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(KATU)   Oregon passes law to take away charitable tax deductions for charities that devote less that 70% of funds towards actual charity work   (katu.com) divider line 24
    More: Hero, funds, Oregon, itemized deduction, tax breaks, local taxes, Oregon Department of Justice  
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5431 clicks; posted to Main » on 30 Jun 2013 at 5:59 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2013-06-30 06:00:34 PM
13 votes:
Good. Next, churches.
2013-06-30 06:03:20 PM
7 votes:

phillydrifter: Even charities have operating costs.


I don't think anybody disputes that. However, when operating costs, marketing and 'awareness' campaigns (which is just marketing under a different cost code) take up 70% of the budget, there is a problem.
2013-06-30 06:03:49 PM
6 votes:
Subby has it backwards - it takes away tax breaks for charities that spend  more than 70% of their donations on management, etc. So as long as you still spend 30% or more on charity you're still in the clear.

Good move, but it still seems like a very conservative number. Why not 50%?
2013-06-30 06:03:39 PM
6 votes:
Yeah, well let's make it illegal for politicians to spend more than 30% of their time fundraising, then.
2013-06-30 06:07:16 PM
4 votes:

SockMonkeyHolocaust: Yeah, well let's make it illegal for politicians to spend more than 30% of their time fundraising, then.


I'm OK with this too.
If I were dictator in charge for life, campaigns would be publicly funded and equally split among the candidates. Outside donations would be banned as well. Your idea sounds like a good start.
2013-06-30 06:05:50 PM
4 votes:

phillydrifter: Even charities have operating costs.


If your operating cost if more than 30% of what goes to helping people besides yourself, maybe you need to rethink your charity's structure.

Some charities are real, some are basically a scam. I don't have a problem with the government trying to regulate what was become an industry so that there is less fraud and the money actually goes to what people think it will.
2013-06-30 07:49:46 PM
2 votes:

Phins: gfid: PetSmart asks for money for animals.  You know what, PetSmart?  Every single penny I spend at your store is going to a once homeless animal.

I haven't looked at their financials, but PetSmart charities does a lot for homeless animals. They support groups that do animal rescue in the wake of a national disaster; they'll bring in an 18 wheeler full of crates, food, etc. to set up a temporary shelter. And they don't come and take back either, it gets donated to the city/county animal shelter after the need for the temporary shelter has passed. I volunteer for an animal rescue group and PetsMart regularly has special adoption weekends where they give us a certain amount per adoption. They donate space inside the store for cat rescue groups. They give grants for spay/neuter programs.

It's fine if you want to make your donations directly, but it's a good organization that really does help animals.


Well, it's good to hear that PetSmart actually does make an effort and I wasn't trying to say they didn't.  It's just that there's usually no way to know when the cashier rings up your bill and then you get asked for a donation.

I've gone from "Of course I'll pitch in a dollar" to "I'll throw in a dollar and hope it's being well spent" to " I would if I knew where exactly the money went even though money is tight right now".

The thing that bugs me is they're playing on your emotions - or at least mine - when they hit you up like that whether it's PetSmart asking for money for a pet charity or Target asking for money for breast cancer.

They either train their cashiers well or the cashiers are used to people not donating because I've never gotten any grief from them for refusing, but I still feel a twinge of guilt when I tell them no.  I feel a little embarrassment.  At PetSmart I'm spending $30-40 on cat food and litter and I can't even cough up a buck for a poor defenseless animal?  They don't say that, but that's how I feel when asked.

Similarly for Target (and they're not the only non pet store that does it).  You're buying $60 worth of groceries to feed yourself, but you won't even cough up a single dollar for breast cancer?

It's a guilt tax if you can actually afford a whole 'nother dollar and if you can't actually afford that extra dollar then the question just makes you feel bad (if you care at all that is - some people don't care, but I do).

It's a great fund-raising technique but I don't know where the money goes and the checkout line isn't exactly the best place to seek out financial statements of charities you're being asked to donate to.

