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rpn

John Dehlin's podcast and aftermath

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I just realized that this might more properly be assigned to the News section.   If mods wish to do that I have no objection.

The OP for the other thread recommend starting a new one to discuss any response.

It was a very positive podcast.

He announced that in 2015 a whole new board of directors was formed when he made OSF his life's work (info now on site, and delayed because their person who is doing the website just hasn't gotten to it).  He doesn't say how they were selected, or whether it was according to bylaws, or whether he was personal friends with any of them other than the one who also spoke on the podcast.  (He also didn't speak of who they replaced and why they left.)  He did describe the accomplishments of the board members in general terms, and the website does a little more  (IME, Board member biographies list the full names of employers and of other boards on which they sit (e.g. http://www.redcross.org/local/california/los-angeles/about-us/leadership : OSF's is not that detailed.  s the type of business involved for all but .   All together there are five, and a board secretary, including John.  (As he said in the podcast, it isn't uncommon for a CEO to also be on the Board, but it is usually as an ex-officio member or as the Board Secretary).   The Board apparently wants more board diversity (minorities and LGBTQ) and will be adding board members.   Altogether, the new information (aside from the lack of disclosure of how they were chosen, and whether the board member whose job is an angel investor was given the board seat in exchange for an infusion of revenue, and whether the Board Finance Chair (who is the personal friend and who apparently but not clearly is the one doing the financial statements and accounting for OSF) should give people reassurance that the OSF Board is being governed soundly.

JD made  a change to his personal website in which he refers to his private practice, eliminating the word "psychologist" from the credentials.  But he continues to refer to himself as a psychologist on other sites (one of which for one day, but no longer, acknowledged that he is not licensed).   He said he was fully compliant with all the training and experience required to be licensed but just hasn't had time to study for and take the test, claiming 6 or 3 fulltime months were just too much for him, but without acknowledging that many if not most professionals do not do full time studying for the professional exams in a way that prevents them from working and earning during the same time ---which isn't to ignore that there are cottage industries that make a great deal of money off anxious applicants who are persuaded they must.   He claimed that his coaching is the same as what Dr. Kristy Money and other mormon therapists do.    He also claims he doesn't do any psychotherapy, but in the podcast he specifically said OSF podcasts were designed to addres anxiety, depression and PTSD.   I don't know whether he is legal in Utah.  But I do know that in many states everyone who does personal counseling has to be licensed. 

The Board member's explanation of the Dr. Kristy Money pay problem seemed reasonable.   But it also doesn't fit with what she has said.   I think we would know better if JD had released the correspondence.

The explanation for why JD's wife has taken over Mormon Transitions is that she stepped in after Money left, and the listeners skyrocketed such that they determined Margy was an appropriate replacement, and she has been paid starting in May 2017.  I wondered why they didn't release the documents that say there was such a huge increase, but of course they are under no obligation to do so.

The explanation of why they did a non-profit is that it was intended to benefit those who donate.   Not the reason, but Craig also said it fit with the idea that OSF was not about making money, but about furthering a cause.  The problem with this explanation is that the IRS requires that when a donor gets some gift or benefit, the market value of that gift/benefit has to be deducted from the amount they can claim as a tax deduction.   In the OSF world this suggests that none of those paying monthly subscriptions are likely eligible for tax deduction on it --- the fact that they are willing to pay the monthly subscription rate appears to definitively make it the market value of what they get.   Only persons who donate and do not partake of the podcasts could legitimately take the deduction.   OSF doesn't have to send an acknowledgement of a donation identifying the fair market value of any thing donor gets in exchange for what the donor gives, but the donor cannot take the deduction, without such an acknowledgement for donations of more than $250 (and lots of 501(c)(3)'s send the disclosure of fair market value of benefit to all those who donate as a matter of course..  https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1771.pdf     But I do think JD's statements and OSF statements that all payments are tax deductible are at least misleading.   (OTH, maybe this is a theoretical problem because "donors" know very well they cannot buy something and expect to deduct what they paid for it, even if it is a 501(c)(3) org.)    If I were a donor who listened to OSF podcast and deducted what I paid as a charitable contribution, I'd have to be wondering if I shouldn't amend the tax return.   And I would not deduct in the future anything I paid to OSF, unless it was completely without any tangible or intangible benefit (so any of those seminars or cruises I'd have to pay for without deduction).

