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Reading these makes me sad about the law in my country, Finland. The lowest tier of OP ($7 for no reward) would be illegal here.

We have a law called "Money Collection act", which states that to gather donations (i.e. payments with nothing in return), you have to get a permit. This permit costs money, is not given to individuals, and is given only for non-profit activities.

So this means that if you see a donation/sponsorship button on a software project where the money goes to a Finnish person, it is illegal (unless they have obtained a permit, which is highly unlikely). If you see a patreon/sponsorship with rewards, it's a grey area. The only clearly legal way is by selling actual things, and of course then you quickly need to set up a business.

I host a free project myself and I've had to set up a business (sole proprietorship) and sell things in order to get money for server costs. Even though people have been interested in donating, I can't do that legally.






> Even though people have been interested in donating, I can't do that legally.

What you can do is to "sell" something in lieu of donations:

E.g. - To support me please buy this wallpaper image file of my project logo. Or one-day email support etc.

You can always add a note that Finland laws prevent you from accepting donation, and this is the only way you can accept money from patrons, and even provide a link to the law in question.

(Note that depending on the laws in your country you may have to register as a freelancer / small business and pay taxes. In most countries this will be free or near free, and you probably won't get enough money to reach the threshold aftwer which you have to pay taxes).


Sure and this is kind of what I do. I have a sole proprietorship and sell stickers and in the future some minor features on the site. Of course it has the overhead of setting up the business and all the accounting/tax stuff (unless you use a service for that which takes ~5 % of your revenue).

But can't you sell your digital artwork without setting up business? Seems better than stickers (also, no shipping!).

[*] Digital artwork = project logo in png format, free to use however they please. You can license the publicly-available logo with any minimally-restrictive license (e.g. CC-BY); this should still count that "you gave them additional rights, in exchange for payment".


tax reporting most likely

I mean, yes you need to report revenues, but... do you need a company for that? Do e.g. all Finnish photographers on Shutterstock have a company, in order to receive payments?

Yes, if you sell things (or electronic things), in any meaningful amount (no one will care for 200$ per year though), you have to set up a company or a sole proprietorship. It is like this in most western countries. The activity that you are doing in that case is called business, and of course you need to have a company or a similar business structure (like sole proprietorship) to do business.

Whether all people do it or not is another question, but that is what is required by the law.


I think the confusion in this thread is that (in most of Western Europe) you automatically become a business (or even company) by the sole act of doing "business" (enterprise with the purpose of earning money), and once you cross some (small) threshold you have to register in some capacity. That can be a ~$20 bureaucratic act, compared to the ~$500 act of setting up a proper company. But of course at that point it varies wildly by country.

IANAL, but I have done this a few times. I'm pretty sure you do not need a company to make money as a self-employed person in the USA. Not in terms of federal taxes anyway.

What you might need a company for is to pay sales taxes you charge for physical goods, or get insurance appropriate for your line of work. That's likely to be state-by-state. You just get the convenience of an EIN by registering and some additional legal protections by being a distinct entity (i.e. I could sell the company or assign IP to it or hire employees).

I have certainly gotten contractor income to me personally that I just had to account for. In the USA for small businesses you'd have to send the same documentation, so it doesn't even save paperwork. As a sole proprietorship I get the same tax documents from my clients as I would if I were operating directly under my name.

Edit: Also, if this were true in the USA, it implies that all those Uber drivers each have a sole-proprietorship set up. I'm pretty sure that companies can hire contractors as individuals without them becoming businesses.


You also need a company so you don't lose your house and life's savings if you're sued, too. That's what freelancers primarily create companies for. IRS doesn't really let you take advantage of any tax loopholes unless you employ a bunch of other people.

I don't understand characterizing compliance with tax law as using "loopholes." What are you referring to?

The topic is obviously enormous and more complicated than "big business bad", but it wouldn't be a loophole if it wasn't legal. Defining only illegal things as loopholes is not a great line in the sand, it's kind of a tautology that loopholes aren't illegal. I would expect that the specific definition varies a lot by person because democracy. One person's corrupt loophole is another person's tax incentive, but either way the loophole is legal.

