Wikipedia head calls for donations

For months now, Wikipedia has been asking readers of the online encyclopedia for donations. Now founder Jimmy Wales has made a personal pitch.

In an open letter posted on Tuesday, Wales makes a pitch for donations from readers to help keep the encyclopedia "free to use by anyone for any purpose."

"Like a national park or a school, we don't believe advertising should have a place in Wikipedia," he wrote. "We want to keep it free and strong, but we need the support of thousands of people like you."

Wikipedia had set a goal to reach $6 million US by the end of the year to cover the cost of managing traffic on the web, improving the software that runs the site, and other expenses such as paying the small staff of 23 people. So far, though, they are just shy of $4 million US.

The foundation which runs the site said that if the goal isn't reached by the end of January - which is looking increasingly likely - it may schedule a second fundraiser in March.

Canadians who support the idea and reality of Wikipedia can go to the site to donate, but they should keep in mind that there won't be a tax break for doing so unless they are able to claim it against U.S. income.

As Toronto-based accountant Brian Bowes explains, "U.S. donations can only be used against U.S. income that you report on your Canadian tax return. So if you have no U.S. income they do not reduce Canadian tax, though you may be able to carry forward to a future year in which you have U.S. income."

Looking for the relevant article in our tax laws? A useful reference can be found here, Article XXI, Paragraph 6 of the US-Canada tax treaty.

As one would expect, that last link was provided by, you guessed it, Wikipedia.