Timeshare owners may notice a charge for “The ARDA fee” on their maintenance bill. What they may not know is the fee is voluntary. Timeshare owners can opt out by contacting their resort, but should they?
The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is the timeshare industries trade association. ROC stands for Resort Owners Coalition. ARDA is a major lobbying force that seeks to protect the timeshare industry from unnecessary laws, regulations, and taxes. The ARDA-ROC was formed in 1989 to protect timeshare owners and timeshare owners have benefited from ARDA-ROC actions to limit timeshare owner taxes.
The coalition is funded by voluntary contributions. According to the ARDA-ROC website they have over 1 million members who contribute $3-$10 a year (over $3 million a year). The FEC has recently questioned the disclosure and use of the fees collected by the ARDA-ROC. The FEC questioned contributions from the fees with regard to fees paid by corporations and/or private individuals who are not US citizens. In August 2010 the FEC fined the ARDA for a total of $900,000 (more information)
In response to the FEC’s audit, ARDA made the following, undated, post on itswebsite at http://arda.org:
There was recently some misleading information circulated about ARDA-ROC PAC, in reference to a random Federal Election Commission (FEC) Audit of 2003-2004 voluntary contributions. As a result of the audit, ARDA implemented the FEC’s request to put uniform language about PAC contributions on owner invoices or in an accompanying letter. The following is the uniform message approved by the FEC and communicated to the PAC contributing homeowners associations (HOAs):
“Individual contributions to Federal political action committees are strictly voluntary and not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes. Corporations may not contribute to Federal PACs. Only U.S. citizens and permanent green card holders are eligible to contribute. Contributions from Foreign Nationals are strictly prohibited.”
In addition to uniform standards, ARDA has also retained a prominent data company to further ensure that we are in compliance. This is particularly important, given the sheer volume of the $3.00 to $10.00 individual contributions received to support homeowner advocacy.
ARDA is proud of the grassroots participation by hundreds of thousands of timeshare owners and their HOAs that support ARDA-ROC PAC. It is through their efforts that we are able to continue to protect the integrity of their timeshare purchase. Through ARDA-ROC PAC, we will continue to monitor regulatory proposals and proactively respond, to ensure owners are not adversely affected by ill-advised efforts to assess owners for property taxes beyond fair market value of like-sized condominiums, as well as to fight transient occupancy taxes when localities try to misapply these hotel taxes to timeshare owners and exchangers. ARDA ROC and ARDA-ROC PAC are true timeshare advocates and rely on the voluntary pledges of nearly one million timeshare owners.
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