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Brun Ugle
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Re: We're back online!

Postby Brun Ugle » Mon Oct 29, 2018 6:26 am

Carmody wrote:
rdearman re monetary donations...
And income is taxable. In both the UK and the USA the burden of filing all the tax forms and associated bureaucratic crap made both of us loath to ask for donations.
Ok if that is a problem, what about gifts of stuff that emk could use. Like he could set up a list of items on Amazon that he and his family could use, and then on a regular basis we could purchase those items and have them sent to him on an ongoing basis.

I am talking about gifts in kind:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gifts_in_kind

You can’t get around the tax laws by turning money into something else. It is still income.
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Re: We're back online!

Postby Axon » Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:55 am

Brun Ugle wrote:You can’t get around the tax laws by turning money into something else. It is still income.


I think this would almost certainly depend on where emk lives. Perhaps this question can be raised among the moderators during the ongoing discussions about turning LLORG into a charity?
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Re: We're back online!

Postby emk » Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:43 am

I really appreciate that fact that everybody wants to help support the forum! But please don't send me money or gifts for now. I'm waiting for the mods to set up some kind of simple organization (it doesn't need to be a charity), and we can use that to accept money.

If it does get to be too burdensome, I can find ways to accept money in the meantime. I would just need to double-check with an accountant.

You'll note that this forum is ad-free. I have never liked the internet advertising industry much, but in recent years I'm getting seriously creeped out by the extensive tracking they do. It doesn't cost very much to run the forum.

One of my big goals was to set up the forum so that it basically runs itself. We use an Amazon RDS database with automatic backups, which if the database server ever dies, should automatically restore and rebuild itself without me touching it. (I've seen this happen for other RDS databases; it's fun to sit there and do nothing instead of panicking.) All the code runs in containers, so I can replace or upgrade the server in about 10 minutes. And now I've just moved the certs over to completely automated infrastructure, so they'll renew automatically. Basically, I want as few moving parts to break as possible! And literally everything is on a single bill.

Also, we have the ability to host multiple language-learning sites and tools for very little additional effort. And all the code is public. So once we have an organization, we can think about adding some other language stuff.

The other reason to set up an organization is because of the GDPR. I'm going to try to avoid discussing politics more than necessary here, but the GPDR—while well intentioned—is still a significant bureaucratic hassle for tiny organizations that aren't selling or sharing personal data. And the forthcoming EU copyright directive looks like a total disaster for small, shoestring operations. (I can't tell you all the reasons without a political rant.) So I definitely want to transfer the legal liability for the forum to a properly-consistuted organization as soon as possible.

If the paperwork still isn't ready in 2018, I do have a plan B that would allow me to accept funding and limit liability while waiting for the paperwork to be finished. So please don't worry about it for now!
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Re: We're back online!

Postby patrickwilken » Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:55 am

I setup a non-profit scientific organization about 20 years ago. Let me know if I can help.

Where are you thinking of setting it up? USA? EU? UK? (sorry the last probably hurt someone).
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Re: We're back online!

Postby Elsa Maria » Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:43 pm

I just wanted to add my thanks for the forum and all of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.
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Re: We're back online!

Postby Morgana » Tue Oct 30, 2018 12:40 am

I am adding my gratitude to everyone else’s for all the hard work that goes into operating this forum. I am also very grateful that the admins seem to be resistant to putting ads on the site. I’d be very happy to contribute to whatever donation option is set up in future, assuming privacy is protected (I’m certain it will be).
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Re: We're back online!

Postby smallwhite » Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:12 am

> If you were to give me money, or EMK, to run the site then it is income. And income is taxable.

Why can EMK and RD pay for things without being taxed? RD probably because he is the domain name owner, and EMK because he is, idk, host owner? Can we make a few other generous members domain and host owners as well, ie. so that the website is co-owned by 10 people or however many is feasible and allowable. Some members will be donating more money than others anyway; we can have people submit bids or tenders for the 10 ownership positions, and then they pay and the other members thank them. Or something along those lines, sharing out the ownership.
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Re: We're back online!

Postby rdearman » Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:48 am

smallwhite wrote:> If you were to give me money, or EMK, to run the site then it is income. And income is taxable.

Why can EMK and RD pay for things without being taxed? RD probably because he is the domain name owner, and EMK because he is, idk, host owner? Can we make a few other generous members domain and host owners as well, ie. so that the website is co-owned by 10 people or however many is feasible and allowable. Some members will be donating more money than others anyway; we can have people submit bids or tenders for the 10 ownership positions, and then they pay and the other members thank them. Or something along those lines, sharing out the ownership.

No. Amazon need one single credit card to bill everything too. Domains are annual payments. Don't worry, we are working on a solution.
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Re: We're back online!

Postby emk » Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:21 am

smallwhite wrote:Why can EMK and RD pay for things without being taxed?

The real issue here is that:

  1. The forum has been pretty cheap to run. It started out at US$20 or $30/month originally (mostly to get automatic, fully-managed database backups), and then I upgraded it to $40/month because the web crawlers (especially Baidu and Yandex) were killing performance. Now it's at $60 or 65/month with the latest upgrades. I could find a cheaper way to host it, but what we have is rock solid and it should result in very few "crises". Plus if it ever gets slow, I can upgrade any piece of it in an hour.
  2. Messing up on taxes and getting audited by the IRS costs a lot of time and money.
  3. You can avoid messing up by taking to a good tax accountant. I know a good tax accountant, but it costs a couple hundred dollars to get good tax advice from them.
So as long as paying for the forum out of my pocket was cheaper than talking to a tax accountant, the answer was obvious!

I suspect that there are two or three easy ways to fix this with very little work. But I'm giving the mods a chance to organize something "official" before I worry too much about it. So please nobody else lose any sleep over this, because I'm not, and we'll have a real solution relatively soon.
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