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News — 04 March, 2013

Tax-Exempt in the United States at Last!

Background

HOT has been incorporated as a non-profit in Washington D.C. since August, 2010. The paperwork was originally done with a simple need in mind, that we wanted to continue to assist with the collection of data and use of OpenStreetMap in Haiti. Since this initial incorporation we have expanded our field work to include 8 countries in the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. We have also responded remotely to many kinds of disasters around the world. This week we reached another administrative milestone as a young non-profit incorporated in the United States.

Background

HOT has been incorporated as a non-profit in Washington D.C. since August, 2010. The paperwork was originally done with a simple need in mind, that we wanted to continue to assist with the collection of data and use of OpenStreetMap in Haiti. Since this initial incorporation we have expanded our field work to include 8 countries in the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. We have also responded remotely to many kinds of disasters around the world. This week we reached another administrative milestone as a young non-profit incorporated in the United States.

Many people confuse tax-exempt and non-profit status. During the past two and a half years HOT has been a non-profit. What this means is we don't distribute dividends to shareholders. All the money earned by the organization goes back into the organization. tax image This is an incorporation status, being tax exempt means that the organization does not have to pay taxes in the country or region where they have obtained such status. In the US this is a status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The News

Last week we received news that HOT has recognized as a "tax-exempt public charity under sections 501(c)(3) and 509(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code." The was exciting news for all of us. We had submitted the paperwork the end of November and to hear back quickly was great news. What this recognition means is that HOT does not have to pay federal taxes in the United States and that US individuals and corporations donating both money and in kind donations to HOT can deduct those contributions from their taxes. It also makes it possible for HOT to apply to certain foundations and programs that are only open to organizations with this status.

Thank You!

Thank you to all our volunteers, members, board, lawyer, accountants, donors, and everyone else that has been involved in this process in some capacity. This especially includes our previous and current board members who were largely responsible for the completion of the paperwork. Special thanks also goes to the Wilson Center for supporting our strategic planning meeting back in March, 2012 where obtaining tax-exempt status was set as one of the organizations primary short-term goals. Reaching this milestone will only help us continue help communities and governments obtain and use open geographic data for disaster response and preparedness.

The Future

In the short-term we will be applying to companies that have non-profit programs that we were previously not eligible and were paying for services. For the long-term the HOT board, staff and community will decide together what projects we want to pursue further and what the best methods will be to finance those activities. Different types of fundraising will certainly be a part of it.

Once again thank you everyone for your help!