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Ethics of ISA accounts

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  • #31
    ".... #1 & #2 ... you have the person who raised the money choosing how to use it and being the first to benefit and often the only to benefit because of wear and tear. "

    No, my troop benefits first because if the boy is prepared, we don't have to interrupt program to fish around for an old uniform or treat for hypothermia or buy the kid boots (if there were no spares in the troop store from previous stewardly purchases via ISA's).

    "Plus, if I donate my son's shirt after four years, I don't get to write off the full price of a new shirt. You get the garage sale price / value. Anything else is fraud. "

    - Nobody's making you use your son's ISA to by that uniform. If the boy uses his ISA, it's the troop's uniform, not his. So when he hands it down, it's not a donation, it's mere stewardship of troop resources.
    - You're certainly welcome to abstain from the troop's coffers and roll the dice on some organization wanting that ratty shirt after four years so you gain a write-off. Hope your boy respects his uni enough to make it worth your while.

    In fact, we don't make a boy use his ISA for anything at all. He can opt for it all to go back to the troop's coffers.

    Importantly, note the lack of boy-led in the statement "if I donate my son's shirt after four years, I don't get to". Isn't it your boy who would be applying for the write-off? Because really, if we compensated him for popcorn sales in the true sense, wouldn't the 1099 be in his name?

    Comment


    • fred johnson
      fred johnson commented
      Editing a comment
      I think you've driven a bit too much thru the southwest listening to all those independent radio channels run by tax protesters that argue the federal income tax is illegal and FDR did not pass the constitutional amendment properly.

      Your reasoning is the same that football parents would use to deduct the cost of their son's football uniform and summer camp costs.

      You want to reach a conclusion that is a bit more aggressive than I could sign up to following.

    • packsaddle
      packsaddle commented
      Editing a comment
      Na, ah, ahhhhh! Don't give all the credit to the Southwest! There are plenty of kooks in the Southeast and I've heard some of the worst, for that matter, in Wisconsin, eastern Washington and up in Idaho. They're everywhere, they're everywhere!

  • #32
    a Scout can't use his ISA to buy general camping gear as it would have a use outside the Scout program.

    from IRS:

    The private benefit prohibition is broad and includes the individual Scouts and their
    parents. The amount of private benefit that will be permitted depends on the magnitude
    of that benefit in relation to the public benefit derived from the organization's activities
    and whether that private benefit is necessary for the organization to achieve its exempt
    purposes. In considering whether a private benefit, such as earmarked accounts for the
    personal benefit of individual Scouts, is substantial enough to jeopardize your
    exemption, one must examine all of the facts and circumstances. In relation to the
    public benefit inherent in the Scouting program, this may be a small private benefit.
    Whether the private benefit to the individual Scouts is necessary to achieve the goals of
    the Scouting program, however, is not clear.
    We discussed a similar question in regard to athletic booster clubs that earmarked a
    portion of their fundraising proceeds to be shared only by the members who participated
    in the fundraiser in the 1993 CPE text (a copy is attached for your convenience). In the
    hypothetical addressed in the Article (Example one on page 5), we determined that the
    resulting private benefit to the individual members was substantial and negated the
    charitable intent of the organization precluding exemption under section 501(c)(3) of the
    Code.
    You have asked whether issuing a Form 1099 for each Scout receiving such benefits
    would negate the private benefit question. In this case, you would treat all income the
    Scout receives through the earmarked account as compensation for tax purposes. An
    exempt organization can, of course, pay reasonable compensation for services.
    Treating the receipts as income to the individual, however, may raise additional issues
    for the Pack. In particular, the fundraising activity may, if conducted by paid labor rather
    than volunteers, be characterized as unrelated business income taxable under section
    3
    511 of the Code. You may wish, therefore, to consider whether creating a possible tax
    liability for both the individual Scouts and the Pack is appropriate under the
    circumstances.
    This letter is advisory only and has no binding effect on the Internal Revenue Service.
    The information provided here cannot be relied upon as a ruling on the matters
    discussed. "
    So, ISA can be no larger than just large enough for that year's camping and program fees including uniforms, handbooks, BSA kits, ISA can't be used for general purpose campingequipment.the ISA account is not transferable to other troops. Most of all money raised must always go to the troop's general fund. Troop needs to do plenty of community service, conservation projects, and advancement training -- both for rank and for character development.

