OSI and Conservancy Announce US Tax Exemption Working Group

Software Freedom Conservancy and
the Open Source Initiative are pleased to announce that they are the founding
members of a working group focused on tax exemption issues for organizations
in the United States.

Recent activity by the Internal Revenue Service in response to
applications for tax exempt status have sparked a lot of interest and
discussion amongst free and open source software communities.

OSI and Conservancy recognize that the IRS’s understanding and evaluation
of free and open source software can impact both new organizations created to
promote the public good as charities (known as 501(c)(3) organizations after
the corresponding tax code provision), as well as new organizations formed to
forward a common business interest (known as 501(c)(6) organizations).

The working group will be open to equal participation from all concerned
parties, and the working group will seek to recruit legal experts to
participate in its
processes. Aaron
Williamson, partner at Tor Ekeland
, will chair the group.

We’ve been watching this issue for some time and look forward to
pooling our resources with other organizations and companies,
Karen Sandler, Executive Director of Software Freedom Conservancy.
Together we can come to a better understanding of the IRS’s perspective
and plan strategically to communicate the value and importance of the
corporate forms we choose.

Over the years, applying for 501(c)(3) or (c)(6) status has become the
de facto standard for new FLOSS projects in the US,
said Allison Randal,
Director of the Open Source Initiative. It’s not clear yet whether recent
responses from the IRS are isolated special cases or represent a more general
trend, but it is worthwhile to look into the topic more deeply, and ensure we
have a strong and diverse set of healthy growth patterns for FLOSS projects,
to last decades into the future.

Those interested in getting involved with this working group should contact
Allison Randal at <allison@opensource.org>.