OSF published yesterday a 2016 financial statement, but not the late 990.   (In 2015 there was a difference in the financial statement disclosures and the 990 that was not addressed in the podcast.)   It is also still not clear how much JD is receiving.  Craig did say that JD does not approve his own expense reports.

The podcast did not address who owns the Mormon Stories podcasts either before 2015 or after.   It appears that since then, podcasts are owned by OSF, not by the podcaster who started it (which is why Dr. Money had to start a different one).

 

 

 

Edited by rpn

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Thank you for the new thread.  Much better.

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17 minutes ago, rpn said:

I just realized that this might more properly be assigned to the News section.   If mods wish to do that I have no objection.

The OP for the other thread recommend starting a new one to discuss any response.

It was a very positive podcast.

He announced that in 2015 a whole new board of directors was formed when he made OSF his life's work (info now on site, and delayed because their person who is doing the website just hasn't gotten to it).  He doesn't say how they were selected, or whether it was according to bylaws, or whether he was personal friends with any of them other than the one who also spoke on the podcast.  (He also didn't speak of who they replaced and why they left.)  He did describe the accomplishments of the board members in general terms, and the website does a little more  (IME, Board member biographies list the full names of employers and of other boards on which they sit (e.g. http://www.redcross.org/local/california/los-angeles/about-us/leadership : OSF's is not that detailed.  s the type of business involved for all but .   All together there are five, and a board secretary, including John.  (As he said in the podcast, it isn't uncommon for a CEO to also be on the Board, but it is usually as an ex-officio member or as the Board Secretary).   The Board apparently wants more board diversity (minorities and LGBTQ) and will be adding board members.   Altogether, the new information (aside from the lack of disclosure of how they were chosen, and whether the board member whose job is an angel investor was given the board seat in exchange for an infusion of revenue, and whether the Board Finance Chair (who is the personal friend and who apparently but not clearly is the one doing the financial statements and accounting for OSF) should give people reassurance that the OSF Board is being governed soundly.

JD made  a change to his personal website in which he refers to his private practice, eliminating the word "psychologist" from the credentials.  But he continues to refer to himself as a psychologist on other sites (one of which for one day, but no longer, acknowledged that he is not licensed).   He said he was fully compliant with all the training and experience required to be licensed but just hasn't had time to study for and take the test, claiming 6 or 3 fulltime months were just too much for him, but without acknowledging that many if not most professionals do not do full time studying for the professional exams in a way that prevents them from working and earning during the same time ---which isn't to ignore that there are cottage industries that make a great deal of money off anxious applicants who are persuaded they must.   He claimed that his coaching is the same as what Dr. Kristy Money and other mormon therapists do.    He also claims he doesn't do any psychotherapy, but in the podcast he specifically said OSF podcasts were designed to addres anxiety, depression and PTSD.   I don't know whether he is legal in Utah.  But I do know that in many states everyone who does personal counseling has to be licensed. 

The Board member's explanation of the Dr. Kristy Money pay problem seemed reasonable.   But it also doesn't fit with what she has said.   I think we would know better if JD had released the correspondence.

The explanation for why JD's wife has taken over Mormon Transitions is that she stepped in after Money left, and the listeners skyrocketed such that they determined Margy was an appropriate replacement, and she has been paid starting in May 2017.  I wondered why they didn't release the documents that say there was such a huge increase, but of course they are under no obligation to do so.

The explanation of why they did a non-profit is that it was intended to benefit those who donate.   Not the reason, but Craig also said it fit with the idea that OSF was not about making money, but about furthering a cause.  The problem with this explanation is that the IRS requires that when a donor gets some gift or benefit, the market value of that gift/benefit has to be deducted from the amount they can claim as a tax deduction.   In the OSF world this suggests that none of those paying monthly subscriptions are likely eligible for tax deduction on it --- the fact that they are willing to pay the monthly subscription rate appears to definitively make it the market value of what they get.   Only persons who donate and do not partake of the podcasts could legitimately take the deduction.   OSF doesn't have to send an acknowledgement of a donation identifying the fair market value of any thing donor gets in exchange for what the donor gives, but the donor cannot take the deduction, without such an acknowledgement.  https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1771.pdf     But I do think JD's statements and OSF statements that all payments are tax deductible are at least misleading.   (OTH, maybe this is a theoretical problem because "donors" know very well they cannot buy something and expect to deduct what they paid for it, even if it is a 501(c)(3) org.)    If I were a donor who listened to OSF podcast and deducted what I paid as a charitable contribution, I'd have to be wondering if I shouldn't amend the tax return.   And I would not deduct in the future anything I paid to OSF, unless it was completely without any tangible or intangible benefit (so any of those seminars or cruises I'd have to pay for without deduction).

