Gaining Tax-exempt status

UPDATE July 1 2014

The IRS has released a streamlined form 1023, called 1023-EZ. The narrative contained in this post may no longer be required.

Before we send off the tax-exempt form we present it here for peer/member review along with attachments below. Please look over what you can and send in you proposed changes to 10bitworks+boardofdirectors at gmail dot com

Other pertinent information

 AP-207 Texas State Exemption for Education Orgs
 10Bit Brochure

 Download our partially filled out IRS Form 1023 – Tax-exempt Application

A good reference external to the IRS for this application can be found at


Part II, Line 1
 Download 10Bitworks-Hackerspace-Certificate of Formation
Part II, Line 5
 Download Bylaws
Part IV
UPDATE 22 Feb 2013: added changes from Matt Grooms. Thanks, Matt!Good reference for this section here

A. Introduction. 10BitWorks HackerSpace (“10bitworks”) was incorporated as a nonprofit in the State of Texas on October 11, 2011. A true and correct copy of 10bitworks’ articles of incorporation, certified by the Texas Secretary of State, and a copy of its Bylaws are attached. 10bitworks is located in Postal Zip Code 78210, District 3 of San Antonio, TX, Bexar County. According to American Fact Finder, the U.S. Census Bureau’s online portal for community-specific information, as of 20 Feb 2013, zip code 78210 has a population of 9,904 persons 3 years or older enrolled in school of which 20.4% are enrolled in college or graduate school. This is less than the 26.7% of the same representative population in Bexar County. Zip code 78210 has a population of 23,397 persons 25 years or older. Of this population, 19.9% have attended some college, 5.8% earned an Associate’s degree, 6.6% a bachelor’s degree, and 3.9% a graduate or professional degree. All four figures are less than the same representative population of Bexar County at 23.9%, 7.1%, 16.4%, and 9.1%, respectively.

sources (retrieved Feb 20, 2013): and

B. Background. 10bitworks is one of many active, independent spaces worldwide commonly referred to as a hackerspace. Typical of other hackerspaces, 10bitworks can be described as a garage-lab environment incorporating elements of a classroom, a computer lab, fabrication lab, machine shop, woodshop, and art studio where hobbyists, amateur engineers, artists, and the curious can gather to share resources and knowledge in making their own creations whether practical or experimental. Hackerspaces pride themselves on obtaining equipment that one might otherwise not be able to store at home due to size, environmental factors, or deed-restrictions. The diverse membership of 10bitworks consists of FCC licensed radio operators, teachers, video and board game designers, mixed media artists, machinists, computer programmers, NASA engineers, embedded systems engineers, and college students.

C. Exempt Purpose. The exempt purpose of 10bitworks is to serve the general public, particularly in San Antonio, Texas, by undertaking activities to (1) Provide access to otherwise inaccessible resources such as tools of the electronics and computer science fields; (2) Mentoring and training in the use of these tools; and (3) Promoting applications of the engineering, science, design, and art domains towards the education and general benefit of the local community.

D. Key Activities. 10bitworks has, does, and will continue to engage in the following key activities in support of the local community:

(1) Public community workshops emphasizing a hands-on approach. 10bitworks members are encouraged to conduct these workshops but non-member individuals and organizations may conduct a workshop at 10bitworks hackerspace as well. Community workshops are normally held Saturdays/Sundays during open house hours, but alternately may be scheduled for other part of the week. All workshops are open for enrollment to the general public providing access to otherwise inaccessible resources as described in C(1) above for the local community . No priority is given to members for enrollment but members in good standing do receive a 20% discount on any enrollment fees. Should the workshop require materials and cost, the activity can be funded by one or more of the following: student enrollment fees, donations, and/or grants.

(2) Technical library. 10bitworks maintains a free lending library covering a wide variety of topics including computer programming, computer theory, computer repair, college-level mathematics, physics, electronics, circuit design, and microcontrollers. 10bitworks members are responsible for keeping the books on the shelves and available for use. The library is available during normal operating hours. The library augments training of technical tools as described in C(2) above and promotes applications towards the benefit of the local community as described in C(3) above. Books of the library are all donated by members and the general public.

