Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Tax Write-Offs For Free (As In Speech) Work?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the time-is-money-isn't-it dept.

The Almighty Buck 198

deuist writes "Several years ago I wrote a book called The Not So Short Introduction to Getting Into Medical School (PDF) and released it online under a Creative Commons license. I have been asked several times to publish the text so that I can make money off of it. The book has become quite famous among pre-med students and is now available from the Princeton Review as a free CD that is given to pre-medical interest groups. My question to the Slashdot community involves claiming this work as volunteering for tax purposes. Have any of you had any success with releasing free software and then writing off your time when April 15 rolls around?"

cancel ×

198 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Apple users (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25425859)

are BUTT-PIRATES.

Re:Apple users (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25425893)

are BUTT-PIRATES.

Hello, I'm a Mac and I like to get my ass hammered by guys [youtube.com] . There's no better feeling than to have that done.

Re:Apple users (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426007)

No, he's not an Apple user because he gets pussy once in a while.

Re:Apple users (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25427205)

doesn't count when it is paid for.

I write off thousands every year to OSS (5, Informative)

hacker (14635) | more than 5 years ago | (#25425907)

I've written off thousands of dollars every year to OSS, and continue to do so. I have a stellar CPA who was able to find all of the legal places where I can write off money. Here are some of them:

  1. My vehicle gas/travel to and from our monthly LUG meetings
  2. The telephone line into my home, where my DSL is connected (write code at home, upload to server using that connection)
  3. A portion of the monthly power bill, used to keep that DSL, servers and equipment running which is dedicated to the pursuit of writing OSS
  4. The cost of my laptops (running Linux) which is used to write, test and maintain OSS software
  5. The cost of my VMware Workstation license, used exclusively to test code in operating systems I do not run natively
  6. A portion of the taxes on my home, which is dedicated office space, used to write/maintain OSS software
  7. All of the costs from my upstream provider's hosting ($150/month) which is used to host my own projects, as well as those from other FLOSS developers
  8. All of the donations given to me/our projects via PayPal (it's "income", not a "gift", so treated accordingly)
  9. Commission from the Google and LinkXL banner ads run on some sites (used to pay for the hosting and power of said sites)
  10. ..and so on.

My first suggestion would be to interview and find a top-notch CPA, and book an appointment with him to pour over your finances to see where things can be deducted. They can also retroactively go back years and reclaim funds you did not claim the first time around, if you miss critical deductions.

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (5, Insightful)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 5 years ago | (#25425951)

I'm not against tax write-offs, and avoiding taxes any way possible, but I'm not aware of any component of the tax code that authorizes individual write-offs for voluntary, non-profit activities. Also, the fact that you are using a CPA for tax prep, and suggesting that others do so as well, scares me. CPAs are not for tax preparation. You have a question about the tax code, you ask a tax lawyer, not a CPA. CPAs are accountants.

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (5, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426185)

Expenses that you pay out of pocket as part of volunteer activities to a not profit organization are generally deductible. The actual time is not.

www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p535.pdf

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p526/ar02.html#d0e867 [irs.gov]

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (1)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426247)

I thought this was probably the case for qualified organizations, but what I was indirectly getting at was I don't think out of pocket expenses for volunteer work, for any any organization, is tax deductible. From the general description of what a qualified organization might be, an OSS project may or may not be for educational and scientific purposes. In any case, it hinges upon whether it has IRS approval or not to be a qualified organization for purposes of tax deductibility of out of pocket expenses incurred in the service of the OSS project.

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426535)

Out of pocket expenses for paid work for any organization are tax deductible - any contractor knows that.
Although I am certainly no tax attorney, I don't see why giving away the work should make a difference.

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (1)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426965)

Ask the IRS. Clearly, they do distinguish between paid and volunteer work.

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25427207)

I'm not sure, but I think it's only 'volunteer' work if it is dedicated to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit or a church. Otherwise, it's a hobby or personal entertainment.

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (4, Informative)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25427681)

Lemme see. 501(c)3's: The Free Software Foundation, Software in the Public Interest, the Gnome Foundation, the Open Source Initiative, the Perl Foundation, the Python Foundation, the Apache Software Foundation, the Public Software Fund. I'm sure I've missed some.

You can't swing an open source cat without hitting a 501(c)3.

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (2, Informative)

agbinfo (186523) | more than 5 years ago | (#25427333)

First, I live in Canada so tax laws are different. Second I am not an accountant.

Here we can deduct some expenses for paid work as well - there are limits. Also, if you have a single employer/contractor, it's considered differently so as to avoid people deducting salaried work expenses; These tax deductions are mostly for contract and consultant work. As far as I know, you can't deduct expenses for work you give away - unless it's a registered non profit organization and in this case you would be looking at charity deduction instead.

The reason for this is that it's expected that you are in the business to make a profit from the work and will therefore pay taxes. If you deducted more expenses than revenue for 3 or 4 years in a row, you could reasonably expect a visit from the tax man.

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426979)

Right, but is developing OSS software considered work for a qualified volunteer organization? It doesn't seem that it could be...

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25427693)

It depends on the contributor agreement. If you assign copyright, as the FSF requires, then you're making a donation of property. If you retain copyright but give the project a license to use it, you're just donating your time.