OSF published yesterday a 2016 financial statement, but not the late 990.   (In 2015 there was a difference in the financial statement disclosures and the 990 that was not addressed in the podcast.)   It is also still not clear how much JD is receiving.  Craig did say that JD does not approve his own expense reports.

The podcast did not address who owns the Mormon Stories podcasts either before 2015 or after.   It appears that since then, podcasts are owned by OSF, not by the podcaster who started it (which is why Dr. Money had to start a different one).

 

Hmmm. I still don't see any problem with the way JD declares his PhD and "coaching" services. His explanation seems reasonable, and considering the public nature of what he does I can understand why "coaching" may be preferable to "psychotherapy" so there isn't confusion about his podcasts attempting to provide psychotherapy.

I like the podcast as it answered many questions. Your claim that there are some things we still do not know because the "lack of disclosure" seems a bit unfair as it is unlikely that every question could be addressed in this kind of format. I think it may be impossible to "disclose" everything, but they seem to be making a concerted effort to be open here.

I don't understand your criticism of accepting donations. I don't see why a monthly donation wouldn't qualify for IRS deduction simply because it is a repeat donation. Donors are not purchasing a product that is already being offered for free so they aren't restricted from listening to the product. If you have legal training or knowledge about why these donations would not be tax deductible, and that the OSF is incorrectly claiming they are, which is a fairly significant accusation, would you please provide sources.

They addressed the issue of timing of the financial statement and acknowledged that it was filed 10 days past the original deadline, but that there was a 3 month extension so the reports fall are compliant. The reasoning for the delay also seems very reasonable as he stated it was due to hiring an outside auditing firm to verify but that they had to wait until after the typical tax season so that the services were affordable for OSF which has limited funds. Still 10 days tardy, but still compliant seems reasonable, especially when they acknowledge the shortcoming and seem committed to fix that issue in the future.

Not only does JD not approve his own expense reports, his salary and bonus are decided by the compensation committee which JD is not a part of. Board members are volunteer so they are not financially tied to JD or feel any obligation to provide him compensation they don't feel is appropriate.

The board members appear to be very professional with extensive background on boards and finances. But it is a growing enterprise and they are in "start-up" mode.

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The tax problem that I see isn't for OSF, except that they claim all donations are tax deductible when it is only those that exceed the fair market value of the benefit the donor gets in return.  Anyone who is paying a monthly "subscription" to hear the podcast, is getting the podcasts as benefit (and their willingness to pay the amount, makes it the fair market value.   By all means, consult your own tax provider.

Yes, it is true that OSF says they've filed for an extension for filing the 990.  It is just curious why they can't produce one in five months after their end of financial year.

I get that some do not see a problem with how JD represents himself in his "private practice".  And JD did state that he is confident that no one he helps in those sessions misunderstands what he is doing (although he doesn't articulate how those clients would know if he ever crossed the line he acknowledges)..   I just think that he should not identify himself to potential clients as a psychologist or counsel people, when he is not a licensed counselor of any kind, even if he calls what he does "coaching".   And if I were he, I'd do the test, sooner rather than later. 

 

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Proceeding with the admission that I turned it on as background noise, I can't see where it has answered even one hard question.  

The salaries of podcasters has already been disclosed but there was no disclosure of the payment to his wife, only that she was "in training" for a few months before a salary in May. Perhaps in the most bizarre moment as they both positioned JD as ignorant of financials was the board members who was in charge of financials suddenly having a memory lapse as to whether the wife had been paid. JD quickly jumped in and said yes and gave date details. He also seemed to have a memory lapse when it came to JD's salary which JD had to correct.Very odd. That they would actually hire someone because one podcast they were on got a lot of hits is also odd...it only is understandable because it was his wife. 

This will only satisfy those who weren't asking any questions.

 

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4 minutes ago, juliann said:

Proceeding with the admission that I turned it on as background noise, I can't see where it has answered even one hard question.  