What specifically the parent was referring to I'm not sure, but that would be why it is consistent to describe a company as both "in compliance with tax law" and also as "using loopholes". If they weren't in compliance with tax law they'd just be breaking the law. No one is accusing the companies of breaking the law, they're accusing the tax system of being biased and corrupt.


Do you play board games?

Which games don't have edge cases, loopholes, exploits?

Of the games which can be "gamed", are they more or less complex than any given tax code?


Thank you for explaining this. As an American, I was unaware.

In the US, you're already a sole proprietorship without any registration. Of course, if you're actually doing business, you probably want the protections of an LLC, which requires registration and fees. But you can accept uncompensated gifts as an individual, and you can accept business income as a sole proprietor, all without registering for anything in particular. You are, as always, required to file accurate taxes, including estimated withholding.

> the protections of an LLC

Won't protect one guy or a small team in case of legal disputes, it's called piercing the corporate veil. I wonder if the EU has something similar.


Number of employees or members isn’t relevant. Types of behavior performed is. It is worth talking to a lawyer about this if you have enough revenue this matters.

You can take donations but AFAIK business licenses are required in every state in the US whether you provide product, service or something online. If you take donations then by law you have to declare that as income.

There is no generally “business license” in Arkansas. Some municipalities require them (but have very limited means of enforcing that requirement), and some specific occupations require licensure, but unless you fall under one of those narrow categories you only have to file taxes.

I've always found it deliciously ironic that the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution both dealt with interstate commerce and set up the federal government as superseding the states in this regard... but then corporations are a state level entity not federal, complete with 50 states worth of regulations.

>It is like this in most western countries.

No it isn't... In Canada, you can happily accept money from people and just stick it in the "other income" box on your tax return, where it'll get income-taxed appropriately.

If you're trying to do business deductions or want to pay business taxes instead, yes you need a business. If you're trying to set up a physical location, yes you need a business license from your city. But if you don't care about the pennies and your work is digital there's absolutely no requirement.


"It is like this in most western countries" can still apply even if Canada is an exception.

Generally speaking the same is true of “gifts”, though. You don’t have to report a gift as income if it’s reasonable, but drawing that line is where things get... complicated. Then you have to call in specialists like tax lawyers, etc.

In the US, gifts of up to $15k are untaxed.

Are you sure that you’re not operating as a sole proprietor under that set of facts? If I sell something with the intention of making a profit using my own name as the seller, bam, I’m a sole proprietor. If I file a doing-business-as (DBA) form with my city, I can sell under another name and still be a sole proprietor.

> It is like this in most western countries.

This is not the case in the USA. There is no general federal legal requirement to register a business or obtain a business license in order to sell things. However, there are specific industries for which business licenses are required (at any of the federal, state and local levels) and forming an LLC might help personal assets if you are sued.


It's different here - for revenue from intellectual property rights in particular you do not need to be a business (you do need accounting & to submit an annual declaration to the revenue service; but you can do that as a regular person, there's no need to register a business).

Untrue, you can work with a freelancer tax card. You can't bill with VAT and deduct that from your costs as an entrepreneur if you do so, but you don't need to register anything in order to work as a freelancer.

In Australia you don’t need to set anything up. If annual turnover is over $75,000 you’ll need to register for GST which requires an ABN, and if you want a .com.au domain name you’ll need an ABN, and other entities you deal with may want you to have an ABN, but for the sorts of things in question here you won’t need an ABN.

In the US, AFAICT "sole proprietorship" is just the label for a natural person doing business; the extent of the registration can just be DBA ("doing business as") so that you can cash checks in a name other than you own.

Is it illegal if you sell an item/service/upgrade for a clearly absurd price?

The obvious workaround here is to paywall some tiny feature with choose-your-own-price, or perhaps offer something akin to Reddit Gold. I presume the law already thought of that?


Surely there's a difference between ”Buy this PNG file for €200” and “Buy it for €10,000,000”

Lots of brands sell things with prices only justifiable by the branding and associated prestige.

The authors tactic of paywalling things behind a "donation" seems legally much more dubious.


It wouldn't be a donation, it would be a premium account that has access to extra features. I just don't want those features to make the free users feel second class.

Could you share a link to your project? I'm curious what it is.