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (1)

hacker (14635) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426259)

"CPAs are not for tax preparation. You have a question about the tax code, you ask a tax lawyer, not a CPA. CPAs are accountants."

Unless your CPA is also certified as a tax lawyer as well, as mine is :) He knows the tax code inside and out, and lectures about it to other accountants, lawyer and tax lawyers every year. He is THE TOP in his game in this side of the country.

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426465)

If he truly understands the tax code inside and out, he's the only one in the country who does.

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (1)

zeptobyte (1140111) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426897)

Maybe he's stellar, but if that's the case then you probably pay him more than he's saving you. :)

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25427665)

Not in this case. I'd say in the short run "hacker"s CPA is saving "hacker" a bunch of taxes. I mean when the audit comes around it's going to cost "hacker" a ton but that's not what we're talking about today.

Tax code is *code* (3, Interesting)

billstewart (78916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25427561)

My wife, a computer scientist, did tax preparation during the 80s. The tax code is code - is was written to do things, and it's buggy and badly documented, but it's code. At the time she started, most of the tax code generally made some sense - it was full of special interest giveaways, obfuscation, ill-advised attempts at social policy, etc., but she had the impression that the people writing it generally knew what they were trying to accomplish with most sections - but the Reagan "tax cut" years added 30-50% more tax code, and she got the impression from watching the changes that the Congress was losing track of what it was trying to accomplish. There'd be things that got put in one year and patched the next (e.g. they were trying to do a favor for one Indian-run casino in South Dakota, the patch corrected the unintended favor that they'd also done for a casino in New Jersey, etc.)

The basics about deductability of things you've performed for charity probably haven't changed much since I last looked at it 20 years ago. If they paid you $X for your labor and you donated $X to them, you'd break even. That's not different if you're charging them $0. On the other hand, if you're donating materials in kind, you might be able to donate the costs of those materials - your CPA can tell you, and some kinds of deductions like costs of home offices are so often abused that you need to be very careful if you want to even try.

However, if you own a profit-making business, it's easier to have things you're doing be done by the business and therefore be expenses of the business. That's still not going to let you get paid for your labor, but costs like your computers, power, etc. are easier to put there, reducing the profit your business makes and therefore reducing your business's taxes. But if your business loses money more than X years out of Y, the IRS says it's not a business, it's a hobby, and you can't deduct the costs.

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (2, Insightful)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25427151)

Have you ever seen what it takes to be an Accountant/Certified Public Beancounter? They practically are tax lawyers.

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25427279)

I am somewhat aghast that this incredibly ignorant comment was modded insightful. Many, many CPA's (full disclosure, including myself) specialize in tax strategy, planning and compliance. The tax advice you can receive from a CPA is often as good as, if not better than advice you could receive from an attorney.
For today's anecdotal fact, I provide tax expertise to several law firms and their clients. The fact that these firms outsource their work should give you an indication of the relative quality of our work.

http://www.ey.com/global/content.nsf/International/Services_-_Tax [ey.com]
http://www.pwc.com/extweb/service.nsf/docid/efee1aa2f6b3a99485256fbe0060ff96 [pwc.com]

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (4, Informative)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25427591)

CPAs are accountants.

Yes, CPAs are accountants. But just to be clear, being an accountant doesn't necessarily mean you're a CPA. In fact, less than 20% of accountants are even CPAs.

CPAs are not for tax preparation. You have a question about the tax code, you ask a tax lawyer, not a CPA.

No, it's the tax lawyers that shouldn't be used for tax preparation. "In most U.S. states, only CPAs who are licensed are able to provide to the public attestation (including auditing) opinions on financial statements." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Certified_public_accountant [wikipedia.org]

Tax lawyers are too highly specialized. Now don't get me wrong, tax lawyers will be able to give you very a precise answer about something that falls within their narrow niche of experience, and they'll be able to give you an answer as long as you already know which right questions to ask, but they won't necessarily have the general legal knowledge of a CPA. And yes, CPAs have general legal knowledge, if you just take a look at their exam sample books, I think you'll see that the legal knowledge and the legal minutiae represents the bulk of their exam, and that the accounting part is really the easiest part they have to know.

So not only using a Tax Lawyer would probably be overkill, but he would also probably miss important deductions because he'd miss the bigger picture that comes with the experience of preparing taxes and signing his names to them day-in and day-out (that being said, the specialization trap can also apply to CPAs as well, so for instance a CPA who passed his CPA state bar exam twenty years ago and who isn't used to doing taxes at his day job -- will most likely not be a very good choice either).

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (5, Informative)

Arroyodude (1388909) | more than 5 years ago | (#25427651)

...the fact that you are using a CPA for tax prep, and suggesting that others do so as well, scares me. CPAs are not for tax preparation. You have a question about the tax code, you ask a tax lawyer, not a CPA. CPAs are accountants.

