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lmcniece

Buying a trailer

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Our troop plans to buy a trailer. Our concern is figure out who will "own" the troop's trailer. Our CO is a church, and is tax exempt, but they are reluctant to assume ownership of a trailer due to liability concerns. Some troops have created 501©3 corporations, separate from but associated with each troop. These corporations have tax exempt status, and more importantly are legal entities that can purchase, own, register and carry insurance for a trailer. We have a couple of Scouter attorneys in the troop who are willing to process applications to create one for us, but we are wondering if there is an established format that has been used and accepted by the IRS.

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Another suggestion from an attorney in our pack was to have the trailer owned by an individual. That individual would sign a power of attorney, giving the right to the pack to reassign ownership if it ever wanted to.

 

I don't know the specific answer to your question about established formats, but surely there's a standard form for creating a 501©3. I don't see any reason why your proposed organization would be unique.

 

Oak Tree

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Didn't you say that the church, the units chartering organization, the folks that OWN the unit, did not want the troop to have a trailer?

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It sounded more like they were worried about accepting liability for the trailer, not that they didn't want the troop to have one.

 

Well, I think the deal is that since your CO effectively owns the troop and its assets, you have a couple of options....

 

One. Talk with your Council office and see what insurance protection is extended to the CO through the BSA. Could be there isn't any in regards to the trailer, but you'd want to understand that. If the BSA insurance covers the CO in regards to liability, you want to make sure the CO understands that. Could be the CO's own insurance would cover the trailer in case of theft, for example.

 

Two. As others mentioned, you could arrange for someone else to own the trailer, but then you have to figure out what happens if the trailer is in an accident, or is stolen. Or, you could form your own non-profit to CO the troop, but you'd have to figure that out as well. And find meeting places, etc.

 

First step, I think, is to talk to your Council office and find out what the BSA insurance covers, if anything, in regards to the trailer.

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The as far as accident and liability, If you ask an insurance agent I believe you will discover that the trailer becomes a part of the vehicle that is towing it.

 

As far as theft, whether the equipment is stored inside the church or in a locked trailer outside the church the property protection policy of the church should cover it.

 

You need a talk with the insurance agent. Either way it is the Co's decision if they do not want to be responsible for a trailer than you should not be looking for a way around their decision, you work for them.

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I think it varies from state to state as top who can own the trailer, but our trailer is titled in the Troop's name. We have a small insurance policy (about $50 per year) thru State Farm also in the name of the Troop. As was stated before, check with an insurance agent.

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Thanks for your responses. I will check with my insurance agent, and Council, about the assignment for potential liability (I have had vague and confusing responses at the District level). I may not have been clear about our CO's concerns - they have no problem with us having a trailer and have agreed to allow us to store it on the property - they just don't want to be involved in ownership in any way. And the reason we would prefer not to have the trailer owned by an individual is that we would have to pay taxes to buy it, outfit it and maintain it - and since we are legitimately a not-for-profit organization, we would like to put that money into troop equipment and activities. My question about completing the application to create the 501©3 concerns the complexity of the Form 1023 and related Schedules - and trying to avoid the possibility of going back and forth with the IRS until we completed them to their satisfaction. If anyone has done that, I was hoping for guidance.

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Imcniece,

 

Trailers! I love trailers! But Trailers can be a pain in the...neck. First you need to check several things...BSA insurance does not cover the trailer at all. In most states (all?), when the trailer is hooked to a vehicle that vehicles accident and Liability policy are on the "hook" even if you pay for an extra liablility policy the tow vehicles policy is the one that will take the hit...a separate troop policy for "travel liability" would be a waste of money...

 

We had a CO that had "issues" about accepting liability and paying for the extra $50-$100 per year to insure the trailer for other types of losses...(equipment) even though the troop paid for the trailer, the tags, taxes and registration...after a few months of "thought" they sent the title back to the troop leaders...We eventually "fired" them ...(calm down BW)

 

Our new CO had no such "issues"...

