SMTB as an organization
From 2017, SMTB has been operating as a non-profit corporation registered in Delaware, USA, recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a charitable educational 501(c)(3) organization. The registration in Delaware and the federal 501c3 status allows us to most effectively fulfill our mission with minimal administrative and financial burdens, while maintaining a high level of transparency to the relevant stakeholders: out students and their parents, as well as faculty and managers of SMTB. 501(c)(3) organizations in the USA receive substantial tax privileges in exchange for certain restrictions in our activities and requirements for publically accessible reporting of our activities. We hope that the ability for the public to scrutinize our activities, coupled with the requirement to perform only the activities that are in accordance with our 501(c)(3) status, will allow us to maintain the high level of public trust that has formed in the course of the first five years of SMBT’s existence.
The Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws are available in the Documents section of our website. Yearly tax returns are available upon request. A 501(c)(3) corporation is the most common form of registration for non-profit organizations in the USA. Here, we describe the advantages and limitations of 501(c)(3) charities, including those that are derived from our own Bylaws.
Main principles of SMTB
The primary specific mission of SMTB is to organize a summer school that is based on hands-on, authentic research style of education, and for the continuing support of alumni and faculty.
SMTB is the yearly summer school that is now organized by the School of Molecular and Theoretical Biology, Inc., which administers the summer project.
The Board of Directors governs all issues associated with SMTB, Inc. The education program is defined and organized by a separate Executive Council.
The Board of Directors appoints members of the Executive Council, however, members of the Board may also serve on the Executive Council.
The Board of Directors controls SMTB, Inc., as a legal body, assuming responsibilities for the search of funding, balancing the budget, and filing appropriate legal documentation with relevant controlling bodies.
The Executive Council governs SMTB as a school, including the selection of students and faculty, and any other issues pertaining to the actual operation of the school.
The Board of Directors cannot interfere with specific issues of SMTB school operation in a specific year. If the Directors decide that the school year was not executed to their satisfaction, they can replace any or all members of the Executive Council. However, the Board of Directors cannot interfere with specific decisions in the course of school preparation or execution. This limitation is applicable when the Board and the Executive Council are staffed by different people.
Main limitations and transparency of SMTB, Inc.
SMTB, Inc. is a corporation, or an organization that is governed by a Board of Directors. SMTB Inc. cannot issue stocks.
According to our Bylaws, members of the Board are prohibited from receiving remuneration or payment for their services, including when they perform any duties as an officer, manager, or employee of SMTB, Inc. The Board members can claim reimbursement of reasonable costs incurred on behalf of SMTB, Inc.
The primary activity of SMTB, Inc. is the support of educational and scientific activities.
SMTB, Inc. cannot do anything that would further the private benefit of any individuals.
While acting on behalf of SMTB, members of the SMTB Board or SMTB employees cannot engage in political activities or lobbying, including any activities aimed at changing existing legislature.
SMTB, Inc. is required to make the Bylaws and the last five years of tax returns publically available on our website at http://molbioschool.com/en/about/docs-en.html. Tax returns are publically available upon request.
If SMTB, Inc. is dissolved, all its assets must be transferred to another charitable 501(c)(3) organization that supports science and science education.
The Board of Directors
Chairman of the Board: Fyodor Kondrashov
Vice-Chairman of the Board: Dmitry Kokorin
Secretary and Treasurer: Olga Lavut
Member of the Board: Anna Piotrovskaya
Advantages of 501(c)(3) status
In selecting the type of registration for SMTB as on organization, it was important to us to minimize the administrative and financial burdens associated with maintaining a legal entity. At present, all organizers of SMTB have other occupations, so it was important for us not to spend too much time on administrative issues. After considering a variety of options, we selected to register SMTB as a charitable 501(c)(3) corporation in Delaware, USA. This solution provides us with an optimal combination of various factors, including a low administrative burden, high flexibility of operation, and tax-exempt status while maintaining a high level of control by the IRS and public scrutiny.
Low administrative burden
After a lengthy procedure of registering our organization in Delaware and with the IRS, our reporting requirements are confined to two types of actions. When we employ US citizens or tax residents, we must make monthly social security payments. Each year we also must fill out a tax return form, which includes a description of all our programs, income, and expenditures. Furthermore, in the tax return we also report that we have not violated any of the legal limitations placed on our organization, including the lack of political activities or not using our organization for private gain. We also must report how we followed our non-discrimination policy and how we spend our funds to further the mission of our organization. Our report to the State of Delaware consists of forwarding our federal tax return. In case we modify or amend our Bylaws, we must report all changes to the IRS and the Treasurer of the State of Delaware, which make sure that the changes do not violate our obligations as a charitable501(c)(3) organization.
Financial advantages of 501(c)(3) status
Because SMTB, Inc. is a charitable 501(c)(3) organization incorporated in Delaware, USA, we receive substantial advantages at the local, state, and federal levels. Delaware has no sales tax (added value tax), furthermore, charitable organizations are exempt from all other state taxes. As a 501(c)(3) organization, SMTB, Inc. is also exempt from federal taxes. Therefore, when we receive donations from our supporters, we do not lose money to taxes. Instead we can use the donations we receive to further our mission of advancing authentic research education.
Charitable 501(c)(3) organizations in the USA have another substantial advantage. Tax residents of the USA can deduct the donation they make to SMTB, Inc., and other 501(c)(3) charities, from their own income on personal tax returns. In other words, any resident of the USA can reduce the federal income tax owed by donating to 501(c)(3) charities. We hope that many of the Russian-born, and other, scientists living and working in the USA would consider donating to our cause.
Flexibility of operation
SMTB functions internationally. Each year we open our doors to students and faculty that live and work in more than a dozen different countries. So far, SMTB has operated in Russia and Spain, and we are always happy to consider new platforms for our operation. In selecting the legal format of our registration, it was important for us not to have substantial restrictions on which country we can operate in. As a 501(c)(3) charity, we can function internationally. Our only restriction In that case is that we must follow the local laws of operation for our activities, including the receipt of local licenses and permissions.