The salaries of podcasters has already been disclosed but there was no disclosure of the payment to his wife, only that she was "in training" for a few months before a salary in May. Perhaps in the most bizarre moment as they both positioned JD as ignorant of financials was the board members who was in charge of financials suddenly having a memory lapse as to whether the wife had been paid. JD quickly jumped in and said yes and gave date details. He also seemed to have a memory lapse when it came to JD's salary which JD had to correct.Very odd. That they would actually hire someone because one podcast they were on got a lot of hits is also odd...it only is understandable because it was his wife. 

This will only satisfy those who weren't asking any questions.

 

I wish Dan Witherspoon would chime in, maybe he has and I didn't see it.

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7 minutes ago, juliann said:

Perhaps in the most bizarre moment as they both positioned JD as ignorant of financials was the board members who was in charge of financials suddenly having a memory lapse as to whether the wife had been paid. JD quickly jumped in and said yes and gave date details. He also seemed to have a memory lapse when it came to JD's salary which JD had to correct.Very odd.

Not odd, if I am understanding your description of events 

 

A person's memory of the 2 checks that came into his household would be expected to be better than the memory of someone who authorizes a much larger number of payments each month. 

Edited by probablyHagoth7

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2 minutes ago, probablyHagoth7 said:

Not odd, if I am understanding your description of events 

 

A person's memory of the 2 checks that came into his household would be expected to be better than the memory of someone who authorizes a much larger number of payments each month. 

After they have made much ado about how they are lacking necessary employees because they are on a shoestring budget? After the blow up about this very matter? Seriously?

What I really would like to know after all of the excuses of what didn't get done and mistakes because of lack of staff is what JD does in all those hours he works. 

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It was troubling that the person who is giving all this financial info is someone JD called on the podcast his personal friend (apparently from before he became a board member).  OTOH, the man is in charge of auditing for a CPA firm, so he must have some professional reputation for reliability.

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16 minutes ago, juliann said:

After they have made much ado about...? After the blow up about...? Seriously?...

Seriously.

 

I was speaking to the realities of how memory works, stripped of the drama and  subjective emotions tied to other details that I won't pretend to follow

 

 

I decline to be drawn into the latter

Edited by probablyHagoth7

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28 minutes ago, probablyHagoth7 said:

Not odd, if I am understanding your description of events 

 

A person's memory of the 2 checks that came into his household would be expected to be better than the memory of someone who authorizes a much larger number of payments each month. 

The podcast itself was billed as the answer to the controversy.  People were to submit questions.  It was pretty obvious that Dehlin himself and others (such as Amy Grubbs sp? On Money's FB page) were reading in various places where these other questions were being posted.

The podcast itself was an hour and a half long.

If he was there to be the authority to answer questions and they were collecting questions to be answered, it makes it look like there was a lack of preparation and unfamiliarity involved imo (this comment about style rather than content is based off of several reports of the podcast, I may change my mind and will post as well as correct this post if I do).

There should have been notes on important points, amounts, etc. in front of him to avoid error, imo.

Edited by Calm

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1 hour ago, rpn said:

The tax problem that I see isn't for OSF, except that they claim all donations are tax deductible when it is only those that exceed the fair market value of the benefit the donor gets in return.  Anyone who is paying a monthly "subscription" to hear the podcast, is getting the podcasts as benefit (and their willingness to pay the amount, makes it the fair market value.   By all means, consult your own tax provider.

Yes, it is true that OSF says they've filed for an extension for filing the 990.  It is just curious why they can't produce one in five months after their end of financial year.

I get that some do not see a problem with how JD represents himself in his "private practice".  And JD did state that he is confident that no one he helps in those sessions misunderstands what he is doing (although he doesn't articulate how those clients would know if he ever crossed the line he acknowledges)..   I just think that he should not identify himself to potential clients as a psychologist or counsel people, when he is not a licensed counselor of any kind, even if he calls what he does "coaching".   And if I were he, I'd do the test, sooner rather than later. 

 

do you have to pay to listen to the podcasts?

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I watched it yesterday in pieces when I had some breaks. I'm pretty sure my bias did not help my listening of it because I wasn't super impressed. Considering the gravity of some of the concerns that I saw brought up by people, the format itself was a bit off putting. I was expecting more of an earnest q&a with direct responses. I prefer more forward and direct approaches to things like that. I also found it off-putting, since Dehlin placed himself as partial interviewer to another board member and went about this in a query sort of way which gave this weird dissonance of him both playing the role of someone more outside or distant from the board....while showing that he was also on the board and probably knows the board and how its managed best....particularly since he's the one who created it. 