Wow! Where do I start, except to say that I'm an Enrolled Agent, meaning that I'm authorized ("licensed" as it were) by the IRS to represent taxpayers before all levels of the Internal Revenue Service." In other words, I'm a tax professional with a certification that goes back well over 100 years. Attorneys have had that right for less time and CPAs for a lot less than that. I'm also the tax manager in a small but nationally recognized CPA firm. Most CPAs (including all of the final 4) do lots and lots of tax work, much of it referred by tax attorneys who, for the most part, handle tax controversy matters and answer questions a lot harder than KDawson's. And they do so somewhere north of $300-$400 an hour if they're even half-good. I'll leave it to others to respond to the original poster's query, but will confirm that, no, you cannot write off your time. The tax rules can be complicated (and just because your accountant/lawyer/taxguy says it's so doesn't mean it will be upheld on audit unless the facts support it). Find a good CPA who knows your industry, or better yet, an Enrolled Agent. Or get a referral from a tax attorney.

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426115)

That is pretty crazy. So anyone who does volunteer activity can write off the value of their internet connection, and part of their RENT or HOUSE? Multiple laptops? Geez.

Something tells me this is something the 'average' volunteer would like to know about.

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25427537)

you can if you're willing to perform tax fraud like the OP.

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25427709)

The IRS expects you to try to reduce your taxes within the law. They expect you to make interpretations that favor yourself. Doesn't make it tax fraud.

And anyway, you can deduct your expenses if you're donating your time to a 501(c)3 or other qualified organization. You can't deduct the value of your time. Nothing fraudulent there. Now, I will grant you that the OP didn't say that the software to which he was contributing was owned by a 501(c)3. But he didn't say not, either.

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426161)

My first suggestion would be to interview and find a top-notch CPA

Would you be so kind as to post any leads in the SJ, CA area or email me offline?

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426217)

Sure.

John S. Roberts, attorney at Law
569 Geary St (between Jones St & Shannon St)
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 931-2256

He's the best at what he does and close by as well.

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (1)

tonymus (671219) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426175)

I am curious about how you claim these deductions on your tax return. Are you deducting them on Schedule C (Sole Proprietorship) or Schedule A (Itemized Deductions)? If you are deducting them on Schedule C, I ask you to talk to your tax preparer about the IRS Hobby-Loss Rules. If you are deducting them on Schedule A, are you a non-profit organization as specified under Code Section 501(c), or directly working for one? If you are, I see nothing wrong with (most) of what you're attempting to deduct (although computers are considered "listed property" so you should be prepared to generate a log to prove no personal use, and your deduction of your primary telephone line could be problematic).

I'm not trying to attack you, I've never done a return for a FOSS developer, so I haven't done the research. I'm just trying to figure out which way your preparer is coming from to get you the deductions, it's not passing my "smell test" so far. Is there a Private Letter Ruling your preparer is relying on (remember that PLRs do not have the force and effect of IRS code or regulations)?

Re:I [illegally] write off thousands every year (0, Flamebait)

Derling Whirvish (636322) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426237)

Unfortunately, all those deductions you are using are illegal.

Re:I [illegally] write off thousands every year (1)

Manuel M (1308979) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426317)

--verbose, please?

Re:I [illegally] write off thousands every year (1)

Evanisincontrol (830057) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426363)

Unfortunately, all those deductions you are using are illegal.

Why?

I'm not saying you're wrong, but other comments have indicated that the deductions he is listing are potentially legal. Do you have any evidence to counter his claims?

Re:I [illegally] write off thousands every year (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426409)

Mmm...

This leads to the question:
"Why is tax law so complicated?"

Shouldn't taxation be a clear, easy to understand affair?

Re:I [illegally] write off thousands every year (0, Troll)

Evanisincontrol (830057) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426499)

Mmm...

This leads to the question: "Why is tax law so complicated?"

Shouldn't taxation be a clear, easy to understand affair?

Absolutely not. If people knew how much money they were actually responsible for giving to the the IRS, instead of just paying what they were told to pay, our government would crumble. Income tax is a huge farce, but if a large enough group of people ever call the bluff, our country is going to completely collapse.

Re:I [illegally] write off thousands every year (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426615)

Yes but too many people benefit from tax breaks of one kind or another for that to ever happen. It's really a general problem of bureaucracy and laws growing without bounds. Taxes are just of of the more convenient areas for politicians to shove things into to acquire votes, donations and so on. Isn't institutionalized and legal bribery fun?

Probably un-fixable short of a government reinstall and those are general a pain themselves.

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (5, Interesting)

alphad0g (1172971) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426603)

You can write off un-reimbursed business expenses and charitable contributions. Working on OSS projects does not qualify as either one unless your company is paying you to do this from home - then you can write off your router/internet/etc. as long as they are for business only. Driving to LUG - how does that fit? LUG is not a recognized charity, nor is 99.999% of OSS. Taxes on your home should be deducted as part of one of your normal itemized deductions; if you are taking another part of them for this OSS work, you are double dipping. Ask your CPA if he will pay the fines when you get audited? You may want to be ready with an alibi when IRS comes knocking - tell them you have a wireless router that has no encryption and someone was parked outside, posting to slashdot. Also, I would find a reputable CPA, as this one is giving you some bogus info.

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426761)

Oh yeah? You missed one. I do my own taxes but charge for the time to prepare them. I charge 10K per hour, so I get a 20K tax write off every year. I do have hide sometimes though when the cops come by looking for me......

Re:I write off thousands every year to OSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426765)

Donations are gifts, not income. Treat it accordingly.
The IRS would have "issues" with just about everything you listed.

[Insert intresting supject] (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25425917)

[Insert inquisitive essay] Ha! You have been trolled!