I suspect it's even dirtier than I think.  A pet food company may make a charitable donation to an animal shelter, but they also expect the animal shelter will buy the balance of what they need from them at premium prices.  And I also realize that vets have to make a living, but I think at least some of them are gouging.  I read a story recently (probably here on Fark, but I don't remember for sure) where someone put down their dog because they couldn't afford a $7000 bill.

If I were the vet in that case I would save the dog and tell them to pay as they could, but I could never be a vet because although I love animals, I don't think I could handle seeing severely sick or injured pets.  I don't even think I could handle cutting into an animal to spay or neuter them.
2013-06-30 06:34:11 PM
2 votes:

SockMonkeyHolocaust: Yeah, well let's make it illegal for politicians to spend more than 30% of their time fundraising, then.


How about we just have publicly financed elections so they never have to go fundraising?
2013-06-30 06:32:51 PM
2 votes:
Most charities are just another form of business, not actual "charity'.  Collect money, provide jobs, pay big salaries to 'Executives'.  Make people feel good as you scam them out of their money.

What we should do is pass a nation wide law that says a Non-Profit Charity may spend no more than 25% on Operating Costs.
2013-06-30 06:14:55 PM
2 votes:

mekki: Everyone always talks about the worst charities. But what about the good ones? Farkers, which ones do you always give to knowing that the money is going to be used for what is intended for?


Charity Navigator helps sort stuff out.
2013-06-30 06:12:25 PM
2 votes:

ambercat: phillydrifter: Even charities have operating costs.

If your operating cost if more than 30% of what goes to helping people besides yourself, maybe you need to rethink your charity's structure.

Some charities are real, some are basically a scam. I don't have a problem with the government trying to regulate what was become an industry so that there is less fraud and the money actually goes to what people think it will.


Hard to draw a line there.  Is it a scam at 69%?

A lot of "purposes", the work is a lot of it.  For example, Make-A-Wish may get a football player to visit a dying child.  The football player isn't gonna be billing for this.  The plane ticket, sure, the charity can pay that.  A lot of it probably comes down to hiring someone with connections to make these calls and make this happen.  So it MAY appear the majority goes to "executive pay", but really I don't know how to judge it.
2013-06-30 06:04:17 PM
2 votes:

phillydrifter: Even charities have operating costs.


And even the automotive industry has federally regulated MPG standards.

Same difference. If they can mandate how many miles per gallon a car has to achieve, they can regulate how much of your funds must be donated to be considered a tax exempt charity.
2013-07-01 03:45:15 AM
1 votes:
I almost got into a chocolate pudding wrestling for charity business once. I thought I'd do okay until I found out that in some states could keep 95% of the money I raised. Needless to say I got out before I got in because I have a soul.
2013-06-30 11:31:40 PM
1 votes:

Nonrepeating Rotating Binary: Most charities are just another form of business, not actual "charity'. Collect money, provide jobs, pay big salaries to 'Executives'. Make people feel good as you scam them out of their money.


Yup.
2013-06-30 07:29:32 PM
1 votes:

ChuDogg: What if they are an "advocacy" group?

http://zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com/2010/09/25/bonos-charity-isnt - at-all-charitable/


Salaries to employees who "raise awareness" *are* the charitable expenditures for those organizations. Self-promoting celebrity charities, like Lance Armstrong's LiveStrong (which makes us aware that cancer is bad) or Bono's ONE (which makes us aware that Africa is poor) were designed from their outset to skirt these types of regulations.
2013-06-30 07:19:39 PM
1 votes:
While the intent of the law is admirable, the crooks will always find a way around any inconvenient law or rule.

The best defense is the cold light of day being shined on these "charities" and the public becoming eductaed about them.