(3) Free 24/7 Wireless Internet Access. Wireless internet access is provided through-out the building of 10bitworks hackerspace. Internet access, like the technical book library, augments the training of tools available at 10bitworks but also provides information not sourced by 10bitworks. This activity is funded by member fees.

(4) Computer and Electronics Lab Equipment. 10BitWorks makes available to the public some computer and electronic laboratory equipment and can assist/educate the public to it’s use subject to member operator availability. The available equipment includes, but is not limited to: wired/wireless network analyzer, digital logic analyzer, oscilloscope, frequency counter, waveform generator, mutimeter, bench power supply, isolation transformer, variAC, RF signal probe, antenna analyzer, etc.

(5) Machine Shop Equipment. 10BitWorks makes available to the public some power tools and shop equipment and can assist/educate the public to it’s use subject to member operator availability. The available equipment includes, but is not limited to: drill press, hand drill, Skill saw, table saw, saws-all, bench grinder, pipe bender, air compressor, welding equipment, etc.

(6) Facilitate Multi-discipline knowledge and skills exchange

(7) Public gathering space

E. Specific Undertakings. 10bitworks has, does, and will continue the following specific activities and others to be planned later to carry out the activities described in D(1) through D(7) above.

10bitworks has held workshops on the following topics: aquaponics, open-source 3D graphics software, the Python programming language, 3D printers, the popular, open-source Arduino microcontroller board, Propellor microcontroller, vacuum tubes, Chiptune music production, Homebrew beer, Board-game design, soldering, a 6-week welding class series, Linux Pro Audio, basic synthesizers and waveforms, and amateur radio license study sessions.

The arduino class is documented online in the 10bitworks’ wiki at the following URL:

The welding class series is documented online in the 10bitworks’ wiki at the following URL:

Documentation of the soldering class we had planned is documented online but we ultimately went with an open-source soldering kit from due to restrictions on time and money.

10bitworks collaborated with an artist in Luminaria 2012, an arts festival held in San Antonio, TX. The art installation consisted of eight wearable, radio-controlled RGB LED t-shirts and is documented online at the 10bitworks’ wiki at the following URL:

10BitWorks runs a weekly amateur radio net on a local UHF/VHF repeater. The radio net serves as an open discussion forum covering technical interests and public service opportunities across Bexar County. It is open to all license amateur radio operators. This radio net is documented online in the 10bitworks’ wiki at the following URL:

10bitworks is working on reproducing the past classes for a second year along with new classes on Linux administration, basic and advanced electronics, screen press printing, computer systems penetration testing, bicycle maintenance, and arts and crafts using re-used materials.

10bitworks plans to raise funds for the following future needs:

  • At least 3 months of rent buffer
  • 4×8 CNC machine with swappable heads
  • Industrial Shelving
  • Regular Workshops and Classes
  • Machining and Electronics Lab Equipment

A Promotional Brochure describing our activities can be found online at the following URL:

10bitworks’ activities outside of holding classes and workshops have been documented by local journalists and bloggers. Here are a few samples:

Benchmark Brands Blog

The official 10Bitworks’ slogan “COME AND MAKE IT” ultimately sums up their mission. People are welcome to come and utilize the space and the tools available to tinker as they please.

10BitWorks Hackerspace “is dedicated to providing the tools, space and intellectual community necessary to facilitate exploration in the world of gadgets, gizmos and just about anything else one can dream up.” (link) (Luminaria 2012 coverage)

Among the more eye-catching groups was a cluster of 13 folks from, all outfitted in matching, illuminated T-shirts depicting a scuba diver amongst jellyfish. Jeremy Zunker carried a tablet with which he could control the patterns that lit up the shirts.

