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April 14, 2007

Comments

richard

I'd be concerned about the potential for tax evasion. Foreign charities may not be as regulated as American. I can see donors essentially laundering money through foreign charities back to themselves while gaining a tax benefit along the way.

JL

Thanks for your comment, richard. As far as I understand it (and I warn you, that's not much), that shouldn't be a problem. To get tax deductions any donation must go to a group registered in this country as a 501(c)(3) and is subject to all the relevant regulations that apply. So the various friends groups are registered here, but the money they raise is then released to the museum elsewhere. I suppose something funny can happen along the way (how these friends groups are in ensuring the money they raise go to the projects or funds that they ostensibly were gathered for is a potential question, given that in reality, the friends group isn't likely to pressure the museum on the point.) But the oversight here, at least, shouldn't be any more lax than it would be for a purely domestic charity. The Art Law Blog has more on the technical questions.

lisa hunter

I'm pretty sure the major U.S. tsunami relief was funnelled through licensed U.S. charities.

JL

Hi lisa,

I'm sure it was, too. That seems to be the way it works. The question is, what types of overseas charitable activities do we want the U.S. government to subsidize through the tax system, for what reason, and at what cost.

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