Intellectual Property Charitable Donations

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) imposes additional reporting requirements on colleges and universities that receive intellectual property donations.

How does a college or university know when they have received an intellectual property charitable contribution?

The college or university must receive written notification from the donor that they plan to treat the gift as a qualified intellectual property contribution. If the college or university does not receive this notification from the donor, then the college or university should simply provide the same noncash charitable acknowledgment that it normally would provide to the donor (i.e., no additional IRS reporting required). If the institution does receive written notification from the donor that they intend to treat this as an intellectual property contribution, then promptly contact Tax Services at (612) 548-2043 for assistance in meeting college or university IRS reporting requirements.

What is "intellectual property" for this purpose?

Intellectual property includes the following: patent, copyright (other than a copyright described in IRC Section 1221(a)(3) or 1231(b)(1)(C), trademark, trade name, trade secret, know-how, software (other than software described in IRC Section 197(e)(3)(A)(i)), or applications or registrations of such property.

We reiterate that it is the donor's responsibility to provide written notification of the intent to treat the gift as an intellectual property donation to the college or university. If the institution receives a noncash donation with which it wonders if it might qualify as an "intellectual property" donation (and the donor did not provide the required written notification discussed above), please contact Tax Services for assistance.

If you have questions or comments please e-mail us at Tax Services or refer to the staff directory link at the top of this page for additional contact information.