Tax-Exempt Status in Danger
On Thursday, the NY Times published an article about how up to 400,000 tax-exempt organizations — including charities and trade associations — may lose their exemptions on May 15.
[F]ederal legislation passed in 2006 required all nonprofits to file tax forms the following year. Previously, only organizations with revenues of $25,000 or more — or the vast majority of nonprofit groups — had to file. The new law, embedded in the 393 pages of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, also directed the Internal Revenue Service to revoke the tax exemptions of groups that failed to file for three consecutive years. Three years have passed, and thus the deadline looms.
I’ve emailed the public contact addresses of the three best-known comic non-profits — the CBLDF, Friends of Lulu, and the Hero Initiative — to confirm that they won’t be affected by this legal change, but I have yet to receive any response. I would imagine that most, if not all, of them take in more than $25,000 a year, so they’d be filing anyway.
Thankfully, most donors to changed groups won’t be affected, since “[d]onors to affected groups will be able to take a deduction for gifts until formal notification is received by the recipient organization.”
Update: Well, I got a response from the President of Friends of Lulu, Valerie D’Orazio, that refused to answer the question in favor of attacking me. I quote it in full:
I find it very interesting that someone who has done nothing (nothing) but put down Friends of Lulu’s efforts over the last several years now pretends to give a shit.
You are also one of the most hypocritical, pathetic, bitter human beings I have ever had the misfortune to run into in comics, far worse than the misogynists who at least are honest about what they are.
When a real journalist, not a sad bitter person with an axe to grind, contacts me, you can of course quote that interview in any further posts you wish to do pretending to give a shit about a woman’s organization you’ve done nothing but deride for many years.
I will also publish my response to you on my blog tomorrow morning.
Even if the organization is still validly tax-exempt, I would hope that potential donors would take into account the behavior of its officers when considering where to direct their donations. Valerie’s obvious hatred might have something to do with a post I made over a year ago calling her out on some inappropriate things she said, but that had nothing to do with the organization she’s the public face of. (And it ignores the times I’ve linked to her because I was agreeing with her. I guess my service as a member of Friends of Lulu’s Board of Directors was long enough ago to qualify as “many years”.)
I would have hoped that she could have separated organizational work from personal feelings. So much for the group supporting all women in comics, hunh? I guess that only applies if the President likes you. In the meantime, I invite “real journalists” to pose the same question to the organization and its officers, because it remains unanswered.
Update 2: (4/26/10) I have received the following confirmation from the CBLDF that they have no exemption issues:
“The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is fully committed to professional financial management and transparent reporting. As such, we file an IRS Form 990 each year, which is publicly available at www.guidestar.org. Our procedures include a thorough annual internal audit. It is a priority concern of the Fund that its donors understand how their contributions are utilized, and so we make every effort to maintain professional, timely and transparent financial reporting.”
My thanks to Charles Brownstein, Executive Director, for his time and response.
And the weirdest thing, for me, about all this, is finding out how many old Usenet folks hang out at Rich Johnston’s Bleeding Cool.