Motorola training and education grant.
Motorola training and education grant.
Deadline July 27... good luck getting this one done before deadline.
When you go to the application, the login/sign-up page shows the deadline extension.
AaHa! You would think they would have put that on their main page. I nailed a good one on this last year.
I see that the grant requires 501 (c) 3 status thereby excluding government organizations. Governments organizations i.e., fire departments do not fall into 501 (c) 3 status. These organizations are exempt from the Federal tax standpoint, but not under 501 (c) 3.
Expertshot I have many Volunteer FDs, Rescue, EMS organizations, Reserve police agencies and Aux Sheriff's Dept organizations which have filed for and hold 501c3 status.;)
Normally FDs aren't filed as such since most fall under a c4 designation but only takes a few minutes for some online entry (if it's working) and $250 to convert. Had similar issues with Wal-Mart's foundation before on the same issue where they stopped giving to some VFDs because they were c4 not c3. everything 501c is non-profit status but the traditional charities are under c3 which is how it all started. Schools and hospitals have their own c-numbers, so do churches so not all of them fall under c3 if their filer was actually following the directions. IRS doesn't care one way or the other unless the non-profit is giving grants itself, otherwise it's all non-profit to them. If grantmakers are pitching a fit then probably easier to just file the c3 paperwork than try to educate the grantmaking body that c4 is non-profit also. Some of these accountants and lawyers don't understand and more importantly don't care so easier to change and be able to apply than fight them and get a bad rap....
Apparently, our lawyer said it is illegal for us to use our 501 (c) 3 firefighters association to go after grants for the fire department. I did not personally speak to him, but if you do not have a 501 (c) 3 number the computer system actually will not let you apply. Interestingly, I was locked out on Walgreens application for the same reason, but I have never had a problem with Wal-Mart.
I believe a 501 (c) 3 requires that the organization donate x amount of money to under certain purposes. In fact, the lawyer had a lot to say about that too. I've heard from various companies grant representatives that the IRS is getting hot in the pants about government entities abusing the 501 (c) 3. I know they can take the status away from an organization, but never have heard of that happening. Concerns should probably be directed to a tax lawyer.
I think an easy solution would be for companies specifically targeting public safety entities to say must be a public safety department or a 501 (c) 3. In our case, our association is totally separate from the fire department so if they would not allow us to apply as a department then we could not apply at all. That brings me to, if a company is only going to accept 501 (c) 3s that wipes out a significant amount of departments that could have applied i.e., a fairness issue.
Its at least 400 now, 850 if over 10k in gross receipts.
I am quite sure that these companies have tremendous heartfelt and sincere intent to assist our agencies, promote good will and support our communities by offering up these programs to us and I for one am extremely grateful for the programs that they have offered in the past and will hopefully continue to offer to many of us. However, let's be honest and realistic here; the primary reason that any company has a charitable giving program is for the tax advantages it affords them.
In this case it is certainly not an issue of fairness on the part of the company, they are only following the rules that are imposed upon them.;)
I consulted an expert tax lawyer on advantages for companies to give money away to public safety organizations. The lawyer told me that a company giving $5,000 away would get a $5,000 tax credit so it is a win-win situation.
You are right, companies do it for financial reasons. What I disagree with you about is if the intent of a company is to help public safety organizations, mostly government entities, then do not exclude them from applying by requiring a 501 (c) 3 status because that effectively kills a significant amount of entities. The target here is clearly public safety entities so they should not restrict it to only departments that have a 501 (c) 3 status, especially if there is a legal issue with government entities using that for grant purposes.
I never said a private company had to give money away, what I said was those that have a charitable giving program. Please don't think I am being argumentative here, that is not my intent.
Your lawyers statement very well may be true and I am certainly not a lawyer but, it raises a logical question here. I am curious as to why a company the size of Motorola, who obviously has made a considerable share of their business fortune by supplying communications equipment to Public Safety Agencies, would offer this program yet still insist that you must be a 501c3 if it were not for some IRS tax related regulation? I mean I am sure Motorola probably has a entire law firm in Chicago under retainer to provide tax advice to them and I cannot see any logical reason they would exclude the very people who are their largest customers unless there was some regulatory reason for them doing so.
