I am receiving some excellent feedback, so please bear with me while I give more details on the entire concept - as I am starting to think it may not be feasible without cooperation from the family?
A great friend and couple's family is facing extreme economic hardship. A group of us would like to establish an online fund and ask for donations on their behalf. I planned to open the fund and then send an e-mail out to a couple hundred family and friends directing them to the website over a period of time - say two months. When the period of time is over, we would like to transfer the total funds to the family anonymously.
- If it was not anonymous, we feel they may not accept it.
- Also, if I collected the monies personally in my bank account and avoided a donation site, which we hope will be over $20K, then I would have to claim the monies as income is my understanding and I can't do that and pay taxes on it. Similarly, I could not cash out the monies from the donation account and then send it anonymously via cashiers check, as it would still flow thru my bank account and look like I made the donation and be subject to gift tax?
- I don't think the recipients need to worry about the monies being taxable to them as income as it is a gift. But still the aggregate amount would be higher than the gift tax ceiling, so even that may need to be established? I think gifts are ok under a certain amount ($13-14K?)
So a key question is whether any of these donation assistance sites will assist us by closing the account and sending a cashiers check from the site itself? Again, we wish this to be anonymous.
Also since it would be an anonymous gift, we would want to avoid sending a large sum of cash in an envelope if we did collect it externally from a website.
Note: This would not be set up as a 501c charitable organization and would not qualify as such.
p.s. We are in the state of Illinois in the U.S.