1 - Why am I forcing Regulars to pay?
I am not forcing anyone to pay. Options are being considered for IF we meet our financial obligations, that we can consider alternative coverage/payments for content creators/contributors. I can not PROMISE any of these unless we cover over our minimum requirements. Without being able to pay the bills we will not exist.
2 - Why are we turning UnitedOperations into a business?
Because I was hit with an IRS Assessment for over $2300, for 2011 off of the donations made though Paypal.
I shoulder the financial burden and legal responsibility of your donations and cost of services provided.
I can no longer run this as a hobby, from a tax stand point, nor legally based on my IRS Audit/Judgement.
3 - What other options can we have to not turn this into a business?
I would be eager to know how any other goals will clear the legal and tax ramifications, and I will defer to my CPA in this case.
Users are still free to donate towards the server if they wish.
4 - How do we plan with income over our current minimum donation goals?
Our expenses at present are currently more than $300/month, add in cost of new servers, tax responsibility, and overhead of software and services.
Once we meet our obligations, considerations are being explored for donations for charities, these have not been decided upon, but is the most appealing goal.
We will need to keep a reserve for at the very least one quarter, to potentially half a year. Should we add additional services or overhead onto what we offer, this would impact how much we need to have per month.
In a perfect scenario, we would pay for each quarter in advance, cover the bills and obligations, then for any overages in a set quarter we put those in reserve, in either a savings or CD or some other manner until the end of a set period. From these reserves we put them towards a donation goal, pending no other expenses are incurred that would prevent us from using them towards. The donation goals and recipient services at present need more exploration, many of the popular ones are not all that great for how they distribute to end users, or have way too much in the way of administrative overhead.
5 - I am really dumbfounded by how this happened. (paraphrased)
Growing up and becoming an adult sucks, get used to it. This was not my desire, but this has became a requirement based on events over the fiscal year of 2011. I am still dreading what will happen for 2012. And that does not even cover our current year.
Thanks for the detailed response. I know some of my questions sounded harsh, that came off wrong.
I appreciate it.
I totally understand the situation you face as well as the community, and if it is absolutely necessary for regulars to step up and support the community then I'll do it. I think I've enjoyed too many hours and too many missions to turn my back when things get a little rough.