Again, considering some of the concerns I saw being brought up, parts of the discussion felt tone deaf. For example, I had read varying concerns about catering to more privileged and wealthier demographics and not giving greater ear and outreach to populations that were less likely to afford OSF events (I hadn't read everything everywhere). But the first several minutes were focused on OSF successes including pulling in event revenue for the first time and holding events in areas that were more likely to cater to wealthier, whiter, and richer demographics. 

The diversity concerns felt empty. Acknowledging it was a problem....and they want to do more for their board demographics. There was still an irony of being said proponents for minority concerns (women and LGBT, specifically) with their board makeup. Yes, they stated they wanted more and I don't doubt they do. I also thought it generally ignored the other concerns particularly about how women were being treated. 

The financial info they covered, and I am no expert on. Business is not my forte. But from what I read elsewhere before this, there didn't seem to be a lot of new ground covered. This I could be completely wrong on and would be willing to say such.

The coaching thing sounds like a joke. He's differentiation between the two is ludicrous. I don't mean that to be exaggerative. As a therapist, we do what he says is mostly the "coaching" field all the time in therapy. All. The. Time. And it was inconsistent, as RPN stated, with other things he's bragged stated about helping people with varying emotional disorders. I don't know what the clinical/counseling psych test entails, but when I looked it is, it seems to have similar credentials to the MFT testing. It did not take 6 months full time of studying to prep for that. I couldn't afford to do that. I studied maybe several hours a week for a couple months and probably overstudied. PhD programs are also usually invested in preparing their students for such examination adequately because if their students fail, it can effect their accreditation. I'm not saying that what he's doing is illegal or anything. It isn't. But the differentiation is minimal in what he's doing. But he's doing that without licensing, CEU's (continuing education), and regulatory processes....and other things that maintain your practice.  

I could say more....but I'm headed to a festival.

 

With luv,

BD 

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2 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

 

I don't understand your criticism of accepting donations. I don't see why a monthly donation wouldn't qualify for IRS deduction simply because it is a repeat donation. Donors are not purchasing a product that is already being offered for free so they aren't restricted from listening to the product. If you have legal training or knowledge about why these donations would not be tax deductible, and that the OSF is incorrectly claiming they are, which is a fairly significant accusation, would you please provide sources.

 

As a tax professional with legal training, as long as the podcasts or open for anyone to download, whenever they want and are not restricted to a donee, then I believe that the donations should be tax deductible. If there is some sort of pay to play involved, then there should be a 990-T filed to report unrelated business income.

as far as not filing the 990, it is typical for the 990s to not be filed until November (for calendar year organizations). They are not due until may 15th and can be extended until November 15th.  Since there is usually no tax owed, then there isn't much of a hurry and many tax professionals (myself included) postpone them to a time when they are less busy.   Small non profits are also notorious for bad book keeping (they are usually run by volunteers who always have something better to do).

If most of the money of an organization is funneled to a single individual, there could be an accusation of private benefit and the non profit status could be jeopardized, but  usually, as long as you pay the taxes on all of the individuals benefit (to the extent that it is taxable) then you usually won't have a problem with the IRS.  The IRS has currently very few resources devoted to auditing of a non profit's exempt status, most of the audits are devoted to employment tax issues.

 

 

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33 minutes ago, Danzo said:

do you have to pay to listen to the podcasts?

When I write about the tax situation, I think so.  There is a login required to access different content.  And I recall years ago JD announcing that podcast access would require a monthly subscription, but would at some point be open for all.    But as I looked at his site after reading your post, I cannot find anything about donating to specific podcasts.   So maybe my info is out of date?  (In which case the tax issue related to podcasts would disappear (though it would still apply for seminar registrations and cruises).

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That was interesting to hear someone say they couldn't take a vital test because they would have to study, especially when he has a reputation for not putting any research to interview people. Now that I am retired, I still keep up my credentials and it requires yearly professional CEUs which are a pain in the neck.  And there are yearly licensing and credentialing fees. Theoretically, being licensed gives the consumer protection, someone to complain to, etc. So it really isn't all about him as he is making it out to be. He is not protecting his clients. But to justify counseling without calling it counseling by offering up a licensed psychologist who "coaches" to justify being an unlicensed psychologist who coaches is especially weird. Tone deaf is a good word for it. 

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1 hour ago, rpn said:

It was troubling that the person who is giving all this financial info is someone JD called on the podcast his personal friend (apparently from before he became a board member).  OTOH, the man is in charge of auditing for a CPA firm, so he must have some professional reputation for reliability.

