different 
states may have their own unusual wrinkles, I have 
experience with non-profits in Oklahoma and Utah, 
so your mileage may vary.)

You can get an "EIN" over the phone from the IRS. 
This is like a social security number for 
organizations and corporations.

Bob Waldrop, Oklahoma City

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Sean Maley" <semaley at yahoo.com>
To: "permaculture" 
<permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:55 AM
Subject: Re: [permaculture] NGO? 501c3? 
Incorporate!? Oh my.

> For a complete list of 501c3 Permaculture 
> organizations, go to the guidestar.org
> website for a list in your area.  While Green 
> Phoenix Permaculture works towards
> this goal, there are surprisingly few 
> "charitable" organizations to send tax
> deductible donations that devote their purpose 
> to Permaculture, or even mention
> it.  Since we were in one of the largest 
> concentrations of millionaires in the
> world, NYC, this was made a top priority for our 
> contribution to the movement as
> a whole.
> Going it alone - obtaining 501c3 determination - 
> should be a
> last resort.  Unfortunately, you get what you 
> pay for when going the pro-bono
> route (junior level attorney left us hanging for 
> almost a year; pro-bono contact
> passed away within a couple weeks of him being 
> assigned to us).  The UN has
> their own requirements for NGO status.  Since 
> time as an organization is one of
> them, we will wait on this one.
> The first step along the way will be to
> file "articles of incorporation" with your 
> state, get an EIN number, and open a
> bank account.  This gives you about 18 months to 
> file for 501c3 IRS
> determination.  To do this, file the 1023 form 
> with IRS requesting "charitable"
> status.  You must show that no tax evasion would 
> be possible through your
> acceptance of donations and from your 
> activities.  You must also demonstrate
> that you won't be controlled by an overseas 
> organization (our mentioning and
> involvement with PRI, Australia was a red flag). 
> The form also goes over
> whether you get money from "public" or from 
> "private" organizations and people
> that might tell you how to spend that money. 
> Plus, you can't compete with
> legitimate businesses, who supply the government 
> with tax revenue, unless you
> pay those taxes on equal terms and it isn't a 
> significant part of your revenue
> and it supports your stated purpose.  After the 
> IRS sends the 501c3
> determination letter to you, you must file the 
> 990 form every year you have more
> than $25,000 of revenue or $250,000 assets.  The 
> 990 and 1023 forms appear on
> guidestar.org for public access.
> Some of the groups I hear about appear
> on guidestar.org and some don't even appear on 
> Department of State searches
> (articles of incorporation).  Since most states 
> have laws against doing business
> under a fictitious name, I'm wondering if this 
> may become an issue for the
> permaculture community.  I know a club can exist 
> under these circumstances, as
> they don't "do business".  However, I'm 
> wondering if having a PDC course will
> present a problem.  Technically, charging $500 
> per student and less than 50
> students per year wouldn't require filing the 
> 990 form every year or having to
> send in the 1023 form (implied status, due to 
> insignificant revenues), but it
> would still require filing a form in NY state 
> that identifies a tax code for
> doing business.
> I would love to have a discussion with a Permie 
> lawyer.
> Lawyers and Accountants seem like difficult nuts 
> to crack for a gift economy.  I
> imagine it has to do with the same issues I 
> face, keeping excessive rent paid
> and not having any time left between family and 
> employment.  I know working
> together we can overcome these urban obstacles.
> -Sean.
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Paul Cereghino 
> <paul.cereghino at comcast.net>
> To: permaculture 
> <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Tuesday, February 6, 2007 2:04:44 AM
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] NGO?
> 501c3 references USA tax code for a specific 
> type of NGO (*Various
> charitable, non-profit, religious, and 
> educational organizations )*.
> There are many different classes of NGO's 
> recognized by US tax code.
> Not all NGO's are 501c3.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/501(c)
> NGOs are anything that are neither government 
> nor industry, and is a
> vague term without a specific technical 
> definition.
> Paul
> Lawrence F. London, Jr. wrote:
>>J. Kolenovsky wrote:
>>>Is that non-governmental organization (NGO)? I 
>>>finally had to ask after
>>>seeing it for the last 2 weeks. The closest I 
>>>could get to this is 501 c
>>Usually United Nations recognized (and possibly 
>>funded) Non Governmental Organizations.
>>There are NGO ssummits. One in the recent past 
>>in Brazil focused on the environment, global 
>>and the Kyoto Protocol.
>>Is there a permaculture NGO? or anything like 
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