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Re: AMSAT & Combined Federal Campaign

At 06:42 PM 11/29/2001 -0600, Jon Ogden wrote:
>1.) Sometimes AMSAT sells items that were donated to them as a "fundraiser"
>2.) The concept of "donation" does hold firm because the item received is
>considered a "premium" in exchange for donating.  The price is not at all
>fixed (legally IMHO, if you offer Amsat a $40 donation for a $60 antenna,
>they must take it - but you'll be considered a scab by most people for doing
>so).  It is very similar to the concept of PBS offering items in return for
>donating something.

That's a perfect analogy.  But you don't get to deduct the full amount of 
your contribution to PBS, only the part that exceeds the value of the 
merchandise that you get in return (and they are fairly clear about letting 
you know this).  Consider Nova for example.  AMSAT "sells" this to members 
for $50.  Yet the value of the product, according to the Northern Lights 
website is $60.  Surely you don't think that the IRS is going to let you 
deduct the $50 you gave to AMSAT when you obtained software in exchange 
that is worth more than the amount of your contribution?  It may well work 
to AMSAT's benefit to use this arrangement in their efforts to avoid sales 
taxes, but from an individual's standpoint, it doesn't.

BTW, if you go to the AMSAT software webpage 
(http://www.amsat.org/amsat/catalog/software.html), you will note that the 
word "donation" appears on the page only once, and that is in conjunction 
with WiSP, not with any other of their software packages.

I'm not trying trying to be party-pooper here, I just think that one ought 
to go into this with their eyes open.

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