NO (5, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25425931)

to get a tax write off, you need to donate money (or materials, which cost money at some point). Your time has no value for tax purposes.

Re:NO (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426913)

When you write anything, and retain the copyright, that is an asset. You can donate that asset to a charity and claim a deduction of the fair-market value. How much is a document, or your software worth? I dunno, but there are companies you can pay to give you an opinion. They charge a percentage of the value.

So, yeah, all that software your wrote for the FSF after executing their copyright assignment form? Deducation!

Re:NO (1)

ghostbar38 (982287) | more than 5 years ago | (#25427481)

It counts when you ask fees for the copyright because then it does have a cost but since he gives it for free there's no fee that could be taxable.

Re:NO (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25427725)

If you hold the copyright to software, that's intellectual property. If you assign the copyright to a 501(c)3, you can deduct the full market value of that piece of software. Granted, it can be difficult to determine that value. But whatever it is, it's deductible.

Let me be the first to say (2, Funny)

HandsOnFire (1059486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25425939)

In Soviet Russia, ALL work gets paid (useless or not) ...not that your work is useless. If people are looking at it and using it and telling you to publish, you should probably do it if you want the money. If your writing was utter trash and you tried to publish it (or it actaully got published) then you wouldn't get paid for poor quality work.

The idea that you get a tax rebates for voluntarily working on something is interesting, but do taxpayers want to pay for this kind of work?

I would like to know what others think about this as I just graduated (today, in fact) form school with a CS degree. I was pondering doing some OSS work to get some experience in some form of team-ish software development. It would be nice if I could make money from the gov't for that.

Re:Let me be the first to say (2, Insightful)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426047)

Lol! A "tax write off" is not a rebate. It has nothing to do with the government paying people. It's something that lets you pay less tax than you normally would. Unless you really think you have a right to other people's income. In which case your lame Soviet Russia joke would actually be kinda funny, though not in the way you intended.

For example, you can get a tax write off for donating money to charity. A very simple, probably numerically incorrect, example: if you made $50k last year and donated $5k to charities, you can "write off" the $5k, and pay income tax as if you only made $45k. There's no "rebate" or government pay out involved.

Re:Let me be the first to say (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426319)

You don't actually get a tax rebate for volunteer work. You can write off any expenses directly related to the volunteer activities (travel, materials, and meals under strict circumstances).

Submitting code to yet another half-assed IM client on SourceForge does not magically entitle you to not pay income tax for your day job.

That said, there's a whole mess of funky stuff going on with the US tax laws. Some folks argue that there is no law in existence forcing US citizens to pay income tax! I take it with a grain of salt, because there isn't a crooked judge on this planet who would ever decide in your favor, should you come under scrutiny of the IRS.

What is your time worth? (3, Insightful)

peterofoz (1038508) | more than 5 years ago | (#25425949)

I'd looked into this for another charity (Boy/Girl Scouts) I help out with a lot and found that I can't deduct value for my time. In order to take a tax deduction I have to donate things like: cash with a receipt, goods (fair market value), or mileage documented in a diary or expense report.

In short, your time is worth nothing to the IRS unless you first convert it into cash, thereby establishing it's fair market value. Then you donate the cash.

If you'd like some kudo's, there is always the Presidential Service Awards [presidenti...awards.gov] . They have a section for Computers and Technology. When you hit your bronze/silver/gold levels you can get it vetted and send your $6 to get a certificate. You'll probably also get letters from your local politicians who are plugged into the recognition process.

Ask the IRS... (5, Informative)

Yosemite_Mark (595102) | more than 5 years ago | (#25425967)

From Tax Publication 526, under the heading "Not Deductable As Charitable Contributions" : "Value of your time or services". Many out of pocket expenses you incur while serving as a volunteer are deductible, though.

volunteering is not a tax writeoff (1)

mlc (16290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25425971)

You can't take a tax deduction for time you volunteer. The fact that you're doing so in a convoluted manner doesn't help.

Deductibility of labor rendered (2, Interesting)

tonymus (671219) | more than 5 years ago | (#25425975)

My question to the Slashdot community involves claiming this work as volunteering for tax purposes. Have any of you had any success with releasing free software and then writing off your time when April 15 rolls around?"

How exactly do you propose writing off your time? As a charitable deduction? On Schedule C (Sole Propietorhip Income & Loss)? No matter...I don't think the IRS will let you deduct this either way.

Generally, self-provided services are not eligible for charitable deduction, ditto Schedule C. It makes sense if you think about it. When you take a deduction on Schedule C, someone else must pick up income. If you were the creator of the labor "sold", you created both the income and deduction. If the IRS were to allow you to take a labor deduction for your own services on Schedule C, it logically would figure that you'd also have to include the income that resulted from such deduction, either also on Schedule C, or on Form 1040, Line 7 (the W-2 line).

Then again, what do I know?

No go.... (4, Informative)

Panaflex (13191) | more than 5 years ago | (#25425995)

From my understanding, volunteer work is not tax deductible. Tangible assets and money given (like miles driven, money and items donated) may be deductible in certain situations.

In other words - you need receipts for things you used in the service of making your work for non-profits. And, technically speaking, you're going to need a 503(c) charity status as well.

If you want to run a 503(c) and give it away, you can certainly do that. But the only money you would be able to deduct is the money you would spend on the creation and operation of the charity organization.

