I am interested in starting a non profit organization. Would I be able to raise funds without being 501C3 certified, use part of these funds to purchase and renovate a home (this is where my organization will be run from BUT I will also have to live there). This way I feel I can devote my time to the organization instead of my full time job. After this initial purchase can I then apply for certification and use the remaining funds solely for the organization? Just want to make sure it is all legal. Also, just as a side note--those who donate to me will be completely aware of these intentions.
1 Answer from Attorneys
Without 501(c)(3) status, the donations are not eligible to be claimed as charitable deductions. They would be gifts to you (or your entity) and subject to the $14,000 gift tax exclusion. If the entity subsequently applies for and obtains 501(c)(3) status, new donations would be tax deductible. The issue of who owns the house and the arrangement of you living there sounds like a more complicated non-profit entity issue than can be addressed here.
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