Yeah, we have an active person in the Sandstorm community from Finland who maintains Wekan[1]. I didn't previously know the specifics, but he's had to tell a lot of people "sorry, I can't accept donations" too.

It's so much easier in the US. If you're an individual it's going to be taxable income, but there's no up-front paperwork to do (for that matter, you don't have to "set up" a sole proprietorship here either -- that's just what the tax code calls "some rando doing business by themself"). I've done contract work for years, have a bit of my income coming in through GitHub sponsors now.

Now, if we could only get health care covered for folks who don't have an employer...

---

> I host a free project myself and I've had to set up a business (sole proprietorship) and sell things in order to get money for server costs.

What's your side project? Speaking of Sandstorm, I'm wondering if it might be relevant; dealing with the problem of developers needing to monetize things in order to cover hosting costs was one of the motivations for the project:

https://sandstorm.io/news/2014-07-21-open-source-web-apps-re...

[1]: https://github.com/wekan/wekan/


If you haven't done so already, you REALLY should look into setting up an LLC for contract work in the US. Legally separating your business assets from your personal assets is very important. It doesn't cost a ton -- varies by state and whether you involve a lawyer or not. It will make your taxes a bit more complicated, but consider that the cost of insurance against somebody trying to sue you and take your house.

Literally just buying an insurance policy is significantly less complicated and roughly the same cost, IME. Professional liability, errors and omissions, etc. cost me ~$1k a year when I was doing consulting for $1mm in coverage. My LLC taxed as an S-corp cost more than that just in tax prep services.

A single member LLC provides some benefits but those benefits often require a lawyer to invoke (i.e. you're getting sued, gotta file things and work the legal system). If you have insurance you just tell the insurance company and they hire the lawyers.


Perhaps the US is different, but here in the UK, I reckon that 95% of software developers will never go to court in their lifetime, and the remaining ones that do will settle for small amounts (ie. Refunding the customer the cost of the contract). Multi-million pound judgements against individuals are pretty much unheard of...

As a freelancer in Sweden I can't even imagine how big I would have to fuck up for a customer to sue me for anything beyond what they had already paid me.

Imagine you are paid $100 to build a website to sell some new widget to be delivered on November 1st just in time for the holiday season. The company also spends $1000 on a one-day internet marketing campaign that's around the launch.

Then there's a technical issue at launch and orders are being rejected left and right.

They could be out basically the whole value of the marketing campaign which is 10x your salary. You might owe them compensation for that, unless of course you got paid through an LLC and only have the $100 in your account.


That's why you have contracts/ToS, so it's clear what is and isn't your responsibility.

And if you have any sense, the contract expressly limits your total liabilities to the client to at most what they have already paid you.

(ps. With some careful lawyer drafting to exempt things which can't be limited in that way (negligence etc.), while carefully wording the exemption so any part voided doesn't take the whole limitation with it.)


In the US lawsuits typically open with the closest thing a lawyer can imagine to infinity dollars of damages, and then you have to have your lawyer work it down.

E&O insurance is in absolutely no way a replacement for incorporation. In most cases if you need the former, you need the latter also, but there are many uninsurable cases where you want the protection of an LLC anyway.

I guess never really analyzed it in depth and just had both. What does E&O miss that a single member LLC protects against (and vice versa)?

LLC[1] mostly does what it says on the tin: it limits the liability to the company, not yourself or other owners. Without this any debt or judgement against your company can consume potentially most of your net worth (subject to bankrupcy, etc.). In practice for a freelancer this means you can limit your liability pretty strongly, if you are passing everything through as payroll the asset value of your company can be quite small, and it's value without you nil.

On the other hand various types of corporate insurance cover you for particular risks. Depending where and how you operate you may have to have them by statute or by practicality. So you may have to carry liability insurance by law if you have an office where people visit, or a contract may require that you hold E&O insurance up to a certain amount. In a way the latter is actually your customer protecting themselves from your use of a LLC. Without it, in the case of a settlement against you, you could easily just turn around and say "fine, the corporate account has $5 in it, here you go" and then fold up the company leaving them with no recourse. With E&O coverage for certain types of errors, they know they can get covered in a settlement up to a certain amount.