    Comment


    • qwazse
      qwazse commented
      Editing a comment
      And camping and hiking? Don't forget that we do that for the purposes of character development as well.

      If a boy is not prepared to hike with us, we cannot provide the public benefit of well trained youth on our nation's trails, inspired conservation projects, and a knowledgable citizenry when it comes to issues of environment.

      P.S. - For the record, I'm just playing devil's advocate here. I hate ISAs. don't have them in my crew, and wish my troop didn't have them. My son and I would be just fine rolling the dimes credited to him into shaving costs for everyone.

  • #33
    just a reminder that BSA National forbids ISA. Our troop does not have ISA. We feel that we could as our CO is a church that retains many freedoms all Americans once had. Much hiking equipment can be home-made or received as Christmas & birthday gifts. The Scout could also save part of his allowance if he gets one. Parents cannot use their kid's ISA

    Comment


    • jblake47
      jblake47 commented
      Editing a comment
      If the ultimate burden falls on the CO for legal responsibility for ISA's, then why would national BSA worry about it, they don't really have any skin in the game except maybe PR and if someone gets thrown under the bus, so what?

    • boomerscout
      boomerscout commented
      Editing a comment
      I have sent a query to National via scouting.org. Let's see if they can get off their larded behinds and answer this month. Meritbadges.org is not an official mouthpiece for National. As for the file on scouting.org, I believe it to be written before the relatively recent change of views in the IRS. The reason I think so is that the page is still proudly showing the United Way symbol
      Anyway, no more than four fundraisers a year, else you're outside your purpose and may be stripped of non-profit status. Now, if your church does a weekly funder, and gives you some each week, then OK

    • NealOnWheels
      NealOnWheels commented
      Editing a comment
      No more than 4 fundraisers a year and lose your non-profit status? Where is that documented?

  • #34
    Recent changes.....the Original memo was dated 2002.


    Bottom line here........I am just a volunteer trying to put on an affordable program for my boys......First, When we instituted the ISA account it was unknown to us that it was not appropriate or against tax law. Just trying to do the right thing for the boys....

    If national would provide rules regarding it...or provide a Troop, Pack and crew financial model...We would adopt it.

    Comment


    • boomerscout
      boomerscout commented
      Editing a comment
      not against tax law if periperal but inline with your program. In reading the IRS memoes, can be used for camp fees, uniforms, Handbook, Scout Shop training kits and any patches. If any of your Scouts have filled their ISA, maybe they can be a Secret Scout to help fill up their buddy's.
      In trying to research this, I discovered one fool troop puts on a monthly carwash. This can get you classified as a business faster than anything.
      I have sent National two different emails asking for the official stance. Evidently all the interns are super-busy planning great things for us.
      How old are your Scouts now? Ours either caddy or act as self-employed junior handymen and gardeners through our associated Rent-A-Scout program. (Will take a stay at home Scouter or spouse to pull this off)
      Admittedly, the easy way is all monies raised go into the general fund, and everyone goes to camp

    • qwazse
      qwazse commented
      Editing a comment
      About half of my 16+ y.o.'s will get some kind of desirable employment, a quarter will earn their families good graces by excelling academically. The other half, live in neighborhoods that, well, there are these street corners ...

    • packsaddle
      packsaddle commented
      Editing a comment
      Basementdweller, I think you've acted in good faith. Moreover, I think some IRS person would be pretty hard up to think pursuing any scoutmaster is worth even a minute of time over one of these situations. And I agree, perhaps BSA could turn some of its legal staff to finding an official opinion on this. Just keep in mind that those of us who have become accustomed to poor leadership out of Irving might, out of habit, ignore something that was actually useful as well.

  • #35
    Understand the street corners. Small shopkeepers may need errands run, floors swept, windows washed, back room sorted out; shoppers may need help carrying groceries home. Stand on the corner and sell ice cold bottles of water. If access to a commercial kitchen, stand on street corners and sell box lunches to morning commuters (or at least bags of homemade cookies) .Scavenge newspapers and cardboard for perpetual paper drive. Ditto deposit cans and bottles. They may then make enough money for Scout stuff.

    Comment

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