[hackerspaces] US hackerspaces - corporation formation and 501(c)3 status

dosman dosman at packetsniffers.org
Thu May 28 17:45:08 CEST 2009

Hi, I have some questions for US-based hackerspaces:

Has anyone used places like legalzoom.com or incorporate.com to form  
their non-profit or any other business for that matter? They seem to  
focus on LLC formation but also do non-profits with 501(c)3 status. We  
are working on forming our group and after looking at all the work  
required they seem like the easiest and cheapest way to get something  
up and running (and with fewer mistakes being made). I realize they  
make it look over-simplified, however using them as a guiding hand  
seems reasonable. Comments and suggestions are welcomed.

Additionally, for spaces that have gone the 501(c)3 route, I assume  
they claim to be operated specificly for scientific purposes? (as  
stated in section 3 of IRS doc p557). Has anyone had troubles with  
this definition during their application process? After reading a lot  
of spaces bylaws we've seen lots of statements like "contributing to  
the international commnity" which is great- except that my  
understanding is that a non-profit needs to give back to it's local  
community. While that is certainly attainable, I am curious if anyone  
has had trouble being qualified since they don't specificly state they  
plan to benefit their local community? I'm just playing devils  
advocate here, these are the types of challenges I would expect the  
IRS to throw down to a 501(c)3 application.


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