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Did you ever donate to Locast/SFCNY ? If not, perhaps Crodrules can answer. Under what name did the donation/fee show up on the credit card? Recurly? Locast? SFCNY?
My monthly payments appeared similar to Crodrules. I took the listing as showing the donations were made to the locast.org owner's account.
 

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I never signed up for Locast as I have a rooftop antenna and can get over 100 channels. From what I've read Locast did not require donations but if none were made your viewing was interrupted asking for such.
 

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I never signed up for Locast as I have a rooftop antenna and can get over 100 channels. From what I've read Locast did not require donations but if none were made your viewing was interrupted asking for such.
You are correct, sir! Most of the reviews of "free" Locast that I have seen considered the level of interruptions on a scale of "very annoying" to "service unusable without paying to remove the nag screens".
 

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Answering the question, it showed up on my bank statement as:
Purchase PayPal *LocastOrg PayPal *LocastOrg 4029357733 NY xxxxxxxxxxxx(card number deleted) $60.50
The part I found interesting is that it is clearly listed as a "purchase." (Exactly what is being purchased is not exactly clear.) The one word that is conspicuously missing from that line is "donation."
 

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My monthly donation to Shriner's hospital shows up as a purchase. That is clearly not a purchase.
 
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This is the first year that I have donated to Locast. For those who have donated to them in previous years: Do you receive some kind of form in the mail from them around January (when other tax-related documents usually arrive) showing your tax-deductible donation, so you can submit it with your income tax form? If so, that is the form that would show how much of your contribution is actually considered a donation.
 

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The part I found interesting is that it is clearly listed as a "purchase." (Exactly what is being purchased is not exactly clear.) The one word that is conspicuously missing from that line is "donation."
That's a PayPal issue, not a Locast issue. I've made nuerous donations to other organizations through PayPal with no "donation" indicated on their part.
 

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This is the first year that I have donated to Locast. For those who have donated to them in previous years: Do you receive some kind of form in the mail from them around January (when other tax-related documents usually arrive) showing your tax-deductible donation, so you can submit it with your income tax form? If so, that is the form that would show how much of your contribution is actually considered a donation.
I've not gotten any annual statement from Locast or any other organization I've donated to except on request for large donations. I've never requested one from Locast though.
 

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That's a PayPal issue, not a Locast issue. I've made nuerous donations to other organizations through PayPal with no "donation" indicated on their part.
Yeah, I figured that communication must have broken down somewhere in the chain: Locast, Recurly, PayPal, Huntington (my bank) - any one of those could have misinterpreted and/or misreported the type of transaction.

I've not gotten any annual statement from Locast or any other organization I've donated to except on request for large donations. I've never requested one from Locast though.
It would be interesting to see how they itemize it. A "service fee" would not be tax-deductible. I can't deduct my Dish bill, right? In years past, Locast was not under as much scrutiny. Now, with the court ruling, and Locast seemingly needing to show how much was collected for "service" to have any chance on appeal, that may change things.

It seems to me that the "service fee" ruling is the worst-case scenario for Locast subscribers: Not only did we not receive the service that we paid for, but now we can't claim the donation as an income tax deduction, either? Yes, this sounds like a class action lawsuit waiting to happen.
 

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Yeah, I figured that communication must have broken down somewhere in the chain: Locast, Recurly, PayPal, Huntington (my bank) - any one of those could have misinterpreted and/or misreported the type of transaction.

It would be interesting to see how they itemize it. A "service fee" would not be tax-deductible. I can't deduct my Dish bill, right? In years past, Locast was not under as much scrutiny. Now, with the court ruling, and Locast seemingly needing to show how much was collected for "service" to have any chance on appeal, that may change things.

It seems to me that the "service fee" ruling is the worst-case scenario for Locast subscribers: Not only did we not receive the service that we paid for, but now we can't claim the donation as an income tax deduction, either? Yes, this sounds like a class action lawsuit waiting to happen.
Apparently the IRS still says you can deduct the Locast donations. I haven't seen anything to change their determination of Locast's status. I haven't read the full court rulings though. There is nothing wrong with non-profits using some of their donations to support their infrastructure without breaking those costs out to those donating.
 

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Apparently the IRS still says you can deduct the Locast donations. I haven't seen anything to change their determination of Locast's status. I haven't read the full court rulings though.
Correct. The question of whether or not Locast was a 501(C)(3) was not part of the case. The case was about the legality of Locast retransmitting broadcast signals.

There is nothing wrong with non-profits using some of their donations to support their infrastructure without breaking those costs out to those donating.
True. But, as always, one should consult with a tax attorney or financial advisor when dealing with the IRS. $60/year to Locast probably will not affect one's taxes. I donate much more to other causes and still take the standard deduction (my "much more" is apparently still under what the IRS finds acceptable).