E&O covers you for particular failures in providing the service you are contract for. Say you were an electrician and did some work on a new building. They sue you claiming your work wasn't to code and caused them $100k in trouble with the city - you disagree. E&O insurance covers your court costs and potentially your settlement if it goes that way. It isn't going to cover you if you get sued for libel because of things you said about them, etc.

This is also why, for example, it may be hard/impossible to get underwriters for some software consulting. Because there are not professional standards groups that are well recognized and because potential damages from software can be difficult to asses (your script change cost us $10mm in AWS fees) insurance companies may not want anything to do with it.

So that leads to a third prong of protections which you didn't mention, which is you need to pay attention to your contract terms (and set them as much as you can). Depending on your situation this can range from easy to impossible, but can have a huge impact. For example, I've successfully added clauses to limit all liability to actual spend on previous 6 mo.

[1] this is hugely dependent on jurisdiction, particularly with single member variants.


Oh contract terms! I completely forgot, you’re right. I’m actually pretty happy with my final retainer contract. It limited damages to the last three months of retainer spend.

I seem to be in the most expensive state in the country for that. That's rent & food for a month.

But it's a one-time fee, so you're probably still right in general, but for the moment I'm mostly coasting on savings & sponsorships, focusing on the stuff I care about while I have the breathing room. I might consider being a bit more organized if/when I ramp up business again and am considering looking for new clients.


My side project is a programming statistics service: https://codestats.net/

It's mainly for fun and I want to keep it free, but of course I wouldn't mind if there was some money coming in to pay for the costs and motivate to work on it more. Currently I'm selling stickers and in the future I will implement some kind of paid accounts which will have some minor features that free accounts don't have – the dilemma is to keep it balanced so that free users don't feel second class.


> It's so much easier in the US. If you're an individual it's going to be taxable income, but there's no up-front paperwork to do

In the UK it's even simpler if you are recieving less than £1,000 a year in donations or similar. HMRC have basically decided taxing people's side hustles would costs more than it returned. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tax-free-allowances-on-property-...


"For each donated dollar, I will create and send you 100 random bytes that you can use in your cryptographic applications."

$7 = 700 random bytes

$15 = 1500 random bytes + 500 bytes free!

$99 = lifetime* subscription for 25k random bytes per year

* your lifetime or my lifetime, whichever terminates earlier


Do you have any collectible limited edition bytes?

Those would be the special one-of-a-kind bytes that we log to ensure no two people get the same bytes twice. Bonus: the logs are numbered, so we can validate those bytes. Downside: we’ll have to ask for a monthly donation to cover storing the bytes and bandwidth ;-)

How about The Original: 00000000

High entropy edition: with RSA padding, signed by famous cryptographers.

I'd buy the $99 option and use it as the trigger for my dead mans switch :).

I'll take a nibble just for taste.

Word.

But do you warrant that they are actually random?

Truth in advertising and all that.


Sell licenses. People can buy a licensed version of your project. It's exactly the same as the free version, but it comes with a different licence.txt (which allows the purchaser to say that they supported you).

If you're not allowed to sell copyright licenses in Finland, then your whole software business is screwed.


I don't even see the point. If there's no enforcement of this law, why even bother with the illusion of legality? Just accept donations - and likely no one will ever bother coming after you.

Not sure you understand the Scandinavian/Nordic psyche.

My non-Scandinavian girlfriend never understood why people pay for the bus there if they never get checked. Or why people bother to leave money in a little box at an unmanned coffee/waffle/etc stand in the middle of nowhere. But most do as it is the right thing to do, guilt free.

And if there is a slight chance the tax authorities might contact him the guilt/embarrassment is worse than any token fine.


This is different. In those examples, someone is getting screwed. In this case it's just a pointless bureaucracy that can be circumvented.

They aren't the same from an ethical perspective.


I’m on the other side of a Nordic relationship and some times I have similar thoughts coming from a third world country. My partner’s mentality seem like utopia to me. I would love to understand it a bit better, do you have any references or reading material that discuss this psyche?

Not from a Nordic country, but with some similar-minded tendencies.

