We have found more information out, it does seem that we can get it resolved but don’t know exactly how long it will take. Over 200,000 organizations had the same thing happen to them so a lot has been written about it.
This notice provides transitional relief for certain small organizations that have
lost their tax-exempt status because they failed to file a required annual electronic notice (Form 990-N e-Postcard) for taxable years beginning in 2007, 2008 and 2009. A small organization – that is, one that normally has annual gross receipts of not more than $50,000 in its most recently completed taxable year – that qualifies for the transitional relief under this notice and applies for reinstatement of tax-exempt status by December 31, 2012, will be treated by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) as having established reasonable cause for its filing failures and its tax-exempt status will be reinstated retroactive to the date it was automatically revoked.”
Mark has been getting it resolved and has found some great information on the problem: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=240239,00.html
A cryonicist found these for us:
Here is what David Pizer said,
“We have just learned that our tax deduction status was automatically and wrongfully suspended by the IRS for not filing a form 990. In the past the IRS confirmed that we don’t have to file that form. However it seems recently their equipment automatically suspended us. We are tax exempt, they have made an error and I will contact them on Monday. There is a process where the retroactively remove the organization from their auto-recovation list. That is what we are going to ask them to do although Idon’t know how long it will take them to restore us. Meanwhile, I believe that people can continue to make donations and deduct them.”
Kim is sending a check of funds she has raised to the Venturist fund, mainly to ensure that all the funds are together in one place and the suspension can be more smooth. As you all know she is hoping to be preserved at either Alcor or CI depending on how much is raised. I’d feel a lot better if we were at least at CI funding levels, but we have a ways to go.
I talked with Andy at CI today, and he said that CI is not tax deductible. The Venturists have been in the past, and the notification we got saying it is on hold will retroactively instate our tax-deductible status after we get the right forms in. David Pizer is going to call to see what needs to be done on Monday, and he thinks the issue will be resolved within a week.
Andy didn’t see there being a problem with CI giving money raised for an individual to Alcor, but thought the board would have to approve it.
Anyway, I want to see Kim be preserved. She has bravely come forward to her family about wanting to try cryonics, and has had some hostility. Her boyfriend of four years is supporting her, and her mother. Some of her family was upset with her saying she is an atheist, she is trying more “gentle” terms like humanist—but the funding isn’t there from her family. I feel it is up to the cryonics community to help Kim, the money goes to a cryonics organization and the more people that are preserved the safer it is for all of us (more family caring about the preserved, more people with the potential to be alive that other cryonicists will look-out for). The cryonics community in general needs to discuss in what cases there should be charity, but Kim’s case is clearly one of them.
I love the LessWrong community, it is great that this was found! David is contacting the IRS on Monday, as the Form 990-series was something we had not needed to turn in for many years. If we get the form in then the status is retroactive though, so he thinks it will be resolved within a week. When we raised funds for the preservation of William O’ Rights in ’08 and ’09 people were able to use donations for tax deductions.
It should be clear that we do not raise money for an individual, as the money does not go to an individual. The money raised will only go to a cryonics organization to preserve a legally dead individual, if the person that the charity was set up for is not preserved for any reason then the money will be refunded to the donor if they wish.
Out of the 3 previous cryonics charity funds run by the Venturists, two were successful (one is still animate -James Swayze—and one was preserved -William O’ Rights) when Marce was not able to be preserved many had their donations refunded and some chose to transfer their donation to William’s case. Thank you to everyone that is helping Kim—she’d like to be preserved at either Alcor or Cryonics Institute depending on how much is raised. I have hope that we will at least get the funds for CI—she finds comfort in either as she says.
That is the first thing I asked when the story was sent to me. A cryonicist I knew saw her story on Reddit and forwarded it to me since I’m on the board of the Venturists and she thought we would consider for our Cryonics Charity Fund. http://venturist.info/kim-suozzi-charity.html The Venturists vet people, and we looked into her case after she was signed with Cryonics Institute as an unfunded member and signed with Alcor as an associate member.
I sent her medical records to Jonathan Weissman, she sent them to the Venturist Board but I don’t think she wanted them up publicly-they certainly could be sent to potential donors though. I saw her vlog on youtube (she did a new one today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lISC8I_IiCg )
What I don’t get is that the “bus argument” is not used more. I knew a woman who was hit and killed by a bus, she was a family friend from when I was younger. One can die from an accident at any time and the vast majority of transhumanist minded people, I’d think, would be signed up for cryonics while they are young—just in case some thing happened to them before any techno-singularity they think will happen, happens…
I support SENS, and volunteer at LongeCity/ImmInst which gives anti-aging projects funding. One can support IEET, H+ and otherwise, while still not believing aging will be ended in their lifetime, or there will be artificial bodies they can upload into and have brain back-ups while they are still living. I personally don’t feel that will be available for my youngest child, now aged 10, within her lifetime even-let alone mine, and I practice calorie restriction and generally live in as life-extending a manner as possible (sans the newer experimental meds such as TA-65--just exercise and supplements). I signed up for cryonics in my twenties, because I knew my life could end at any moment really and it seemed common sense to have a backup, not that I believe cryonics will work, but that it is better to have a slight chance to get more of what we see as “time” in our current lives.