I don't know, like I said I am not a tax attorney, I just know that in my experience with other corporate funding sources they have always told me that in most cases the grant recipient had to be a 501c3 organization or it afforded them no tax advantage.:confused:
KTB, I am thinking they may have unintentionally made a mistake. It has been my experience that the only time a company will modify their grant period is if they made a mistake or if they have low numbers of applications. Maybe they don't know this could be excluding the very people they are trying to help? I would suggest those with an interest in the grant contact them directly, it sounds like a great grant program. The whole 501 (c) 3 deal just seems fishy to me which is why I brought it up.
The 501c3 eligibility is the same as last year; I developed an application for a client and was awarded it last year
The client was a government entity?
No a501c3 nonprofit organization who benefited the employees of the government agency
First off, your lawyer is wrong in that it is possible that the 501c3 association could apply on behalf of the FD. As long as the fact that is happening is not hidden and as long as the grant funding goes to the stated purpose, there's no fraud. FP&S does this all the time as does SAFER with R&R projects.
And again, companies state 501c3 because that's normally what charities are, not realizing that other eligible organizations aren't c3. Back in 2001 and 2002 AFG stated 501c3 non-profit fire departments were the only eligible applicants. And most aren't filed that way, so after DHS realized the problem it was changed to just non-profit FDs.
Also 501c3's are not required to give funding away, but that is the only subsection that can last I checked. So if a non-profit wants to give funding back out in grants or donations then it has to be a c3. But a c3 doesn't have to, and obviously since there haven't been any penalties levied against the 1000s of FDs we've worked with that are c3's, many of them converted from c4's to be eligible for more programs. And of course it's allowed since the IRS has to sign off on the c3 to c4 changeover, so might be the lawyer being misinformed.
Easy way to look at it.
501C(3) = donations to it are tax deductable and considered charitable.
501C(4) = donations to it are NOT tax deductable.
Why are they a 501C? So they do not have to pay most kinds of taxes. They are exempt from federal income taxes.
Just because there are thousands of fire departments that are 501 (c) 3s does not mean that they are properly filed with the IRS; it also does not mean they are doing anything wrong either. All that means is there are thousands of fire departments with 501 (c) 3 status. Some would probably feel safe going after the (c) 3 because there might already be a significant number of departments with that classification, but realize there are over 30,000 fire departments in the U.S. with 25,000 or so being volunteer or mostly volunteer. Personally, I would not want to be the department to take the chance on improperly filing tax exempt status. Moreover, you imply the lack of penalties as being indicative of correctness. What is the success rate on the "everyone is doing it" argument again?
I directly asked this woman if it was possible for a fire department that is a government entity to get a 501 (c) 3 and she said no. I followed that up by adding in the word volunteer and she stated "no." A fire department that is a government entity - most of the fire departments in the US are - may have tax exempt status, but not under 501 (c) 3. Anyone with an interest could call them and speak with someone, best to get it in writing too.
Let me be clear, I want there to be grants for fire departments, but I want departments to take the time to make sure they are doing everything the correct way. If you don't know if something is correct, find out. Triple check the information. Get it in writing so if something does come up, the department acted in good faith. At some point, if someone is doing something improper the authorities will find out. Assuming something is wrong, how hard would it be to educate grantors who would like to help us out that they simply might need to tweak some language to allow more public safety organizations to apply?
So far I've gotten two similar but different answers from two tax attorneys and an interesting response from the IRS...typical... In the end there seems to be a lot of confusion at all levels about the tax code. The simple thing for grantors to do is just open it up to tax exempt organizations of their choosing and not actually reference the legal code.
And on your last line - if the donating company, the grantor, wants a tax deduction, the agency that recieves it MUST be a 501C3 or go through an extended process to prove that the deduction will go to a specific need that follows the requirements for a 501C3. That process being such that no company is going to navigate that route.
IRS Publication 526, page 2, is very specific and clear about this, AND specifically includes governments along with 501C3
If there is a nexus between the government and the fire department then typically they are classified as government from what the IRS lady told me. Like I said, I know there are some different departments out there that are private fire departments that governments purchase "services" from. Different states have different rules. I am going off of what the IRS told me.
Thanks for posting that document, but I think there must be something else out there. According to the expert lawyer I consulted "You can get a charitable tax deduction for contributions to a state or any political subdivision or the United States....probably they are gifts to the towns or cities." I wonder if it makes a difference whether it is a deduction on State or Federal taxes?
Either way, whatever the actual code is some departments that are government entities are getting excluded and that, to me, is unfortunate.