You understand that you enjoy living in a system that you can trust. You understand that being able to trust the system means that the system has to trust you. You value a working system more than a petty dollar or some other short-sighted piece of self-interest, because you get more benefit from having the system work in your favor than taking a little for yourself but eroding/ruining the system in the same go. If most people do the right thing, the system works and everyone benefits.

Simple as that! It's the opposite of the tragedy of the commons.

In non-utopian countries, you have to make an advance deposit into the system and may never do enough to make it universally trusted. People may never stop jaywalking, or taking a free coffee/waffle/etc. from the unmanned stand, or cheating your taxes with family income and business expenses. But I'm doing well for myself, so what am I really losing by doing the right thing? Life already put me ahead. I'd rather contribute a small part to a working system I can trust, than to grab another small pie just for myself.


Well, if they reach the 100k mark like the article’s author, the risk of a tax audit may start to keep them up at night

It's true that at my scale it would likely never be noticed. Personally I just don't like the risk even if small. But when looking at OP's case, that would absolutely be noticed by the tax authorities and they'd have to explain the nature of the income.

>I don't even see the point. If there's no enforcement of this law, why even bother with the illusion of legality? Just accept donations - and likely no one will ever bother coming after you.

This only works if you never piss anyone off, have no enemies and the government only stands to look bad from going after you.

Obviously accepting donations in an illegal manner is a stupidly low hanging fruit for someone who wants to screw you over. Sure you'd probably only have to pay back taxes (or whatever) in the end but it's a massive hassle and better to just keep it on the down low.


This assumes the government would even care if someone reports it to them.

...which they probably wouldn't.


Well, GGP said that accepting donations costs money. So perhaps selling licenses is more profitable?

Also, if you receive more than a few hundred dollars, perhaps the Finnish IRS will start noticing.


We call that the WinRAR model.

What if donors are actually purchasing a spot on the contributions page? It would be like purchasing a classified ad in the paper or a normal internet ad. Their name or specific message would be displayed on the 'donations' page for a set duration. You might have to put some clarifying language on the page as well.

I mean, you can "sell" anything. For $15/mo, I will say "thank you, [your name]" out loud to my cat. For $20/mo, I will give a thumbs-up to the tree in my front yard and think about what a great person you are. Is the government really in a position to tell me that those things aren't "worth" what I'm "charging"?

The exact same thing is for India. Individuals can't get non-profit status. So you have to sell something. A software dev friend tried donate button with cta "Get exclusive support" for few months. But international audience didn't quite get it.

I have seen some gamers in India asking for donations and giving direct account details(UPI[1] details), but I am very cautious against this. I am just waiting(selfishly) for Income Tax dept to serve notice to someone and get this clarified via court case.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_Payments_Interface


Accepting sponsorships like this is not non-profit. You still have to report it as income and pay taxes on it.

True donations are not taxable in the UK, because they are not part of a trade.

In other words, they are not given in exchange for something; the something is freely given without the donation.

Of course there is the question of whether something is truly a donation. But charities have to deal with that question, so there are formulaic approaches to it, and advisors. Sometimes the wording that accompanies a donation must be written carefully, to clarify what is and is not expected for it, because donations can be directed to a purpose, which isn't (apparently) the same as paying for something.

I assume it's similar elsewhere?


"Tax-deductible donation" is a subset of "donations", at least in the US. I can "donate" (syn: "give") money to anyone. I don't have to do anything special for that, and in theory they should report it on their (personal) taxes as income. If I'm giving it to a registered charity (non-profit), I can deduct it as a donation on my taxes. Maybe that's part of why this piece generated so much discussion: for some, just the word "donation" carries certain connotations that others might not ascribe.

I wonder; if you had a list of donors, then you could be selling the privilege of getting your name on the list.

I'm actually curious if some type of phrasing-related arbitrage is possible. Like:

    Like my work?
    DONATE
    
    * all donations automatically receive (whatever)

Can you not do a "pay what you want" product? Here is this software which is open source. You can pay me what you want to for it- here's the link.

The software (Or service in your case?) is the product.


I'm not a lawyer so I don't know. I wouldn't risk it myself.

Currently our air carrier Finnair is under investigation because they offered a climate compensation payment for flights. They say the payment went towards biofuel and other compensation methods but it's being investigated if it was considered a donation.[1]

[1] https://www.helsinkitimes.fi/business/17392-finnair-discards...