I don't find that surprising. Small non profits are going to reach out to the people they know and trust...and it takes someone already invested in what you are doing to put in that kind of un/low unpaid time. The activist Mormonish community is small. 

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14 minutes ago, rpn said:

When I write about the tax situation, I think so.  There is a login required to access different content.  And I recall years ago JD announcing that podcast access would require a monthly subscription, but would at some point be open for all.    But as I looked at his site after reading your post, I cannot find anything about donating to specific podcasts.   So maybe my info is out of date?  (In which case the tax issue related to podcasts would disappear (though it would still apply for seminar registrations and cruises).

Money for  seminar registration and cruises would have to exceed the fair market value for it to be tax deductible.

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3 hours ago, rpn said:

The tax problem that I see isn't for OSF, except that they claim all donations are tax deductible when it is only those that exceed the fair market value of the benefit the donor gets in return.  Anyone who is paying a monthly "subscription" to hear the podcast, is getting the podcasts as benefit (and their willingness to pay the amount, makes it the fair market value.   By all means, consult your own tax provider.

.......................................................

HappyJack is probably correct that monthly donations to a free podcast cannot be diminished by the FMV of any supposed subscription.  The FMV is only applied to extras, such coffee mugs, tee-shirts, books, CDs, and the like.  That is the way that premium gifts for donations to npr are handled.  Monthly donations may be deducted in full.  The IRS has never had a problem with that, unless gifts are received, and the donation is then diminished by the FMV of that gift.

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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4 hours ago, rpn said:

I just realized that this might more properly be assigned to the News section.   If mods wish to do that I have no objection.

The OP for the other thread recommend starting a new one to discuss any response.

It was a very positive podcast.

He announced that in 2015 a whole new board of directors was formed when he made OSF his life's work (info now on site, and delayed because their person who is doing the website just hasn't gotten to it).  He doesn't say how they were selected, or whether it was according to bylaws, or whether he was personal friends with any of them other than the one who also spoke on the podcast.  (He also didn't speak of who they replaced and why they left.)  He did describe the accomplishments of the board members in general terms, and the website does a little more  (IME, Board member biographies list the full names of employers and of other boards on which they sit (e.g. http://www.redcross.org/local/california/los-angeles/about-us/leadership : OSF's is not that detailed.  s the type of business involved for all but .   All together there are five, and a board secretary, including John.  (As he said in the podcast, it isn't uncommon for a CEO to also be on the Board, but it is usually as an ex-officio member or as the Board Secretary).   The Board apparently wants more board diversity (minorities and LGBTQ) and will be adding board members.   Altogether, the new information (aside from the lack of disclosure of how they were chosen, and whether the board member whose job is an angel investor was given the board seat in exchange for an infusion of revenue, and whether the Board Finance Chair (who is the personal friend and who apparently but not clearly is the one doing the financial statements and accounting for OSF) should give people reassurance that the OSF Board is being governed soundly.

JD made  a change to his personal website in which he refers to his private practice, eliminating the word "psychologist" from the credentials.  But he continues to refer to himself as a psychologist on other sites (one of which for one day, but no longer, acknowledged that he is not licensed).   He said he was fully compliant with all the training and experience required to be licensed but just hasn't had time to study for and take the test, claiming 6 or 3 fulltime months were just too much for him, but without acknowledging that many if not most professionals do not do full time studying for the professional exams in a way that prevents them from working and earning during the same time ---which isn't to ignore that there are cottage industries that make a great deal of money off anxious applicants who are persuaded they must.   He claimed that his coaching is the same as what Dr. Kristy Money and other mormon therapists do.    He also claims he doesn't do any psychotherapy, but in the podcast he specifically said OSF podcasts were designed to addres anxiety, depression and PTSD.   I don't know whether he is legal in Utah.  But I do know that in many states everyone who does personal counseling has to be licensed. 

The Board member's explanation of the Dr. Kristy Money pay problem seemed reasonable.   But it also doesn't fit with what she has said.   I think we would know better if JD had released the correspondence.

The explanation for why JD's wife has taken over Mormon Transitions is that she stepped in after Money left, and the listeners skyrocketed such that they determined Margy was an appropriate replacement, and she has been paid starting in May 2017.  I wondered why they didn't release the documents that say there was such a huge increase, but of course they are under no obligation to do so.

