Dec. 2002

President's Message

Photo FAQs

Article: "Photographic History 101"

Article: "Picture Pointers"

President's Message

Bob Coffey

As you know, on October 7, 2002 the Delaware Photographic Society received its exemption letter from the IRS informing us that DPS is now recognized as a public charity under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). Status as a public charity will be a great advantage to DPS going forward. This article was prepared by one of our members, Todd Flubacher, who is an attorney at a local law firm. It is intended to provide general information about various aspects of public charities and social clubs, and is general in nature and should not be viewed, or relied upon, as legal advice.

DPS was previously categorized as a tax exempt "social club" under Section 501(c)(7) of the Code. A Section 501(c)(7) social club is generally defined as a social or recreational club which is supported solely by membership fees, dues and assessments, and fees charged to members for the use of facilities. Exemption as a public charity is more favorable than exemption as a social club for many reasons. Three of the more important reasons are: (1) social clubs are subject to stricter rules concerning taxation of income and receipts from non-member sources and "unrelated trade or business income" than those applicable to public charities, (2) there are some limitations on the amounts of non-member source income which a social club can receive without losing its exemption, and (3) contributions to a social club are not tax deductible charitable contributions, however, contributions to a public charity generally are tax deductible.

As mentioned above, a key advantage to being a public charity is that DPS may now actually solicit contributions from the general public, and contributions by individuals and corporations to DPS may now be deductible as charitable contributions (subject to certain limitations) for income, estate and gift tax purposes. DPS may now advertise its charitable purposes to the general public and may actively solicit donations of money, supplies, equipment or other support from individuals and businesses. It will be very helpful for DPS to solicit corporate and individual support to provide funding and supplies for DPS-sponsored events like the Wilmington International Exhibition of Photography, speakers, exhibits, etc. As a public charity, DPS will generally not be subject to tax on receipts from non-member sources which are substantially related to DPS‚s charitable purposes. DPS will also be eligible for reduced bulk postage rates.

The officers and Directors of DPS ask that members not solicit charitable contributions on behalf of DPS without first obtaining approval of one of the officers, because the officers and Directors would like to employ a consistent, organization-wide approach to fund-raising activities.

NOTE: Contributions to DPS are only deductible to the extent that they are gifts, with no consideration received. DPS MEMBERSHIP DUES ARE NOT TAX DEDUCTIBLE. Additionally, amounts paid to DPS for events, merchandise or for any other goods or services received by the donor, are generally not deductible in whole or in part.

On another note, November Print Night Competition scoring has created some heated commentary. Competition and critique are intended to be instructive and encouraging. Despite instructions and guidelines included in the confirmation letter sent to all judges, the scoring and commentary by one judge were disappointing.

As a result, it has been proposed that the box scores in the overhead display correspond with the seating order of the judges, so that an individual judge can be held directly accountable for his or her score. Solicited comments have all been favorable of this measure. The benefit is that a needed change in procedure will now be made.

Holiday wishes to one and all.

- Bob Coffey