[Foundation-l] board candidacies

ATR alex756 at nyc.rr.com
Sat Aug 12 01:23:03 UTC 2006

 --- Daniel Mayer <maveric149 at yahoo.com>  wrote:


>>--- Anthere <anthere9 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>> So rrrrright, so much for the false assumptions. The expenses of Board
>> members relating to Foundation work are not entirely covered by the
>> Foundation. That's not a false assumption. That's a fact.

>As far as I know (and I should know a thing or two about this), being
>reimbursed for Wikimedia-related expenses is just a matter of requesting
>reimbursement and providing the necessary documentation where needed.

>If you have been denied reimbursement for Wikimedia-related expenses after
>submitting a reimbursement form, then PLEASE tell me (for the form, see
>http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Reimbursement_request_form.xls ).

>Setting up an explicit per diem policy to cover food/lodging/transit would
>only make such requests easier (no need to get many small receipts).

>> This said, Michael wrote yesterday that I should ask for my child care
>> costs to be covered. Does that need a resolution ?

> It seems perfectly reasonable to be reimbursed for child care obtained to
> cover times you are traveling on Wikimedia-related business. I don't see 
> why reimbursement of
> that expense would need a resolution.
>-- mav


To quote from the IRS web site about Exempt Organizations (EO, WMF = EO):

"Many exempt organizations have officers who are volunteers and not paid for
their services.  These officers may receive reimbursement or an allowance
for out-of-pocket expenses.  For example, if an officer is required to
attend a convention representing the EO, the EO might pay for the trip.
Similarly, an EO may provide a monthly allowance to an officer for
automobile use."
 - http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=131083,00.html (accessed 

The basic rule for NPOs is that while someone is not compensated for serving
as a director/trustee on an NPO they can be compensated for being employed 
by the NPO (subject to the rules on
Intermediate Sanctions).  And for all work of officers as volunteers, such
volunteers can receive reimbursement or an allowance for expenses that can
either be  "accountable" or "unaccountable".

The important issue is that it is allowable by the organization if the
organization wishes to make such compensation, it is not mandatory under
the law.

IRS publication P535 deals with business expenses, see Chapter 13
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p535.pdf , and strangely enough in this
context Wikimedia is considered to be no different than another business in
how travel, lodging and entertainment expenses are related to the
 "business" (in the US interstate commerce includes activities of charitable
organizations this is how WMF's TM can be registered as a "mark of 
of the Wikimedia Foundation.

It would seem that babysitting expenses incurred as a cost of Anthere
attending any activity as WMF volunteer board member are "out of pocket
expenses" that _may_ be reimbursed by WMF.

Perhaps the expense should be submitted to see if the executive staff pays 
or asks for the board's approbation before payment is made. I don't think
every board member should be required to remember every board resolution,
usually it is the staff of an NPO that has the job of submitting payment 
and dealing with day-to-day bookeeping issues such as reimbursement of
trustee/officer meeting/travel related expenses/reimbursement.

Alex T. Roshuk
Lawyer/avocat (and former NPO Executive Director/coordinateur generale) 

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