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Project blog with paypal donation button?


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#1 forsandifs   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 04:18 AM

If I have a blog that talks about a project, and I take donations via a paypal button on that blog site, with the donations made by generous contributors aiming to support the development of the project and expecting nothing else in return, is that legal? Is there anything I should be aware about?

Normally I would assume that it would be OK, because I've seen it done on many popular sites, like for example http://thenoobcomic.com/index.php , where the donation button is a custom image near the bottom right of the linked page. However reports like the following http://www.rockpaper...he-indie-stone/ make me double check.

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#2 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 22796

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 10:55 AM

If I have a blog that talks about a project, and I take donations via a paypal button on that blog site, with the donations made by generous contributors aiming to support the development of the project and expecting nothing else in return, is that legal? Is there anything I should be aware about?



Yes, donations are perfectly legal. Also, it is not "expecting nothing else in return". This is voluntary payment in consideration for the services you provide to them on the site or through the project.


You are accepting money you will need to pay taxes, governments are very strict about that. You may need to register with various government levels if the amount is big enough or if you are using a fictitious name (such as a business name or project name instead of your own real name).

Check out my book, Game Development with Unity, aimed at beginners who want to build fun games fast.

Also check out my personal website at bryanwagstaff.com, where I write about assorted stuff.


#3 forsandifs   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 01:10 PM

Thank you very much for your reply.

You may need to register with various government levels if the amount is big enough or if you are using a fictitious name (such as a business name or project name instead of your own real name).


I was wondering whether I would have to register as a charity or organisation or somewhat to recieve donations and that seems to answer my question. However, though the ammount would undoubtedly be small, I was planning to simply post the blog under this programming name "forsandifs", so as you say I may have to register on some level. I guess I would need to ask my local authorities about that?

#4 SimonForsman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6325

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 01:32 PM

Thank you very much for your reply.

You may need to register with various government levels if the amount is big enough or if you are using a fictitious name (such as a business name or project name instead of your own real name).


I was wondering whether I would have to register as a charity or organisation or somewhat to recieve donations and that seems to answer my question. However, though the ammount would undoubtedly be small, I was planning to simply post the blog under this programming name "forsandifs", so as you say I may have to register on some level. I guess I would need to ask my local authorities about that?


Yes, ask the local authorities (Whichever handles the taxes is usually a good start), rules vary greatly depending on what country you live in. (If the money is considered gifts the tax rate might be different from income for example)
I don't suffer from insanity, I'm enjoying every minute of it.
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#5 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 22796

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 02:24 PM

I was planning to simply post the blog under this programming name "forsandifs", so as you say I may have to register on some level. I guess I would need to ask my local authorities about that?


Correct. You should use a real name or a fictitious name registered with the government. There's a whole bunch of laws in place, and reasons for the requirements range from tax evasion to money laundering.

Check out my book, Game Development with Unity, aimed at beginners who want to build fun games fast.

Also check out my personal website at bryanwagstaff.com, where I write about assorted stuff.


#6 Obscure   Moderators   -  Reputation: 174

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 01:18 AM

If I have a blog that talks about a project, and I take donations via a paypal button on that blog site, with the donations made by generous contributors aiming to support the development of the project and expecting nothing else in return, is that legal? Is there anything I should be aware about?

Yes it is perfectly legal to run a business, which is what you would be doing. Just because the button says "donation" that doesn't mean you aren't accepting payment in the normal business sense. You will need to register with you local tax office and will probably need to list your income on a tax return, subject to your local tax laws. If the money earned is very low it may be below the tax threshold or it may be counted as a gift. If that is the case you won't need to pay any tax. However, above a certain level it ceases to considered a gift and will be taxable income. You also need to be aware that if you get a full time job and continue with this side project you need to add all earnings together when calculating tax.

Normally I would assume that it would be OK, because I've seen it done on many popular sites...

Have you seen many people speeding or illegally parked before? Must be OK to do those things too. You were sensible to ask for advise because simply copying others can lead to trouble.

I was wondering whether I would have to register as a charity or organisation or somewhat to recieve donations and that seems to answer my question.

To register as a charity you need to actually be a charity - as in the money goes to a good cause. There are very strict laws on the setting up and administration of charities. They aren't simply a way for you to get money I'm afraid.

Depending on where you are you may have to register as a company, if that is what local law requires. However, in most places you can just register as self-employed, which is usually the best thing to do when only a small amount of money is involved.
Dan Marchant - Business Development Consultant
www.obscure.co.uk




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