Disclaimer: You milage may vary, offer not valid in the state of California, I'm not a lawyer and you're likely to end up in Gitmo following my advice, married with 16 children, and bald. Some people experience adverse reactions to this advice, such as lucid dreaming, extended erections, overgrown toe and nose hair, and quite possibly death by shotgun in the night. Drink responsibly.

Re:No go.... (1)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426555)

Actually that's a 501(C3) not a 503(c) Time is not deductible in any case. However any cash outlay you have in the course of providing that time is deductible.

Re:No go.... (1)

MacDork (560499) | more than 5 years ago | (#25427161)

From my understanding, volunteer work is not tax deductible. Tangible assets and money given (like miles driven, money and items donated) may be deductible in certain situations.

I don't think he is talking about the work done. It sounds like he's referring to the work itself... his "Intellectual Property."

This would be a non-issue if we had... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426025)

The Fair Tax. [fairtax.org]

Re:This would be a non-issue if we had... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25427583)

it's true you'd get to pay more tax while the rich and ultra rich pay less. Sounds fair to me

MS model? (4, Interesting)

wurp (51446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426027)

If you charge for something, and have purchases, then isn't any copy of that thing that you give away a business loss?

How is this different than MS writing Vista, which they sell, then taking a tax write-off for the full value of Vista when they give 100,000 copies to schools?

You're not writing off your time; you're writing off the value of the goods you gave away.

I am not a lawyer or an accountant. I'm just asking the question :-)

Re:MS model? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426107)

The business unit that writes Vista is separate from the business unit that sells Vista.

The "sales" unit "buys" vista from the programmers, then donates it to schools. Since there is a tangible thing they have purchased, they are able to write off against it.

I've worked for a company that paid me for services, then wrote off their payments to me when they donated the product. I got paid, they got the write-off, and the product was donated.... win-win-win.

As an individual, you can't donate your time... but you can contract with a company that'll pay you for your time and will donate the software, simply pick a number that (after taxes) is equal to the amount you'd like to write-off (this is effectively the same)

Re:MS model? (1)

wurp (51446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426241)

Well, in the case of the company that paid you and then took a write-off, there is a loss on their part. They pay you your full salary, but the write-off only pays them back 30% (or whatever their highest bracket tax rate is) of the money they paid you.

Re:MS model? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426823)

Companies write off whatever they spend whether donating it or not.

If they throw a party for employees, write-off. If they pay someone to code commercial software , write-off. If they donate it instead, there is no extra bonus.

Companies only pay tax on profits. People only get to write off certain kinds of expenses.

Re:MS model? (1)

wurp (51446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426889)

Yep, chaotoroboto pointed that out.

I'm sure you're right, and I was crazy. I do wonder, however, about MS donating to schools. Every time that happens we hear someone going off here about how it's just a huge tax write-off for them. From what you're saying, there is no money made, but money lost on such deals.

Re:MS model? (1)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426973)

Except the 'loss' is only if you value software at its face price, rather than 3 cents per disk. The sales people may lose money buying all that software from the software people, but that's like saying I lost money buying candy from myself.

Re:MS model? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426235)

Software publishers cannot deduct the "full value" of software they give away, if by that you mean the retail price.

Think about it. If that were true, no software company in the world would ever pay a penny in tax. They'd just give away enough software, to those who wouldn't buy it anyway, to offset any profit.

Re:MS model? (2, Interesting)

wurp (51446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426281)

I did think about it. Do software publishers pay tax? Do you have evidence one way or another?

'cause I couldn't find any.

Re:MS model? (1)

chaotoroboto (832561) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426743)

I did think about it. Do software publishers pay tax? Do you have evidence one way or another?

'cause I couldn't find any.

On Microsoft's Investor Relations Page, They have their Yearly Income statements in Excel format: http://www.microsoft.com/msft/download/Yearly%20Income%20Statements.xls [microsoft.com]

The line you're looking for is "Provision for Income Taxes," and it looks like MS paid $6B in income taxes (that would be worldwide) last year.

Re:MS model? (2, Interesting)

conlaw (983784) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426261)

wurp, I think you're on the right track. Altlhough I am a retired lawyer, I never practiced tax law. However, I believe that the following analysis falls within the terms of the IRS code.

Assume that the good doctor had originally copyrighted the material and sold a bunch of the books/CD's, etc. at a reasonable price (let's say $20-$25 each). Now, however, the doctor has seen the light of FOSS and starts giving the books away to aspiring med school students. I would argue that this puts the doctor in the same position as Microsoft in your example; i.e., giving away products with an established value.

Looking at what really happened and the good intent in giving the work away from the beginning, I'm afraid that the only wisdom we can offer is the old saying: "No good deed goes unpunished."

Re:MS model? (1)

chaotoroboto (832561) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426703)

When Microsoft purchases the inventory - stamps out discs, pays coders to code, etc - they deduct the expense then (or over time according to archaic rules). If they then donate that inventory - let schools use it for free - they do not deduct anything, because they have already deducted the expense once.

In other words, Microsoft has only spent X dollars, they can't deduct 2X dollars.

If Microsoft does what your example shows, then they would have committed fraud.

On the other hand, if you buy a copy of Vista and give it to your church, you spent X dollars on the copy, and that X dollars is deductible.