I’ve seen great advances in the past decade in life extension therapies and near-term possibilities—yet, I still see it as a slow climb to where we can achieve escape velocity to actual indefinite life-spans. I feel it will take hundreds of years or more, and it is telling that Aubrey de Grey and Ray Kurzweil both are signed up for cryonics. There simply should be a back-up in case we don’t realize within our lifetimes what we feel may be possible some day. Even if that back-up itself is no guarantee of continuation of life as we know it now.
Steve I didn’t know that story about Frederik Pohl-thank you for posting it, fascinating. Also, they weren’t all yuppies at the FL teens & twenties cryonicist conference, there were representatives from all sorts of backgrounds/classes. Personally my motivation in signing up for cryonics is that I think the amount of knowledge that we have to learn about the Universe pales in comparison to my short natural lifespan, that keeps me in awe-as I currently learn all that I can, and all the new things I realize I don’t know. That said, I’m perfectly happy with my own life, with my family, friends and community work and if I get more time, an “extreme lifespan” to see what is out there in the billions of light years of space, if I get more time to help end inequality if it still exists—or to move on to other goals, then so be it-I got lucky that cryonics worked ;-)
Hah, “Magic Click”—I see that all the time, people who don’t know cryonics is real-or have not met anyone actually signed up. Left and right, every day kids and adults think it is a “cool” idea, they express interest—but they don’t go through the steps to become a signed cryonicist. I’m not sure what causes one person to go through all the paperwork and another just thinks they might want to do that some day—from what I’ve seen, people who sign up for cryonics have had a brush with death and seem more motivated—it could come down to a person’s personality and their level of planning things in life too. Thank you for your comment bshock. Some religions could take the stance that you must be signed up for cryonics, because if it works then it is your purpose to do more good for your faith. I could imagine how frustrating it would be to work at Alcor, the paperwork truly needs to be simplified-but cryonics is not yet large enough to be safely accepted, they have to cover every angle possible that could come up. CI is a lot easier to sign up with paperwork, but they don’t have a higher success rate—I think that you are right-at first cryonics is fun because it seems like a way to escape death possibly, then finalizing it is acknowledging that you will die.
I’ll be attending. I’ve been reading “Science Fiction And Philosophy” and enjoyed the section on Ethics within AI and with creating AI. I’ll be bring my youngest child, age 8 who has been reading “21st Century Kids” and really thinking about AI and her own sense of self for the first time in depth. Will be a great talk, look forward to it!
Eliezer—don’t know how many people reading this had the same response I did, but you tore my heart out.
As Nick Bostrom Ph.D. Director of the Oxford Future of Humanity institute, Co-founder of the World Transhumanist Association said about my book “21st Century Kids” “Childhood should be fun and so should the future. Read this to your children, and next you know they’ll demand a cryonics contract for Christmas.”
You know, I do what I can to educate others to the fact that cryonics is possible, and thus there is the common sense obligation to try. For me it is a noble endeavor that humans are attempting, I’m proud to help that effort. If you do a search on “teaching kids cryonics” you’ll get: http://www.depressedmetabolism.com/2008/07/04/teaching-children-about-cryonics/ from a few years ago. I still do classes when I can, I’ve been talking to my children’s friends and parents here in the UK after moving from Austin this past summer. The reception I get over here from parents and kids is generally the same as what I heard in the States—people express interest, but never really go through the effort of signing up.
I will be writing more, in the mean time I love hearing from fans of http://www.amazon.com/21st-Century-Kids-Shannon-Vyff/dp/1886057001 It was a thrill to get pictures and feedback from kids who got the book this Christmas and loved it!
Thank you for writing about the Teens & Twenties conference Eliezer, I sincerely look forward to further analysis from you. I’ll be attending with my teens in the future, my 13 year old daughter actually had wanted to go this year but we were not able to work it in. She’ll be more mature, and my son will be a teen by the time the next event occurs. It is great to have the heroes who have devoted their lives to cryoncis, meet the “normal folk” who sign up—and for the kids to make friends with other cryonicists.
I’m sorry about your brother Eliezier, your writing tore my heart out. I agree that parents should sign their kids up, my own were raised with it and plan on “talking their spouse” into doing it (that will be interesting ;-) ). I’ve seen other older cryonicists who have raised their kids with cryonics, and the kids kept up the arrangements. I’ve also seen it go the other way. We need more books written for kids :-)
Thanks for all you do.