Friends of Lulu Tax Information
I suspect no one cares about this story at all, but in the interests of completeness:
Thanks to my local paper, who did their own version of the story about some charitable tax exemptions being in danger, I found the IRS Master File, which lists all exempt organizations. Now, I am not an accountant or experienced with these files, but they do come with instructions. (I welcome more informed assistance.) From this I found that Friends of Lulu last filed a tax return covering the tax period ending December 2007, and it showed both assets and income of $0.
The article also had more speculation on what may happen with small groups that miss following the rules:
“The IRS has encouraged organizations to go ahead and file if they missed the deadline. They will be issuing guidance on what to do to retain tax-exempt status.”
J. William Gray Jr., a tax-planning lawyer at Hunton & Williams, said the IRS has some constraints on what it can allow. “The law is the law,” he said. “It says clearly that if an organization fails to file for three consecutive years, it loses its exemption and has to reapply. It also says in appropriate conditions it may be reinstated retroactively…. I think they would be inclined to reinstate the exemption retroactively, and they may institute some lower-cost or more streamlined procedures for those types of applicants. You can’t just ignore the law.”
fwiw, they are listed at guidestar which is a generally accredited site to know if an organization is a real non-profit or if they just say they are.
Ah, yes: but one can take the trouble to register with a ‘generally accredited site’ as a non-profit, and still miss deadlines with the IRS.
The web is one thing; the IRS does not play, and doesn’t care about web registrations, excuses, or best intentions — they just care about appropriate forms filed before appropriate deadlines.
Learn this at your peril; even as an individual fines are a royal pain and well past what is “usual” or “appropriate” — The IRS Does Not Play.
I’ve been audited. It sucks.
get right by the IRS now, everyone, before the IRS Takes A Chunk Out Of Your Ass. Johanna shouldn’t have to remind you of this, and also, I don’t get why folks throw it back at Johanna _when_ she reminds you all of this.
Guidestar requires IRS documentation to list an organization. They make the information about who is or is not a non-profit accessible because the IRS was not publicizing that information in an accessible way.
I’m not vouching for FoL or it’s continued status as a non-profit. I’m just giving another point of reference that at one time it had also passed the hurdles to being listed on guidestar. It’s certainly possible it won’t continue to be in the future if they don’t maintain that status with the IRS.
I don’t think anyone’s debating whether or not Friends of Lulu actually had non-profit status. They have had since 1996. My question is whether, with the changed IRS laws, they’ll be able to maintain it.
Having worked with H&R Blockthis year, and having some conversations with the IRS for clients. Like Matt says be you an individual or organization you best have your ducks in a row over the next few years.
The IRS believes there is over half a billion dollars in possible tax revenue out there, and they are looking for it. Going as far as hiring new agents whose sole job is to do so, as well as handle the increasing number of audits that are coming.
Does the organization exist at all?
When was the board last elected?
Are they still giving out awards?
No revenue for 2007? Does that include memberships?
And if laws are broken, who is liable?
Perhaps apropos of nothing at this point, but GuideStar, the online resource for information on non-profit organizations, has put together a “What Do You Need to Know about Revocation of Tax Exempt Status” document with some basic info on the implications of such revocation:
Interestingly, that report indicates that there may be *hundreds of thousands* of non-profits that may lose tax exempt status. So there would seem to be lots (an understatement!) of organizations in a similar boat to FoL…