The key is that every expense is recorded once and only once.

Ask not... (4, Funny)

Ottair (1270536) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426029)

what you can do for your country, ask what the IRS Code, Section 12, paragraph 14 can do for you.

Re:Ask not... (1)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 5 years ago | (#25427431)

Everyone knows that IRS Codes have part, then chapter, then section.

At least the department of the Treasury does.

Ok, everyone with 30 seconds to do a google search knows that IRS Codes have part, then chapter, then section.

It's A Hobby (4, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426039)

When you aren't making money from an endeavor, especially if you can't point out how it may lead to making money in the future, it's not a job to the I.R.S., but a hobby. And you can't write off expenses of a hobby. The earlier poster who says his stellar C.P.A. who found lots of write-offs has likely yet to survive an I.R.S. audit over them. You may not be so lucky.

You will receive lots of suggestions here. Mine is, and I've worked as a consultant and had write-offs, that you need to show how all these efforts are leading towards profits in the future. It's not a crime to lose money in your business, however, after a certain point (IIRC 3 years, but talk to a professional about this) the I.R.S. will no longer consider your efforts a business.

One suggestion: Chalk all this up to generating resume cred for future jobs that do pay.

Re:It's A Hobby (1)

uncqual (836337) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426817)

however, after a certain point (IIRC 3 years, but talk to a professional about this) the I.R.S. will no longer consider your efforts a business.

I'm fairly sure that an effort that loses money for more than three years can still be considered a business rather than a hobby (else, some airlines would be hobbies!). However, I think the burden of proving it's not a hobby shifts strongly to the taxpayer after (IIRC) three years of no profits. Obviously airlines meet this test trivially (who, in their right mind, would have anything to do with an airline as a hobby -- it must be a business!) -- a purported brothel that is losing money but claims a lot of recruiting expenses (including paid interviews) might have a somewhat harder time!

Disclaimer: IANAL either, but when did that ever stop anyone on /.?

Re:It's A Hobby (1)

carlzum (832868) | more than 5 years ago | (#25427577)

The GP is correct, a self employed [irs.gov] individual (contractor, home based business, etc) does have to show a good faith attempt at making a profit. Writing off loses in three consecutive years is one of the good faith tests, though that alone doesn't prove you're not making an attempt. Corporations have entirely different tax rules.
A FOSS project that's considered a hobby and one that's considered a charity differ by the tax status of the organization running it. Out of pocket costs for a legally recognized non-profit [softwarefreedom.org] are potentially tax deductible. Otherwise it's probably just a hobby in the eyes of the IRS.

Re:It's A Hobby (1)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | more than 5 years ago | (#25427565)

IANAL, but I assume there must be a distinction between a hobby and volunteering for a registered non-profit organization such as the FSF. I'm guessing starting your own non-profit is complicated, but you might be able to get your project adopted by an existing organization.

Re:It's A Hobby (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25427617)

If you write software, hold the copyright, and donate that software to a 501(c)3 by assigning the copyright, you have made a donation of property. Exactly how much is a bit tricky to figure out. But that's just a detail. You're allowed to deduct the entire fair-market value of your donation from your taxes (although you can't donate more than half of your income in any one tax year).

Does it work for Microsoft by donating software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426083)

Does it work for Microsoft by donating software?

fuggetaboudit (1)

heroine (1220) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426097)

Money spent on computers, rented space, electricity, & time for writing free software is all after taxes. U better start charging money.

double dipping (5, Interesting)

jdh3.1415 (800944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426101)

You can't write off volunteer time. That would be double dipping. The good news is you don't have to pay taxes on the money you didn't earn while working on your book.

Imagine your time is worth $50.00 / hr. You could donate 100 hours of time by working for 100 hours for $5000. Then, you could donate the money back to the charity and deduct the $5000. Or, you could work for free for 100 hours and forgo the deduction. Both scenarios would put you in the same place tax wise.

On the otherhand, if you worked for free and took a deduction, you would essentially be taking the deduction twice. The IRS doesn't take kindly to this.

Re:double dipping (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426445)

So work for them as a consultant, give 'em a bill, and then give 'em "back" the $$ they pay you as a donation

Re:double dipping (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426793)

That doesn't change anything.

Scenario 1: You donate 10 hours of unpaid time.

Scenario 2: You work 10 hours, project pays you $5000. You donate the $5000 back.

The end result is the same. You can't magically create time or money.

Re:double dipping (1)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25427001)

The original question is different though.

Work X hours towards creating a product, make ongoing donations of that product to this day, now can he deduct a fair value of that product for his donations of that product?

Re:double dipping (1)

jdh3.1415 (800944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426963)

If you are paid $5000 then donate the money back, the donation cancels out the extra $5000 income that shows up on your W2 or 1099. It's a zero sum. If you work for free you don't have the deduction but you don't have the extra income. So, there's really no diiference.

What about this strategy? (1)

woverly (223564) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426109)

Next time get an unrelated party to purchase the work from you and then donate the work. You can further donate the money you were paid to the purchaser's favorite charity. Two donations?

How good was your record keeping? (1)

JohnnyGTO (102952) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426139)

I would think it would be like a home business, the IRS wants you to PROVE you used the space.