You can create that and I think in 99% percent of cases you can also collect github donations without problems in Finland. If it were to go in court I think it could be easily explained as non-donation because there is work performed.

Also OPs explanation is not so straightforward, the money collection act is being contested all the time and many succeed in collecting money here.


Can you link sources to contesting it? I'm interested in learning what kind of things are approved.

Basically you state that it isnt donation but payment for gig. Which would apply to github "donations" as well, they arent donations but payment for the open source work.

Finnish peoples problem isnt the laws, but the fact that they are total pussies when it comes intrepreting the law.


Sure if you set up your sponsor tiers like "$5/mo: x minutes of bugfixing for you" then it would be just sales. I think if you just accept money and say "thanks" in return with a vague promise of working on open source, that's a pretty grey area and I'd rather not have to explain it to the authorities in the first place. :P

I think you’re thinking in the right direction. One could do some dual licensing, with a (slightly) different license. Eg BSD by default, and sponsors get the MIT license.

Seems like there would be a clear value exchange here.


IANAL (anywhere), but when you sponsor someone you're listed as a sponsor. I'd say that social credit has some intrinsic value.

Interestingly, while you can't be donated money in Finland people can certainly and rather freely give gifts to another person. It's even tax-free as long as gifts from one person remain under 4000€ for any consecutive three years.

Surely gettings lots of monetary gifts from foreign friends would probably not hold during a tax audit (they'd accuse you of trying to evade taxes unless you could provide a plausible reason why all these people would be sending you gifts) but it's an interesting counter-example nevertheless.


I just commented above, but isn't this actually what's happening? I mean, isn't giving something of value to someone, and expecting nothing in return, the textbook definition of a "gift"? This feels more and more like something is getting lost in translation.

The restriction isn't on receiving donations. It's on soliciting donations from the public.

(Not saying one country is better than the other but) in the US, there are no taxes on gifts until you gift more than $11 million in your life. If you go above $15,000 in any calendar year, you do have to notify the government, though.

> It's even tax-free as long as gifts from one person remain under 4000€ for any consecutive three years.

Not something to be impressed by; gifts are tax free in the US under $15,000 per one year.


As a fellow Finn who is also on Github sponsors, you would be correct if this would constitute as collecting money. Earnings through Github sponsors go through Stripe and have to be declared as income and is taxed as such. You have to fill out your tax information to get an North American tax card and after that, it's basically identical to income you get from abroad.

In Finland, a new law was made to allow small-scale money collection up to EUR 10000, but it has also other restrictions, so it may not help you: https://intermin.fi/en/police/fundraising

Cool I didn't know that. It does say that it's not for business purposes or accumulating "wealth" of a person but it's nice to learn.

There is an exchange here. Software is being provided in exchange for a discretionary payment.

That is a very interesting interpretation of the law.

Another would be to regard such a construct as income. Report your income. Pay your taxes and be happy.

It only becomes "gray" areas when people think it is possible to have non-taxed revenue streams.


> It only becomes "gray" areas when people think it is possible to have non-taxed revenue streams.

This may be true in some countries, but it's definitively not an universal truth. Some business models are not allowed even if you pay taxes on the income. This is what the user is describing, and reading the (English translation) of the text of the Act, I'd be worried too.


What is the ostensible purpose behind that law? Seems like something you could get changed (with considerable effort) considering there appear to be no strong interests who benefit from it.

People pretending to be charities and scamming donations. The idea would be that all legitimate charities are registered and have a permit. If they don't, it's likely a scam.

I think it's originally to prevent scammers. Like if someone was collecting money door-to-door and then said that people willingly donated to them (which would be true). I think it's just to add oversight into those kind of situations and to prevent scam money collection campaigns.

Write to your member of parliament and explain why you think it's terrible you can't just add these sort of extra earnings to your tax assessment at the end of the year. It's certainly possible in the UK to operate in this way but also more tax efficient once you get past say £40000 to run a limited company.

Yo send this thread to your representatives. They may help change the law. They're leaving GDP on the table

This is exactly the kind of problems cryptocurrency was made to address. I would just say each donation comes with a postcard so you are giving them something in return. If my government ever tries to do something like this, I will leave it up to them to figure out that I’m collecting donations.

