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catkin 06-11-2013 05:14 AM

FOSS organisations recognised as charities in UK?
 
Are there any FOSS organisations recognised as charities in UK?

FSF has a European organisation that is recognised as a charity in Germany (and maybe much of the rest of Europe) but not in the UK because the UK government does not recognise organisations with political aims as charities.

The reason for asking is because I am a UK taxpayer and would like to make tax-efficient donations to the FOSS movement.

neonsignal 06-20-2013 09:00 PM

An indirect way might be to donate to a charity that develops specific FOSS software (for example, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute develops the GPLed Artemis genome browser). If you are talking a significant donation, you may even be able to earmark it specifically, for example donating to an educational charity to assist in the use of FOSS software in schools. Another possibility would be to donate to a civil liberties organization, which sometimes have projects related to internet freedoms (such as Liberty's campaign against the blanket tapping of communications data).

Alternatively for a small amount, find someone you trust in Europe who can donate to FSFE on your behalf, and will make up the tax refund difference (ie, lets say their tax refund in their country is 30%, then you would gift them 70% of the donation to be made, they would put in an additional 30%, and they would get the refund).

I realize these are not directly what you are after, just a bit of thinking outside the box if you cannot find an FSF equivalent that is a registered charity.

catkin 06-22-2013 04:21 AM

Thanks neonsignal :)

"Thinking outside the box" very welcome.

A charity that develops specific FOSS software would be OK as long as they were well established. But how to find such charities other than the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute?

The civil liberties organisation option may not be viable. Isn't campaigning for civil liberties a political activity so such organisations could not be charities as far as HMRC (the UK government tax organisation) is concerned?

I'm interested in giving as part of my will so would not want to require the executors to use the ingenious European friend mechanism.

neonsignal 06-22-2013 05:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by catkin (Post 4976508)
The civil liberties organisation option may not be viable. Isn't campaigning for civil liberties a political activity so such organisations could not be charities as far as HMRC (the UK government tax organisation) is concerned?

Many charities undertake some political activity (such as lobbying), but in the case of FSFE the political campaigning might have been seen as the primary aim of the organization (I'm only guessing here). My understanding is that the Charity Commission are not able to support organizations that mainly campaign for legal change or are party partisan. It seems to me that FSFE is primarily about civil rights rather than legal change, so it doesn't quite seem fair.

I was thinking something more like Civil Liberties Trust (it was the National Council for Civil Liberties), which is a registered charity in the UK.

I did a bit of a search on the Charity Commission site. One possibility which might be a bit more along the lines of what you were looking for is a charity called Open Source Innovation.

There were also a couple of charitable groups that are involved in computer recycling and IT support for charities and low-income people. One of these, Comm-Tech, appears to be a FOSS promoter.

You'd probably want to do some due diligence (eg have a look at the financial records they have submitted to the Charity Commission, talk to one of their staff, etc) on these last two if you were thinking about a sizable contribution, as they are not as well known.

catkin 06-23-2013 04:30 AM

Thanks for further work neonsignal :)

Thanks to your suggestion, I also searched the Charity Commission site but found only the two possibilities you already mentioned. Unfortunately neither feel right (sorry). Open Source Innovation's website doesn't list any activity after 2008 and Comm-Tech are geographically small.

I will write to FSFE again and ask them to re-check the political angle.


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