Part V, Line 3a
Name, role – (Qualifications, hours worked, duties)
Nick Borko, Secretary – Computer programmer, 8 hours per week,
Chris Hardee, Treasurer – Computer programmer, 8 hours per week, finances
Mike Perez, President – Computer programmer, 8 hours per week, web master
Fredik Safstrom, Chair – IT Admin, 8 hours per week, electronic toy master
Kieth Wilbur, Vice Chair – Residential Internet installer, 8 hours per week, networks
Jeremy Zunker, Officer – Licensed Amateur Radio operator, 8 hours per week, Electronics mentor and photo historian

Part V, line 5b
Proposed Conflict on Interest Statement
Part V, line 7b
10BitWorks offers workshops and classes. Sometimes these classes require a student fee to offset costs of materials. Paying members receive a 20% discount on such classes. As outlined in the Certificate of Formation, 10BitWorks is governed by its members and not by a board. Officers are paying members tasked with specific duties concerning the day-to-day operations. Officers receive the same discount offered to any other paying member.
Part VI, line 1a
We provide goods and services to individuals. Paying members receive a 20% discount on these goods and services. We provide classes, class materials, internet access, a technical book library, and access to electronics and tools.
Part VI, line 1b
We provide the same services and goods to organizations as we do for individuals (see Part VI, line 1a) at full price.
Part VI, line 2
Certain services are provided strictly only to paying members as incentives to join. These services include: Access to 10bitworks beyond the designated weekly “open house” day, on-site storage, opportunities to join in group orders in order to save on shipping and attempts at volume discounting. At the time of this writing Saturday is designated as our weekly “open house” day.
Part VIII, line 4a
Mail Solicitations – We have several active members who are licensed Amateur radio operators who run a weekly radio net round-table on technical topics on the local repeaters run by the Alamo Area Repeater Organization (AARO). We get a lot of feedback from radio operators for more information about 10BitWorks HackerSpace and its activities. We would like to use Amateur radio operator mailing addresses obtained from open, public domain sources, such as, to reach out to the local ham radio community to let them know of upcoming events and membership drives, and to solicit monetary and equipment donations.E-Mail Solicitations – Time to time we require some unforeseen, immediate funds, such as fees for filing IRS forms. We solicit funds from our own mailing-list.Accept Donations on our website – In our e-mail solicitations (see above) we point the recipients to a page on our website where they can donate money. At times, we may also provide an online form for equipment donations.

Government Grant Solicitations – It is the intent of 10BitWorks hackerspace to gain Tax-Exempt status in order to solicit significant funds through grants in order to reduce our dependence on membership fees. 10BitWorks hackerspace intends to apply for inclusion in the list of verified non-profits and apply for grants through DARPA, NASA, and other government programs as applicable.

Foundation Grant Solicitations – It is the intent of 10BitWorks hackerspace to gain Tax-Exempt status in order to solicit significant funds through grants in order to reduce our dependence on membership fees. 10BitWorks hackerspace intends to apply for inclusion in the list of verified non-profits and apply for grants through Impact San Antonio, Kronkosky, and other foundations as applicable.

Part VIII, line 4d
We will conduct our own fundraising in the state of Texas in Bexar County.
Part VIII, line 10
10bitWorks hackerspace will not publish, own, or have rights to any intellectual property other than that which has been contributed by donors. It is not the intent of 10BitWorks Hackerspace to keep knowledge to itself. Each member is free to choose how they wish will handle their intellectual property developed using resources of 10BitWorks Hackerspace.
Part VIII, line 11
10BitWorks will gladly accept donations of real property and intellectual property that can be used to generate funds for rent, workshops, or resources.
Part VIII, line 15
Spare Parts Studio is an organization in San Antonio, TX that funnels donated art supplies to art teachers and students in the San Antonio area. At times, Spare Parts holds workshops to demonstrate the use of these donated art materials. 10bitworks offers physical space for these workshops at no cost in return for the opportunity to foster collaborations between artists and technologists.
Certain documents will need to be provided to show proof of income etc.Gross Receipts…

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