If I understand correctly, the rules for a "Quid Pro Quo Contribution" would apply. The charity does not need to furnish a disclosure if the donation is under $75. But, as noted, Locast was not found guilty of violating IRS rules. This case was about their retransmission of television signals.
 

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If I understand correctly, the rules for a "Quid Pro Quo Contribution" would apply.
I got it now. Thanks! So, this would be no different from making a contribution to my local PBS station during a pledge drive, in exchange for a DVD box set. Only in this case, I only received half of the DVD box set (half a year of service from Locast) that I was expecting.
 

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I got it now. Thanks! So, this would be no different from making a contribution to my local PBS station during a pledge drive, in exchange for a DVD box set. Only in this case, I only received half of the DVD box set (half a year of service from Locast) that I was expecting.
But you were never promised any service in exchange for your donation, just the removal of the donation pitches. I'd say they've held up that end of the bargain fully at this point... :(
 

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But you were never promised any service in exchange for your donation, just the removal of the donation pitches. I'd say they've held up that end of the bargain fully at this point... :(
Oh really? Because I still see a huge "donate" button at the locast.org site. That is not exactly a full removal of donation pitches.

So, if they had said "You can watch our service for free as long as you sit through our ads, but as soon as you donate any money to us, you will no longer be able to watch our service at all" that would be completely okay, even if that last part was not disclosed until after the money had already been paid? At least I got almost half a year. I really feel sorry for someone who paid for an annual membership that started on August 31.
 

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Going to their site is voluntary and there isn't much reason to go there any more. The 15 seconds every 15 minutes interruptions (interrupting the program regardless of pivotal content) was "voluntary" but the price of admission was low enough it was easier to pay the price asked.

Locast was not intending to rip people off. At the moment they accepted each donation they expected to be able to be able to provide the desired service.
 

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Okay, I did a little more digging. The following steps did not help me (I'll explain why a little further down) but they may still be worth trying.

On the main Locast.org page, I noticed this little tidbit right below the Donate button:
"If you cannot afford to contribute $5 per month but would like the uninterrupted version of Locast, you might qualify for the "Locast Cares" program. Click here for more details."

Going to that link brings up the following:
"While Locast is a not-for-profit that depends on user donations to help us deliver on our mission, we understand that not everyone is in a position to provide financial support to our mission.
If you would like uninterrupted access to Locast and can't support our mission financially, please consider applying for our Locast Cares Program. Under this program, you can get access to Locast without donation requests even if you don't make a donation. The Locast Cares Program is a limited offer. The first 50,000 qualifying applicants shall receive one year of the uninterrupted Locast service. See the "Locast Cares Program" section of our Terms of Service as well as our Application page for more details.

Here is how to Apply
Only three simple steps:

Cancel Your Existing Donation
If you are an existing donor, you must cancel your donation before you can apply for Locast Cares Program. Click here to cancel your existing donation.
If you are not a current donor, please proceed to Step 2.

Submit Your Application Online
Signing up is easy and fast from a web browser.
Click Here to Apply

Get Approved
We'll review your completed application and let you know by email if you are approved."


I was curious what would happen, so I followed the steps to try to cancel my donation. Unfortunately, I do not see a "Cancel Subscription" option near the top center of the "View Personal Profile" page. So, it looks like I am out of luck. I do see a "Reactivate Subscription" option there, though. As I posted earlier (may have been in another thread) Locast had already notified me that they cancelled my recurring donations. That doesn't do any good as far as cancelling in the middle of the term that had already been paid for, though. That page still says that my membership expires March 17, 2022.
 

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Oh really? Because I still see a huge "donate" button at the locast.org site. That is not exactly a full removal of donation pitches.

So, if they had said "You can watch our service for free as long as you sit through our ads, but as soon as you donate any money to us, you will no longer be able to watch our service at all" that would be completely okay, even if that last part was not disclosed until after the money had already been paid? At least I got almost half a year. I really feel sorry for someone who paid for an annual membership that started on August 31.
The point is that Locast only promised to remove the ads in exchange for your donation. The service was already there and available to you both before and after your donation. At no point were you asked to pay any specific minimum amount for the service. Take your donation as a tax deduction if it'll make you feel better. I make lots of donations with no expectation of any direct benefit to me, just the hope that my money will be used to aid others in some way. I freely donated to Locast knowing full well that a part of that donation would go towards expanding the service to areas that would have no direct benefit to me.
 

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Less than 15% of taxpayers itemize anymore. I doubt that the $5 donation each month ( plus the 50-cent fee) would make much difference in the tax owed even for those who itemize. I haven't itemized since we paid off our mortgage 20 years ago.
 

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I attempt to itemize each year but the tax preparation software routinely says the standard deduction is higher.
 

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Like I said earlier, the Locast website would not let me cancel my existing donation. However, just for the heck of it, I went ahead and submitted my Locast Cares application anyway. Who knows? Maybe I will get a year of free service if and when they ever resume operations.
 
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