The right place to ask (2, Informative)

bferrell (253291) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426145)

is a CPA or tax lawyer

Publish the damn thing (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426155)

There are people who want a real paper book instead of a PDF. Why are you depriving them of the chance to read your book the way they want it? At the same time you would make some money, probably more than you could ever hope to save through tax deductions.

Dear Slashdot, (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426157)

I pursue the occasional $hobby. As this activity is popular with you, the /. readers, don't you think any and all time spent towards $hobby somehow absolves me of some of my tax burden?

Don't you think that the funding of all governmental activities is somehow less my responsibility since I pursue said $hobby?

Shit dude... the other day I did something for someone. Where's my 40 acres and a mule? Why the fuck should you pay less in taxes because you help write foss? If you are running a business, and reducing your tax load helps you grow your business, employ people, and donate to political parties....then it's an INVESTMENT into your company. But if you are doing FOSS with no intent to ever make money, your police, fire, water, and multiple wars aren't going to pay for themselves.

Re:Dear Slashdot, (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426329)

your police, fire, water, and multiple wars aren't going to pay for themselves.

But they could save themselves money using donated FOSS.

Re:Dear Slashdot, (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426795)

My local city office, including the police, use open office. My school district uses freeBSD, koha, apache, and a few hundred other FOSS systems (and even contributes). My local college...they use and teach nfs, samba, openLDAP, and a few thousand small FOSS projects.

This doesn't change the fact that it's tacky to expect everyone else to subsidize your hobby thru offsetting public costs.

j public paying tax to keep billionerrors afloat (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426199)

we must save them or we'll all go DOWn? that's the most nitrogenous waste filled scenario we've ever smelled.

greed, fear & ego are unprecedented evile's primary weapons. those, along with deception & coercion, helps most of us remain (unwittingly?) dependent on its' life0cidal hired goons' agenda. most of yOUR dwindling resources are being squandered on the 'wars', & continuation of the billionerrors stock markup FraUD/pyramid schemes. nobody ever mentions the real long term costs of those debacles in both life & any notion of prosperity for us, or our children, not to mention the abuse of the consciences of those of us who still have one. see you on the other side of it. the lights are coming up all over now. conspiracy theorists are being vindicated. some might choose a tin umbrella to go with their hats. the fairytail is winding down now. let your conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.google.com/?ncl=1216734813&hl=en&topic=n
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080918/ap_on_re_us/tent_cities;_ylt=A0wNcyS6yNJIZBoBSxKs0NUE
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/29/world/29amnesty.html?hp
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/06/02/nasa.global.warming.ap/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/weather/06/05/severe.weather.ap/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/weather/06/02/honore.preparedness/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/science/09/28/what.matters.meltdown/index.html#cnnSTCText
http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/books/10/07/atwood.debt/index.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/01/opinion/01dowd.html?em&ex=1212638400&en=744b7cebc86723e5&ei=5087%0A
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/06/05/senate.iraq/index.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/17/washington/17contractor.html?hp
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/03/world/middleeast/03kurdistan.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin
http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080708/cheney_climate.html
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20080805/pl_politico/12308;_ylt=A0wNcxTPdJhILAYAVQms0NUE
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/18/voting.problems/index.html
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080903/ts_nm/environment_arctic_dc;_ylt=A0wNcwhhcb5It3EBoy2s0NUE
(talk about cowardlly race fixing/bad theater/fiction?) http://money.cnn.com/2008/09/19/news/economy/sec_short_selling/index.htm?cnn=yes
http://us.lrd.yahoo.com/_ylt=ApTbxRfLnscxaGGuCocWlwq7YWsA/SIG=11qicue6l/**http%3A//biz.yahoo.com/ap/081006/meltdown_kashkari.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/04/opinion/04sat1.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
(the teaching of hate as a way of 'life' synonymous with failed dictatorships) http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081004/ap_on_re_us/newspapers_islam_dvd;_ylt=A0wNcwWdfudITHkACAus0NUE
(some yoga & yogurt makes killing/getting killed less stressful) http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081007/ap_on_re_us/warrior_mind;_ylt=A0wNcw9iXutIPkMBwzGs0NUE
(the old bait & switch...you're share of the resulting 'product' is a fairytail nightmare?)
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081011/ap_on_bi_ge/where_s_the_money;_ylt=A0wNcwJGwvFIZAQAE6ms0NUE

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=weather+manipulation&btnG=Search
http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying

'The current rate of extinction is around 10 to 100 times the usual background level, and has been elevated above the background level since the Pleistocene. The current extinction rate is more rapid than in any other extinction event in earth history, and 50% of species could be extinct by the end of this century. While the role of humans is unclear in the longer-term extinction pattern, it is clear that factors such as deforestation, habitat destruction, hunting, the introduction of non-native species, pollution and climate change have reduced biodiversity profoundly.' (wiki)

"I think the bottom line is, what kind of a world do you want to leave for your children," Andrew Smith, a professor in the Arizona State University School of Life Sciences, said in a telephone interview. "How impoverished we would be if we lost 25 percent of the world's mammals," said Smith, one of more than 100 co-authors of the report. "Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live," added Julia Marton-Lefevre, IUCN director general. "We must now set clear targets for the future to reverse this trend to ensure that our enduring legacy is not to wipe out many of our closest relatives."

