Tax legalities of raising money for charity?
I have contacted the charity I would like to raise money for to see what their answer is, but I figured I would ask here as well:
I would like to form a group of people (through meetup.com) in my area that would plan and execute fundraising for a specific, national nonprofit (they only have one office, though, and its in Montana). Fundraisers such as bake sales, setting up tables for donations, dinners, etc. I would be the organizer of it. It seems as though there is no issue, tax/legal wise, if I am officially affiliated with the charity, that is, I have their permission to raise money on their behalf, and thus me simply organizing something and collecting funds for them would not be anything I need to declare to the IRS on my own personal taxes, is this correct?
But what if they cannot provide me with official alliance? Can I still hold events, and, let's say I only accept checks made out to the charity directly, and any cash I could use to purchase a money order so that no money is ever deposited into a bank account registered to me... would that be legal? What about sales tax, in either case, if say, I have a bake sale? I have in the past, as a for-profit business, been registered to collect sales tax in my state, so I know how that works, so that's a complication as well (though, not saying this is ok, a lot of people who sell crafts as a side project don't always do the legal thing and pay sales, or even income tax on what they sell, though yes they run the risk of being caught).
If anyone with experience can comment on this, that would be great. It's really frustrating to me the hoops someone has to jump through to do a good thing and dedicate their time to raise money that they know honestly will be 100% given to a real, registered 501(c)3.