That sounds like a very quick way to get a tax evasion charge...

Right. It must be such fun trying to figure that out from the monero block chain...

Couldn't you circumvent that by selling a really expensive bowl of fish soup or something like that? Or just say that you prostituted yourself?

That you would need to open a business is probably something most countries require though.


How common are bootstrapped (i.e. non-wealthy, non VC-funded) entrepreneurs in Finland?

From what I can tell this has nothing to do with that. Anything that could be considered commerce or an exchange for goods (even abstract goods) falls outside of it. This only applies to donations; it's just that the internet has created this in-between category where "donations" are made to someone working on a product that can't really be "sold" in the traditional way, and the law doesn't have a proper carve-out for those cases.

It was just a simple question.

Common. It is a capitalist, moderately wealthy country.

You can accept a gift. It's also possible for someone to give a grant. But I'm not sure how they would work out in case of open source. I know that people write books using a grant.

The thing about gifts is that the person wishing to give one needs to ask proactively how to do it and then you can give e.g. your bank account details to that person only. You cannot put your bank account or instructions how to ask publicly available. Years ago we asked about this from the authorities when I was in a non-profit and this was the answer.

In the states non-profit means a company that is not for profit. It doesn't mean you can't pay yourself a wage that is inline for the duties and title you have.

What a joke. Here in the US, as long as you don't give over $15,000 per year to a given individual, you don't have any tax or reporting obligations.

That's a strange law. I assume it serves some purpose (or must have served one when it was introduced, at least). What's the argument for it?

The US has a lot of charity scams and dubious NPOs collecting cash. There’s news about fraudulent GoFundMe’s pretty regularly, for example.

Finland is probably too far the opposite direction, but the whole sector could use a lot more scrutiny over here.


It seems like a lot of charities in the US are just a way for the wealthy to avoid paying taxes or for the founders to become wealthy

Yes, it’s not uncommon to have do-nothing NPOs that associate themselves with a noble cause and then spend most of their funds on one or two people’s salaries and perks. This is why apps like Guidestar and Charity Navigator were invented.

The IRS doesn’t seem to give these orgs much scrutiny unless they’re egregiously bad or become a big news story.


The IRS has been co-opted by the very wealthy. The IRS spends way more resources auditing the very poor than the very wealthy

Grifters calling or walking door-to-door and asking for money, for some made-up charity or organization. Especially targeting older people.

It's extremely frowned upon to begin with, but at least the laws make it illegal.

(Not that it necessarily hinders those that really want to scam someone. Some of these BS "organizations" just contract their work to foreign call-centers. Every year a lot of young European people are lured to some low-cost country in southern Europe, where they'll have to work for some call-center at below minimum wage - and these centers will sometimes work for anyone...)


What was the justification behind this law? Was it meant as some kind of consumer protection?

Write a haiku and make that the "reward" part of your project?

I'll sell you a pixel for $10

That is draconian

[flagged]


>That's what socialist policies gets you, permits from the state to do anything

Donation regulation is not a 'socialist' policy, and at a stretch, you could only say it's simply a policy which happens to be implemented in a capitalist social democratic country, in this case Finland.


It's really incredible how much the hatred for 'socialism' goes in certain circles.

Even more incredible are the lengths certain types of folks will go to defend these policies even when faced with very real examples of the negative consequences of ceding liberty in return for the state to "take care of you".

It's almost like different people have different ideas of what are acceptable negatives to trade-off for various positive benefits.

Don't worry, people do the same thing to defend the capitalist dystopia we currently live in.

I am not hating on socialism. It has it's merits like providing healthcare if properly implemented but having excessive permits and licence is one of the facets of socialism. Socialism is not the perfect system.

To be fair, all systems can be (and are) criticised.

I agree. Given this truth, complaining that people complain about your system of choice seems pretty silly

Would you mind describing why permitting & licensing are so linked with socialist policies?

The original comment read as if you blamed socialism.

If you did, you got rightly called out. If you didn’t, then I don’t understand what you meant.


How is blaming socialism a bad thing? Has humanity learned nothing from the failure of socialism throughout the 19th and 20th centuries?



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