"The wealth of the universe is for me. Every thing is explicable and practical for me .... I am defeated all the time; yet to victory I am born." --emerson
consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

I see a loophole (1)

PatDev (1344467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426265)

This is pretty simple if an actual non-profit is using your open-source product. Just set up a web page selling *discs* of your software. Then, donate the software, on discs, to your local charity.

This way, you are donating an actual good to an actual charity. Further, as long as you keep the price somewhat in line with competing proprietary products, you decide market value. And to sweeten the deal further, you can donate more discs at each major update (as long as you don't go too crazy).

Of course, you can still distribute the software for free over the internet - after all you aren't selling the software, you're selling the disc.

The big difference here is that you aren't donating your time - the time is all on you. However, you do have a disc which has a market value that you can donate.

Re:I see a loophole (1)

alphad0g (1172971) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426541)

You have not found a loophole. If you buy disk and then burn your software and donate the disks, you can write off the cost of the disks. You still can NOT write off your time. It is no different then other trades. If I donate my time building a shed for a charity, I can write off any materials I bought while building that shed (lumber, roofing, nails, etc.) but I still can not write off my time. Now, if you sold a completed product and donated 50 of them to charity, there is a cost of goods sold deduction (what is the cost of the product), but this is usually established in past accounting documents - what is the retail versus wholesale price when you are selling this to the public. You can't just make this stuff when you want to turn something into a charitable contribution. I take that back, you can make up anything you want and deduct anything you want. You can claim that you don't owe any tax as the tax laws are violations of a bunch of amendments to the constitution. Just be prepared to go toe to toe with the IRS - and they usually win.

FOSS does not qualify in any case (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25426369)

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p526/ar02.html#d0e1210

Contributions to Nonqualified Organizations

You cannot deduct contributions to organizations that are not qualified to receive tax-deductible contributions, including the following.

4. Communist organizations.

Ka-ching!

*dons suit of resistance to acid and flame*

Code donation (1)

pruss (246395) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426529)

It looks from the comments that time doesn't count as a write-off. But I bet that if Microsoft donates a bunch of copies of Windows, or just gives them a number of licenses, to a non-profit, that counts as a charitable donation. Am I wrong?

If donating software to an organization counts as a donation, then one should be able to make a claim that by giving copyright to the FSF one is making a donation of goods, to be assessed at the market value of the code.

I suspect, though, that just releasing OSS by oneself would not count. But if one ran a non-profit that one donated code to, and which then did the releasing for one, then I think things would look better.

But this is pure speculation. Does anyone know?

Well, I have some advice... (3, Funny)

zotz (3951) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426619)

and I think it may even be good advice. What is it worth to you though?

I was going to give it at no cost, but then I checked the license on your book and it has the NC clause in it.

So, Use BY-SA or BY instead and drop the NC and I will give the advice gratis. Or let me know if you are interested in paying for some advice.

I know this may sound snarky, but it is not meant in that way.

all the best,

drew

The answer is (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#25426671)

No. What you did does not count as any kind of charitable action. In fact, as most, if not all, open source projects are not charitable organizations, donations to projects, whether work, code, or money, do not count as tax write offs.

Re:The answer is (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25427647)

If you assign copyright, you are donating property. That gets you a tax write-off. So yeah, yer talkin' smack. Yes, it's difficult to put a value on the value of copyright on open source, but if you own the copyright, you always have the potential to sell it to somebody, or donate it to the FSF.

Get a professional (1)

buss_error (142273) | more than 5 years ago | (#25427167)

First, CPA do books, not taxes. If they do taxes as well, they are tax preparares and that is not the same thing as a cpa. Kind of like a plumber AND and air cond. guy. He can do both, but he's licensed and passed tests for each (in my state, anyway).

Just remember, you are going to get a lot of advice, and it falls on a bell curve rated "utter foolishness" to "Mind blowing". If you don't get a professional opinion, you could end up really hurting yourself.

At the very least, seek out a licensed professional and purchase an opinion. If you want, run by advice you're given here.

No Deductions, but Advertising/Good Will (1)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 5 years ago | (#25427321)

You can't take a deduction for labor. Simple as that. I wish you could. I design websites and do computer training (mostly MS Office) for a number of organizations locally, adding up to some 300 hours a year. (I keep track of it.)

Not a single minute is tax deductable, but like others have said -- your mileage and expenses usually are.

Instead... look for ways to make money off your volunteer work. If you own a business, exchange your volunteer time for promotional mention in the organization's newsletter, website, or a banner next time they hold an event.

You won't get much business from it, but you might get a few new clients that need your help which may help "pay" for your volunteer work. What goes around comes around.

Hidden motive (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 5 years ago | (#25427395)

I have been asked several times to publish the text so that I can make money off of it.

Why?

Why is someone asking you this?

Perhaps because they don't want the information to be freely available. Perhaps they want to eventually hide and/or charge for the information down the road.

Sound like RIAA/MPAA, DRM to you?

Graphics artifacts in dreams (0, Offtopic)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#25427697)

Ever have dreams with jaggies? Delamination? Compression artifacts? Bad physics simulation? I used to get that when I was doing 3D animation. It's an intensity thing; if you do animation, you spend too much time looking at the same thing, very closely, in detail, at slow speed. So it goes into the material used to make up dreams.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>