The explanation of why they did a non-profit is that it was intended to benefit those who donate.   Not the reason, but Craig also said it fit with the idea that OSF was not about making money, but about furthering a cause.  The problem with this explanation is that the IRS requires that when a donor gets some gift or benefit, the market value of that gift/benefit has to be deducted from the amount they can claim as a tax deduction.   In the OSF world this suggests that none of those paying monthly subscriptions are likely eligible for tax deduction on it --- the fact that they are willing to pay the monthly subscription rate appears to definitively make it the market value of what they get.   Only persons who donate and do not partake of the podcasts could legitimately take the deduction.   OSF doesn't have to send an acknowledgement of a donation identifying the fair market value of any thing donor gets in exchange for what the donor gives, but the donor cannot take the deduction, without such an acknowledgement for donations of more than $250 (and lots of 501(c)(3)'s send the disclosure of fair market value of benefit to all those who donate as a matter of course..  https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1771.pdf     But I do think JD's statements and OSF statements that all payments are tax deductible are at least misleading.   (OTH, maybe this is a theoretical problem because "donors" know very well they cannot buy something and expect to deduct what they paid for it, even if it is a 501(c)(3) org.)    If I were a donor who listened to OSF podcast and deducted what I paid as a charitable contribution, I'd have to be wondering if I shouldn't amend the tax return.   And I would not deduct in the future anything I paid to OSF, unless it was completely without any tangible or intangible benefit (so any of those seminars or cruises I'd have to pay for without deduction).

OSF published yesterday a 2016 financial statement, but not the late 990.   (In 2015 there was a difference in the financial statement disclosures and the 990 that was not addressed in the podcast.)   It is also still not clear how much JD is receiving.  Craig did say that JD does not approve his own expense reports.

The podcast did not address who owns the Mormon Stories podcasts either before 2015 or after.   It appears that since then, podcasts are owned by OSF, not by the podcaster who started it (which is why Dr. Money had to start a different one).

Representing that ANYTHING is "tax deductible" is a pretty hazardous game to play without some pretty heavy disclaimers attached.  Doing so without sending documents out at the end of the year showing the amount contributed and the purpose - as for example the church does on tithes and offerings- makes things even more hazardous for the contributor.

You almost always see or hear something like "This contribution may be tax deductible, but consult a tax expert for further information" from legitimate charities.

And the 501c3 must have some pretty rigorous accounting in place to keep track of all this, and I don't think I am seeing enough staff in this organization, even as unpaid volunteers, to come close to what would be required to do that.

For people who do not itemize deductions, essentially no contributions to charity are deductible because they choose not to document them on their tax returns, but some might contribute in ignorance not realizing that they themselves must take the action to even get the deduction assuming it is legal in the first place.

Another common misconception is that if you have a $100 contribution to a charity which is deductible, you will be able to deduct $100. from your taxes, which is of course not so.

If your income is, say $50,000 and you make that $100 contribution, all that deduction actually means is that IF you itemize your deductions, your taxable income now becomes $49,900. instead of 50k.  The difference that contribution actually makes on your taxes may be nil.

So everyone likes the idea that something might be "deductible" and it is a great incentive for some people to contribute, even ASSUMING that the deduction is legitimate, which it may or may not be in this case, but the actual benefit of the contribution is very likely to be minimal or non-existent especially for small contributions.

All of which is a long way of saying "If you are contributing to this organization to save taxes, fergitaboutit" ;)

There are much better ways of doing that.

 

Edited by mfbukowski

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28 minutes ago, Danzo said:

If most of the money of an organization is funneled to a single individual, there could be an accusation of private benefit and the non profit status could be jeopardized, but  usually, as long as you pay the taxes on all of the individuals benefit (to the extent that it is taxable) then you usually won't have a problem with the IRS.  The IRS has currently very few resources devoted to auditing of a non profit's exempt status, most of the audits are devoted to employment tax issues.

This answers one of my obsessed questions, thanks.

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1 hour ago, juliann said:

That was interesting to hear someone say they couldn't take a vital test because they would have to study, especially when he has a reputation for not putting any research to interview people. Now that I am retired, I still keep up my credentials and it requires yearly professional CEUs which are a pain in the neck.  And there are yearly licensing and credentialing fees. Theoretically, being licensed gives the consumer protection, someone to complain to, etc. So it really isn't all about him as he is making it out to be. He is not protecting his clients. But to justify counseling without calling it counseling by offering up a licensed psychologist who "coaches" to justify being an unlicensed psychologist who coaches is especially weird. Tone deaf is a good word for it. 

