Twenty-three groups in the Twin Cities missed the IRS’s Monday filing deadline under new tax rules for nonprofits, putting their tax-exempt status at risk. That is, if they still exist.
Brigite Babine said Wednesday that her charity, Souled on Christ, hasn’t been active for years.
Ditto for the Many and One Coalition, which formed in Lewiston in response to white supremacists organizing a rally in town.
“For a lot of people, they felt like it was ‘mission accomplished.’ That’s my opinion,” said Lewiston Deputy City Administrator Phil Nadeau, who’d done work on behalf of the city with the group.
Brenda Peluso, director of public policy at the Maine Association of Nonprofits, said her group had spent three years getting word out on Monday’s first-ever deadline. Her best guess: More than half of the roughly 900 nonprofits that haven’t responded statewide have either ceased or had a parent organization file for them. Between 45 and 30 percent of the groups might still be active but don’t realize that, yes, this applies to them, she said.
Before 2006, nonprofits with less than $25,000 in receipts didn’t have to file a 990 tax return, Peluso said. With a change in tax law, even the smaller nonprofits had to file and had three tax years to start doing it or get their nonprofit status yanked.
“May 15, 2010 was the drop-dead date for so many of organizations who are on the calendar year,” she said. (The IRS moved it to the 17th after the 15th fell on a weekend.)
The IRS has been reminding nonprofits for three years, Peluso said. Three weeks ago, MAN looked at the list of nonprofits that hadn’t yet filed, compiled by the Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics, and dropped 50 of them a nudge.
“I sent out information to those groups and said, ‘You’re on the list, check it out,’” Peluso said. “I heard back from no one. I have no idea what that means. The big question is, I have no idea how many of these groups are in existence still.”
Ultimately, the shift means a better way to count the number of active nonprofits in Maine, she said.
In 2005, Maine had 2,667 nonprofits reporting to the IRS, but all of them took in over $25,000. It’s been difficult to count the very small.
On Wednesday, the Urban Institute listed 14 Lewiston and nine Auburn nonprofits that missed the May deadline, including the Kings Bridge Theatre and African Immigrants Association.
Eric Howes, president of the Auburn Ski Association, also on the list, said he had checked in with the association’s clerk.
“He’s aware of the deadline and it doesn’t apply to ASA,” Howes said.
Peluso said the IRS change was intended to immediately revoke nonprofit status for any group that missed the deadline, but that the IRS has indicated it’s willing to work with people.
Filing now, and late, is better than not at all, she said. The process is an eight-question e-postcard. Getting nonprofit status back can be time consuming, and expensive. Filing the paperwork costs an average of $750, Peluso said.
Her group is willing to help late-filers and help answer questions. To contact MAN, call 871-1885.
L-A nonprofits that missed the May 17 IRS filing deadline, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics. Groups may be defunct or they may have had a parent organization file for them. Otherwise, if they are still active, they risk losing nonprofit status.
African Immigrants Association, Lewiston
Delta Heart Productions, Lewiston
End of Life Choices of Maine, Lewiston
Great Falls Youth Music Inc., Lewiston
Kings Bridge Theatre, Lewiston
Lewiston Senior Citizens, Lewiston
Maca C Roddy Memorial Scholarship Foundation Inc., Lewiston
Many and One Coalition, Lewiston
New Vine Community, Lewiston
Rebos Club Inc., Lewiston
Souled on Christ, Lewiston
The Toy Library A Place for Kids, Lewiston
[email protected] Croteau Scholarship Foundation, Lewiston
Arts After School Inc., Auburn
Auburn Ski Association, Auburn
Friends of Forest Lodge Inc., Auburn
General Electric Employees Community Service Fund, Auburn
Jamie Benson Sports Scholarship Foundation, Auburn
Maine’s World Wide Missions Outreach Inc., Auburn
Relationship Restoration Inc., Auburn
The College Key, Auburn
West Auburn School Historical Society, Auburn