Probably worth noting that there is also Section 1.170A-13(f)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code:
(9) Goods or services provided to employees or partners of donors -
(i) Certain goods or services disregarded. For purposes of section 170(f)(8), goods or services provided by a donee organization to employees of a donor, or to partners of a partnership that is a donor, in return for a payment to the organization may be disregarded to the extent that the goods or services provided to each employee or partner are the same as those described in paragraph (f)(8)(i) of this section.
(ii) No good faith estimate required for other goods or services. If a taxpayer makes a contribution of $250 or more to a donee organization and, in return, the donee organization offers the taxpayer's employees or partners goods or services other than those described in paragraph (f)(9)(i) of this section, the contemporaneous written acknowledgment of the taxpayer's contribution is not required to include a good faith estimate of the value of such goods or services but must include a description of those goods or services.
(iii) Example. The following example illustrates the rules of this paragraph (f)(9).
Museum J is an organization described in section 170(c). For a payment of $40, J offers a package of basic membership benefits that includes free admission and a 10% discount on merchandise sold in J's gift shop. J's other membership categories are for supporters who contribute $100 or more. Corporation K makes a payment of $50,000 to J and, in return, J offers K's employees free admission for one year, a tee-shirt with J's logo that costs J $4.50, and a gift shop discount of 25% for one year. The free admission for K's employees is the same as the benefit made available to holders of the $40 membership and is otherwise described in paragraph (f)(8)(i)(B) of this section. The tee-shirt given to each of K's employees is described in paragraph (f)(8)(i)(A) of this section. Therefore, the contemporaneous written acknowledgment of K's payment is not required to include a description or good faith estimate of the value of the free admission or the tee-shirts. However, because the gift shop discount offered to K's employees is different than that offered to those who purchase the $40 membership, the discount is not described in paragraph (f)(8)(i) of this section. Therefore, the contemporaneous written acknowledgment of K's payment is required to include a description of the 25% discount offered to K's employees.
Or, briefly, any benefits given to employees in return for a gift by the employer are evaluated on an employee-by-employee basis rather than cumulatively, and any that are not disregarded on that basis need to be described, but it is not necessary to disclose the value.
In the case at hand, providing a fixed number of memberships, the value is relatively straightforward to calculate, but that wouldn't be the case if the program was open-ended. And I don't see anything right off that limits this provision to the open-ended case (nor, for that matter, anything that would preclude the disclosure of a value). Might be something worth passing by counsel.
My US$0.02 worth; the usual disclaimers apply.
Alan S. Hejnal
Data Quality Manager
Smithsonian Institution - Office of Advancement
600 Maryland Ave SW Ste 600E
PO Box 37012, MRC 527
Washington, DC 20013-7012
Voice: 202-633-8754 | Email: HejnalA@si.edu