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

ph5il DeMeyer ph5il at msn.com
Thu May 28 19:28:04 CEST 2009

Along with what jur1st said about the law schools look for your local SBA (small business administration) office or SCORE (area business people that assist others trying to start their own businesses) group, both are groups that assist in setting up small businesses plus they may be able to help you pick out which formation is best suited to your groups needs and they might have an angle on local lawyers that specialize in that area of incorporation.  Best of all you can get assistance for free.

But I totally agree with jur1st unless you know for a fact that 501c3 (lots of good resources for non-profits so I can definitely agree that it is tempting) is a good match legalzoom.com will help you get into trouble but it'll be you that gets into trouble if the IRS doesn't agree.  


> From: jur1st at cowtowncomputercongress.org
> To: discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
> Date: Thu, 28 May 2009 10:55:03 -0500
> Subject: Re: [hackerspaces] US hackerspaces - corporation formation and	501(c)3 status
> I recall a commercial for a national tax prep firm which made an  
> excellent point about products like Turbo Tax. When you get audited,  
> who are you going to ask for assistance?  The software box?
> Outfits like the ones you mention come with forms...that's it. No way  
> to talk through the issues which you bring up later in your  
> message...no opportunity to discuss other legal issues or risk  
> management with an actual attorney.
> This culture is very DIY based...but legal and financial issues are  
> best handled by those that have backgrounds in law, tax, accounting etc.
> You may want to consult with a local or regional law school to see if  
> they have clinics or professors who could help pro-bono.
> -jur1st
> On May 28, 2009, at 10:45 AM, dosman <dosman at packetsniffers.org> wrote:
> > 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.
> >
> > Thanks!
> > -dosman
> >
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