Tax Deduction for Donated IP?


A

AES

Consider scenario:

* Major nonprofit 501(c)(3) scientific society (14,000
members): publishes peer-reviewed journals, holds scientific
meetings, and these days makes a lot of high-quality
technical info available on its web site.

* At said meetings, members present scientific talks,
sometimes as "submitted" talks (refereed and
accepted/rejected by a program committee), sometimes as
invited and/or plenary and/or tutorial talks which are
invited by the society to strengthen the attractiveness and
value of the meetings.

Latter (invited) categories are more prestigious for the
speakers; talks are often of quite high quality; preparation
can involve a lot of effort by the speakers.

* Suppose said society were to say to said invited speakers:

"We'd like to capture (videotape) your talks and have you
transfer or donate the copyrights (or whatever related
permissions are appropriate) to us".

"We'll then put them on our web site, maybe stream them on
demand, maybe distribute them on DVD, either as a member
benefit for members, or maybe for paid subscriptions by
members, nonmembers, and libraries (but with no ensuing
payments or royalties to you)".

Questions: (partly but maybe not entirely hypothetical)

* Could donation of these rights or permissions by the
speakers to the society be considered a Federal income
tax-deductible donation by the speakers to the society?

* Would this depend on what the society does with the
material, or how it handles it?

* Would it depend on how the speaker actually generates the
material? -- e.g., industrial researcher prepares it as a
secondary (but allowed) part of his or her industrial job;
or university faculty member prepares it as an expected and
rewarded (e.g., in promotion) part of his or her faculty
role; or retiree prepares it to keep active and involved.

And while we're on this line, similar individuals often
accept invitations, and put in a lot of overtime effort, to
give invited seminars at colleges and universities,
sometimes receiving a (clearly taxable) honorarium for doing
so, but often not. Sans honorarium, has the invitee made a
deductible contribution to said university?
 
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P

pgattocpa

AES said:
Consider scenario:

* Major nonprofit 501(c)(3) scientific society (14,000
members): publishes peer-reviewed journals, holds scientific
meetings, and these days makes a lot of high-quality
technical info available on its web site.

* At said meetings, members present scientific talks,
sometimes as "submitted" talks (refereed and
accepted/rejected by a program committee), sometimes as
invited and/or plenary and/or tutorial talks which are
invited by the society to strengthen the attractiveness and
value of the meetings.

Latter (invited) categories are more prestigious for the
speakers; talks are often of quite high quality; preparation
can involve a lot of effort by the speakers.

* Suppose said society were to say to said invited speakers:

"We'd like to capture (videotape) your talks and have you
transfer or donate the copyrights (or whatever related
permissions are appropriate) to us".

"We'll then put them on our web site, maybe stream them on
demand, maybe distribute them on DVD, either as a member
benefit for members, or maybe for paid subscriptions by
members, nonmembers, and libraries (but with no ensuing
payments or royalties to you)".

Questions: (partly but maybe not entirely hypothetical)

* Could donation of these rights or permissions by the
speakers to the society be considered a Federal income
tax-deductible donation by the speakers to the society?

* Would this depend on what the society does with the
material, or how it handles it?

* Would it depend on how the speaker actually generates the
material? -- e.g., industrial researcher prepares it as a
secondary (but allowed) part of his or her industrial job;
or university faculty member prepares it as an expected and
rewarded (e.g., in promotion) part of his or her faculty
role; or retiree prepares it to keep active and involved.

And while we're on this line, similar individuals often
accept invitations, and put in a lot of overtime effort, to
give invited seminars at colleges and universities,
sometimes receiving a (clearly taxable) honorarium for doing
so, but often not. Sans honorarium, has the invitee made a
deductible contribution to said university?
Donators of IP can take tax deductions. However, there has
been considerable abuse in this arena and the IRS (and
perhaps Congress?) has been considering changes. Many
corporations were donating relatively worthless IP to
universities and taking large charitable deductions for
inflated valuations.

I haven't followed it for a while, but just wanted you to be
aware that there may have been or will be changes to the
valuation rules.

Peter C. Gatto, CPA
 
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S

Seth Breidbart

AES said:
Consider scenario:

* Could donation of these rights or permissions by the
speakers to the society be considered a Federal income
tax-deductible donation by the speakers to the society?
Yes, but generally the amount of the deduction would be
limited to the actual out-of-pocket cost of producing the
intellectual property in question.

(At least, that's the rule that applies when an artist
donates his own painting to a museum.)

Seth
 
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