TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tax Planning for Open Source Contributions

There is a very interesting thread on Slashdot about tax planning for folks who contribute their intellectual property under a Creative Commons license.  My initial reaction, as noted by several commentators, was that the § 183 hobby loss rules would be difficult to overcome because, by definition, the contributor is not engaged in a profit-seeking activity.  But others who have made such contributions report that because Creative Commons is a § 501(c)(3) organization, their accountants have blessed a charitable deduction for the contribution, as well as a deduction for the related expenses (e.g., home office, computer, Internet access). Presumably, the charitable deduction is limited to cost, not fmv (§ 170(e)(1)(A); Reg. § 1.170A-4(b)(1)), although the proposed Artist-Museum Partnership Act (S. 548; H.R. 1524) would liberalize these rules.  (Hat Tip:  Scott Brenner.)

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The only question I have - where is the actual 'contribution' to Createive Commons organization thru the mere use of the Creative Commons License?

Posted by: Duncan McQueen | Oct 21, 2008 11:47:04 AM