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Clarification on our 501(c)(3) Status
30 December 2008
We've had some questions recently about our 501(c)(3) status. So I thought I'd provide anyone interested in this with a deeper understanding of how KUR is structured. So for those curious and brave enough, put on your green visor and saddle up your tax accountants and read on.
KUR was incorporated in the State of Florida as a non-profit corporation. KUR's Articles of Incorporation our mission and that our handling of assets and earnings to be consistent with the IRS regulations of tax exempt organizations under section 501(c)(3). Our focus is to identify opportunities for more informative characterizations and collect scientific information about karst systems for academic research, environmental protection and public posterity. We fill the crucial niche of supporting scientists and other concerned parties by pulling information from the ground - literally - that they would not be able to safely do themselves. We also help scientists plan or refine their research plans based on our observations and data collections. But, we are not a laboratory or facility. We are a volunteer organization that relies on the efforts of skilled (and enthusiastic) volunteers with their own exploration equipment to execute our research efforts.
Because of this focus and our volunteer-driven operating model, we have been able to run with very low operating costs. Historically, we have not solicited charitable contributions or donations. In some cases, we have received minimal fees for our data collection, such as cave system surveys/maps or water samples, and these fees have been consumed reimbursing our volunteers for their expenses to collect the data and our costs to produce reports. Due to this structure, our gross receipts have been less than $5,000 annually. The IRS allows such entities to consider themselves as a tax exempt 501(c)(3) entity without having to file the Form 1023 with the IRS for formal recognition of this status. Because of our extremely low level of gross fees and that we do not solicit for charitable contributions, we have not found necessary to complete this form at present. However, we may do so if - at a future point - we consider the formal recognition by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) to be beneficial to us and any would-be contributors.
Now don't get us wrong, we'd love to have some "free money." So if you've got some for us, contact us and we will be happy to explore our options with you further. Of course, please don't consider this tax advice, you will need evaluate your specific situation to determine if any contribution can be consider a charitable deduction on your federal tax return.