I have taken a whole bunch of licensing tests in my time for insurance licenses, stock broker licenses, (multiple), real estate broker licenses, professional designations etc. and of course, yes, I took the pre-testing "cram" courses.

But there is nothing in those cram courses that you are not supposed to already know from your education.  And then as you say you have the continuing education requirements etc and license renewal tests as well.   But the longer I am in these kinds of businesses (also now retired nominally but technically still practicing occasionally) the material gets repetitive and the need for further study diminishes to zero, in my experience.

Once you KNOW the stuff you know it!   Yes you have to keep up with the new stuff, fine, but that is really all a part of being in the "business" whatever your field is.   You can't counsel a client if you don't know your stuff.

So for me, if he has to take off all that time to brush up, he doesn't know what he is doing anyway and should not hold himself out as a professional in his "business" whatever it is.

A quick brush up is one thing especially if you are new to the field- fine.  But if you are THAT far behind you have no business holding yourself out as even BEING in that profession, not even to mention the fact that it is illegal to do so.

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3 hours ago, probablyHagoth7 said:

Not odd, if I am understanding your description of events 

A person's memory of the 2 checks that came into his household would be expected to be better than the memory of someone who authorizes a much larger number of payments each month. 

I think you would have a point if the organization was large with many employees on the payroll.  However, we are talking about the CEO and his wife.  If this fellow is the financial expert for the company - the CFO - then it is very strange that they are not aware of these major cash outflows in a non-profit on a stringent budget. 

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47 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

I have taken a whole bunch of licensing tests in my time for insurance licenses, stock broker licenses, (multiple), real estate broker licenses, professional designations etc. and of course, yes, I took the pre-testing "cram" courses.

But there is nothing in those cram courses that you are not supposed to already know from your education.  And then as you say you have the continuing education requirements etc and license renewal tests as well.   But the longer I am in these kinds of businesses (also now retired nominally but technically still practicing occasionally) the material gets repetitive and the need for further study diminishes to zero, in my experience.

Once you KNOW the stuff you know it!   Yes you have to keep up with the new stuff, fine, but that is really all a part of being in the "business" whatever your field is.   You can't counsel a client if you don't know your stuff.

So for me, if he has to take off all that time to brush up, he doesn't know what he is doing anyway and should not hold himself out as a professional in his "business" whatever it is.

A quick brush up is one thing especially if you are new to the field- fine.  But if you are THAT far behind you have no business holding yourself out as even BEING in that profession, not even to mention the fact that it is illegal to do so.

Given the decades that have passed since I graduated, I suspect I would have a very hard time passing the test now without significant study. A lot has changed. But it all begs the question as to the meaning of licensing. It is to protect the consumer. In my state that is kind of a joke because the licensing board has no money to be very scary. But what it does have is rules and a code of ethics. So by getting a license, the practitioner is pledging that s/he is adhering to the rules.  

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23 minutes ago, juliann said:

Given the decades that have passed since I graduated, I suspect I would have a very hard time passing the test now without significant study. A lot has changed. But it all begs the question as to the meaning of licensing. It is to protect the consumer. In my state that is kind of a joke because the licensing board has no money to be very scary. But what it does have is rules and a code of ethics. So by getting a license, the practitioner is pledging that s/he is adhering to the rules.  

Good point- that is exactly it; at least it gives some basis for going after practitioners who have messed up either intentionally or unintentionally 

But in California, at least in Real Estate as one example, if one is in the business long enough, one actually becomes exempted from continuing education requirements and there are no license renewal requirements which seems to make your point perfectly.

Quote

 

Pursuant to Business and Professions (B&P) Code Section 10170.8 Denotes a PDF document., real estate licensees who submit satisfactory evidence to the Commissioner that they are 70 years of age or older and have been "licensees in good standing" for 30 continuous years in California are exempt from the continuing education requirements for license renewal.

A "licensee in good standing" is one who holds an active license which has not been suspended, revoked or restricted as a result of disciplinary action.

 

http://www.dre.ca.gov/licensees/CEExemption.html

The demonstration of a track record and high experience level virtually takes away licensing requirements except for the reasons you have cited- consumer protection.

The idea that one should be competent in one's skills is no longer seen an issue.  But of course that differs in other states or other professional licenses.

But don't ask me how I know about this exemption though. :)

 

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