Re: How to accept donations
From: Mac Thomson (
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2008 12:13:44 -0800 (PST)
We accept donations for all kinds of things.

From an accounting point of view, we just set up a revenue account and decide who is authorized to spend the money. For example, we have a Common House Mad Money account. All donations for guest room use goes in there and the CH team is authorized to spend that money for the general benefit of the common house.

From a tax point of view, we've never had an issue. My understanding is that our Homeowners Association only gets taxed for investment and interest income. Donations are treated just like HOA assessments, which is to say that they don't get taxed. I think if we ran profits consistently over the years, we might face some income tax consequences, but so far that hasn't been a problem. There could also possibly be an issue with losing our HOA non-profit status if we had too much of the wrong kind of revenue, but we're not too concerned with that. Because we're not a 501-c3, the donations we receive are not tax deductible for the donors.

This is all based on somewhat superficial tax research. I'm no expert, but I would certainly hope that the IRS would have better things to do than picking on an inconsequential HOA just trying to do good in the world. Our tax accountant who prepares our annual returns hasn't raised any red flags.


P.S. If you continue to receive donations and are unable to come up with a satisfactory method of accepting them, please feel free to send them to us. :-)

Mac Thomson

Heartwood Cohousing
Southwest Colorado

 "Nature thrives on patience; man on impatience."
                      - Paul Boese

On Dec 13, 2008, at 3:06 PM, cohousing-l-request [at] wrote:

Date: Sat, 13 Dec 2008 09:50:19 -0800
From: "Anne Fleck" <solianna [at]>
Subject: [C-L]_ How to accept donations
To: "'Cohousing-L'" <cohousing-l [at]>
Message-ID: <5B059FA71436487D8F1ACFF19E1D15D7@Annie>
Content-Type: text/plain;       charset="us-ascii"

I'm trying to formulate a method for Jackson Place Cohousing in Seattle, Washington to accept donations. We currently have no system to "charge" for use of our facilities or let members simply contribute to our maintenance or
projects (or anything else) out of the "goodness and kindness of their
hearts". It is my understanding that as a condo association we can do this
without incurring taxes.

I've checked the archives on Coho-L but I'm not finding anything directly
addressing this topic.

If anyone out there knows how to set up the bookkeeping for this, please contact me here or at solianna [at] You will have my eternal

Anne Little

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