Re: Cohousing communities and tax-exemption, 501c3
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Sat, 13 Jun 2015 06:03:10 -0700 (PDT)
Ken – – I appreciate very much what you're trying to do in creating a portal 
for your community.

Your original question posed to this list points out the importance of 
formulating questions clearly and giving enough background for what you're 
looking for when using email. We went all around Robin Hood's barn in answering 
this question you had. 

Now it turns out you have a different need entirely.    And one that could be 
answered more easily. 

So to everyone – – if you have a specific need – – be specific in your request. 
Remember that on email I can't read what's going on in your mind or what's 
behind your question. 

Ann Z
Takoma Village
Washington DC

Sent from my iPhone

> On Jun 12, 2015, at 12:15 PM, Ken Winter <ken [at]> wrote:
> I was asking about 501(c)(3) for another, less obvious, reason.
> As mentioned in threads several months ago, I'm looking for a way to
> provide cohousing communities with portals - member's web sites that
> provide one-stop-shopping access to all of a community's information
> services.  One way to do this is to use a commercial "platform" - a
> facility that provides you most or all of what you need, more-or-less out
> of the box.
> All you have to do to get it is *pay*.  Alas, you have to pay many times
> what a coho community would be willing or able to pay, because the
> sustaining customers of these platforms are for-profit corporations.
> However, some of these platform companies offer their facilities at deeply
> discounted prices to non-profits., the one I know the most
> about, has a nonprofit rate that is roughly 10% of the for-profit rate.
> (By the way, even at that price, I'm not sure the Salesforce platform would
> be affordable for our purposes.)
> Generalizing from the portal example, I'm thinking that there may be a
> whole range of goods and services out there that for-profit companies,
> governments, or other providers make available free or cheap to 501(c)(3)
> nonprofits.
> ~ Ken, from Sunward Cohousing
>> On Fri, Jun 12, 2015 at 10:37 AM, Ann Zabaldo <zabaldo [at]> 
>> wrote:
>> PS: just because an organization is a nonprofit does not make it
>> tax-exempt. You have to apply for tax exempt status. So even if you are a
>> nonprofit you still have to pay taxes. The two absolutes in life: taxes and
>> death.
>> Sent from my iPhone
>>>> On Jun 12, 2015, at 8:27 AM, Diana Carroll <dianaecarroll [at]>
>>> wrote:
>>>> On Friday, June 12, 2015, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]>
>> wrote:
>>>> The fear of taxes and the desire to avoid them is actually not a big
>>>> concern, however. As a condo, the income is offset by expenses so there
>> is
>>>> little if any profit. Until your reserves are large enough to earn
>>>> significant earnings in interest, there will be little if any income to
>> tax.
>>> That depends.
>>> Any income from a source other than dues (assessments) is taxable.  So,
>> for
>>> instance, we have a usage fee for overnight stays in the guest room, and
>> we
>>> request contributions when an outside group uses our common house for a
>>> function.  These are taxable at 30% on the HOA tax form (1040h?). For us
>>> that amounts to a few hundred a year in taxes...not enough to make a huge
>>> difference. But it might account for more some communities.
>>> Being a qualified non profit also has the potential to benefit
>> individuals
>>> in the community.  "Donations" would be tax deductible for the donated.
>> We
>>> don't really have donations, but I know some communities have fund
>> raising
>>> efforts beyond assessments. Like, a community may request pledges from
>>> individual households to build, say, a playground or swimming pool. It
>>> would be hard to convince the IRS an HOA served a larger community good
>> but
>>> if you could, then individual contributors would see a benefit.
>>> Diana
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