Now on personal/vehicle property taxes...our State does not recognize a trailer as part of the church's mission or ministry "personal property" and disallowed the "religious exemption " so the troop pays the annual taxes...and repairs and tires and lights and locks and paint and signage...lets face it some time ya just gotta pay for what you want.

 

It might be simply a matter of bringing all of the information to your CO (the lawyers would be a nice touch, a local accountant...etc.) and have a chat about your needs and what the trailer will mean to your program. With all the info you may be surprised by a "better" answer.

 

The 501©3 corporations are an interesting twist but you still end up paying insurance and taxes. Tax exempt does not mean that you (as a corporation) are exempt from paying all taxes...'cause you will find that there are still some taxes to pay...

let us know what you end up doing!

anarchist

 

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A Form 1023 need not be filed if average annual gross receipts are less than $5,000. Accordingly, there would be no need to pay the $500 Form 1023 application fee ($150 if receipts are less than $10K annually). Of course, you would not have an exempt-status/public charity determination letter from the IRS to show potential donors. That doesn't mean they can't claim a donation to the corporation, but it could scare larger donations away.

 

Likewise, an annual Form 990 need not be filed if annual receipts are less than $25,000.00.

 

Depending on the state, there are no taxes to pay. For example, in Maryland, a non-stock/non-profit corporation can be established for a $100 filing fee for the Articles of Incorporation. Beyond that, there are no taxes or annual fees (other than a small trailer tag renewal fee which would be owed regardless of whether owned personally or corporate).

 

 

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I LOOKED OVER THE REPLIES AND INS. ISSUES-- IN MY STATE, IF YOU ARE TOWING A TRAILER IT'S YOUR RESPONSIBLITY AND INS. ON THE LINE. A FEW QUESTIONS NEED TO BE ANSWERED FIRST BEFORE YOU BUY --WHO TOWS THE TRAILER, I MEAN,WITH WHAT TYPE OF CAR OR TRUCK? HOW LARGE A TRAILER (GVW), NUMBER OF AXLES ECT. WHAT TYPE OF BRAKES OR HITCH SYSTEMS THAT ARE REQUIRED BY LAW FOR THAT TRAILER, WILL EVERONE HAVE THAT SAME TOWING EQUIPMENT ON THEIR VEH. I KNOW WE HAVE A LOT OF CARS THAT CAN'T TOW OUR TRAILER. TROUBLE STARTS WHEN YOUR CAR AND TRAILER DON'T OR COMES OFF--- RM

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I've recently been interested in getting a trailer for my Troop, and the only things that keep coming up in my searches are a bunch of RVs. Anyone know of any site to go to for getting trailers for storing purposes, only? If it's possible, a trailer with some Scouting emblems on it?

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Try searching under yellowpages.com, you can localize your search. Use keywords like: trailer, utility, equipment - that should get you dealers who sell or can direct you to someone who sells these trailers. You will not be able to buy one with decals already on - however, at www.scoutstuff.org you can order a full color, circular (2 sizes - 17.5" and 29", I think) decal of the Scout emblem. I got two for the sides of our new trailer. It took me forever to find this site - I searched for days on the web and this was the one place that had something. I recommend a sign-maker for anything else you want to add - like your troop number and location, sponsoring organization, etc.

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EagleScout316,

 

You're profile says you are in Central Illinois. If so, you are just a few hours away from the mecca of trailers - Northern Indiana. From Indy on up, there are a host of trailer manufacturers. Typically, the further north you go, the cheaper they get. But you have to balance that against the time and gas it takes to get there.

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One problem intervenes there. I have no car, and probably won't be getting one for awhile. If anyone were to use the actual trailer, it'd be the Scoutmaster, but since he continually has shown that he's too busy for getting around to things like getting a proper trailer for the Troop, that workload falls on my shoulders. If I ordered it online, would they deliver it, or would i have to go and get it?

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