Donations are the backbone of the project. They keep the lights on and fund development. They are however a complicated construct and a lot of paperwork. We have now made some changes that will make the entire process more transparent and easier for everyone.
Donations to the project have in the past not been tax-deductible for most organizations - which is now going to change: Instead of treating a donation (which does not exist in Germany's tax law) as a voluntary "gift", we will now treat it as a regular billable service where you, the donor, choose the amount. This has many advantages for both, donors and the project.
From now on, we will send you a formal order confirmation as soon as you clicked the "Donate Now" button. It has become a legal requirement for all credit card payments to send the "customer" a full summary about the transaction before it is being conducted and this is our way to do so. The email will say "order confirmation" which might not be the best choice for donations, but it is just that - a confirmation that we have received your intention to donate.
After the transaction has been conducted, you will receive an invoice for your documents. New is also that this invoice will contain any VAT that has been charged (if applicable) and you can take it to your pile of fully deductible expenses.
Most of our donors won't pay a penny in VAT since any payments from outside the European Union are entirely tax-free. Donors who can provide us with a valid VAT number will also donate VAT-free. If you fall into that category, please make sure you enter your VAT number before making a donation.
That only leaves private donors from inside the EU to which VAT will apply, but you won't have to worry about this at all. We will take care of this like your local sandwich shop does when you buy a sandwich.
Because of this we also have decided that if you click "organization" on the donation form, the amount entered will be exclusive of VAT since the vast majority won't pay it. This is the default in every online store too, where prices for businesses will be shown exclusive of any VAT.
For organizations in Germany only, this will however result in the final invoice having VAT added and therefore being higher than the amount entered. Of course you will be able to claim back the difference with your regular VAT tax return, but we require you to know that this is happening.
Why am I telling you all of this?
To keep you in the loop.
Actually, nothing really changes for you when you are donating. You will just have to go to this page, fill in the form and click the big red button. After that, you pick your payment method, do the payment and you are done. It is nice and easy and we hope that many of you will continue making use of that form as much as they can to help to make IPFire successful.
If you already have a recurring donation set up, we will roll you over to the new system and you won't have to do anything.
We have had many conversations with other Open Source projects over the years and it looks like everyone has their own donation process - simply because donations do not exist in German tax law.
We have now implemented a number of changes that were required due to changes in the law and we worked hard to find the right and best way to make this work for everyone involved.
I am happy to say that we have now finally reached that point where all changes have become reality where a maximum amount of your donations are actually going into the project and only a minimal amount is being spent on fees and other overhead.
This is very close to my heart because every penny more that we can spend on the project is a step closer to our goals.
Thank you to everyone joined in to help!
If you have any questions about these changes, please mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.