/like the public will ever do that . . .
2013-06-30 06:56:15 PM
1 votes:
"In related news, the Mormon church has announced they are pulling out of Oregon, citing "unspecified reasons.""
2013-06-30 06:53:53 PM
1 votes:

b-ham: Good move, but it still seems like a very conservative number. Why not 50%?


I think they're mainly targeting some widely-publicized overt shams that are on the public's mind. The ones who pay 98% of their donations to a for-profit telemarketing firm owned by the administrators of the non-profit. For locally run shams, this just means they'll have to reduce their profit margins, but for nationally-run shams which the article mentions specifically, they probably won't want to adjust their overall business model this radically for a single state.
2013-06-30 06:39:57 PM
1 votes:

ACunningPlan: ambercat: phillydrifter: Even charities have operating costs.

If your operating cost if more than 30% of what goes to helping people besides yourself, maybe you need to rethink your charity's structure.

Some charities are real, some are basically a scam. I don't have a problem with the government trying to regulate what was become an industry so that there is less fraud and the money actually goes to what people think it will.

^This.  Some do-gooders do awfully well for themselves, and are less than charitable when it comes to actually ensuring the money donated doesn't get sucked in by the middle men.

I'm so poor most Farkers wouldn't associate with me, but I do give a small amount to charity when I can.  Not because I'm a nice person, I'm not; I simply find perverse pleasure in the fact someone is worse off than me.  But I do pay attention to how much of the money goes on overheads and not directly to the cause.


I would like to subscribe to your newsletter, reading that was refreshing.
2013-06-30 06:33:27 PM
1 votes:
"These organizations have found the business model of using a nonprofit as a cover for what's basically a telemarketing for-profit firm," White said. "They're giving charities and nonprofits a black eye and need to be gotten out of our midst."

And a 70% administrative spending cap isn't going to do that. Jesus, do you actually feel good about this?
If you're spending even half of your donations on "administrative costs" you have no business calling yourselves a charity.
2013-06-30 06:21:16 PM
1 votes:

ZAZ: State officials and nonprofit leaders believe Oregon is the first state in the nation to pass a charity law that punishes nonprofits that spend too little of their money on their missions.

Massachusetts disallows charitable deductions for all charities. Politicians repealed a voter initiative to allow deducting charitable donations.


But Massachusetts probably doesn't yank the charities property tax exemption if they aren't putting enough of their revenue into their claimed cause.
2013-06-30 06:15:50 PM
1 votes:

b-ham: Subby has it backwards - it takes away tax breaks for charities that spend  more than 70% of their donations on management, etc. So as long as you still spend 30% or more on charity you're still in the clear.

Good move, but it still seems like a very conservative number. Why not 50%?


Yeah - I've basically stopped giving to charities because I don't know how the money will be spent.  I don't mind giving, but if most of my money is not actually going to help the cause I'm giving to then screw that.

If they can't even tell me how my money will be spent then I actually would rather give it to some homeless person on the street even if there's a good chance it will just be wasted on booze or drugs.

The most annoying charity grabs are the ones in the check out lines at PetSmart or Target.  "Would you like to donate a  dollar?"  As if you're some sort of scrooge if you don't cough up a 100 pennies while you're spending $50 on merchandise.

PetSmart asks for money for animals.  You know what, PetSmart?  Every single penny I spend at your store is going to a once homeless animal.

I'm really tempted to start my own charity.  You send me your dollars and tell me what cause you support and I promise to at least forward at least 30 cents on each dollar to whoever you want me to.
2013-06-30 06:08:59 PM
1 votes:

b-ham: Subby has it backwards - it takes away tax breaks for charities that spend  more than 70% of their donations on management, etc. So as long as you still spend 30% or more on charity you're still in the clear.

Good move, but it still seems like a very conservative number. Why not 50%?


Deserves reiteration.
2013-06-30 06:08:23 PM
1 votes:

b-ham: Good move, but it still seems like a very conservative number. Why not 50%?


They might be anticipating having to defend this law in court. It might be more feasible to do so if they're only going after the worst offenders.
 
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