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Regional Archives The Altamont Enterprise, September 9, 2010

IRS tells not-for-profits
Time to file returns

By Saranac Hale Spencer

ALBANY COUNTY — More than two dozen not-for-profit organizations in the Enterprise coverage area are slated to lose their tax-exempt status, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

They have until Oct. 15 to file the returns required to maintain their status.  Before 2007, small tax-exempt organizations were not required to file an annual return, but, after the Pension Protection Act of 2006 took effect, all groups, aside from churches or related organizations, are required to file one of two forms.  The law also states that an organization that fails to file for three consecutive years would lose its tax-exempt status.  This is the first year that enough time has lapsed for organizations to loose their status.

Tax-exempt status is important because it encourages donations since people can claim tax deductions when they make contributions to not-for-profit organizations.

The initial deadline for filing was on May 17, but the IRS extended it by five months since many organizations hadn’t filed at that point.  “The IRS has conducted an unprecedented outreach effort in the tax-exempt sector on the 2006 law’s new filing requirements, but many of these smaller organizations are just now learning of the May 17 deadline,” IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said in a statement at the time.  “I want to reassure these small organizations that the IRS will do what it can to help them avoid losing their tax-exempt status.”

Ken Storms, of the Rensselaerville Town Historical Society, which is listed by the IRS, said this week that his organization had gotten a call from an organization that serves not-for-profits several weeks ago, but hadn’t heard anything from the IRS about the filing requirements.

“We always filed a 990,” he said, adding that the group is still balancing the responsibilities of the treasurer, who died a couple of years ago.  The historical society operates on less than $25,000, he said, guessing its budget is probably under $10,000.  The group, with about 200 members, runs on memberships and donations, he said.

Of what effect losing its tax-exempt status would have, Storms said, “I haven’t the foggiest… We’ve never paid taxes, so we have no baseline to know.”

Several of the organizations in the area included on the IRS list had only post office boxes listed and could not be contacted; some others, like the Guilderland League of Arts, are now defunct.

For organizations that no longer exist, there are several options.  For those that have assets, they should file the applicable form with an explanation of how the assets will be distributed.  For those without assets, there are two choices, — either to do nothing, which will then put the group on a list of those that have been revoked due to failure to file returns, or to file for the most recent tax year and indicate that it will be the organization’s final return.

Organizations that file forms 990-N or 990-EZ are eligible for the extension, according to the IRS, and those that don’t file by Oct. 15 and lose their tax-exempt status will have to re-apply for the status.  That carries a fee of $400 for groups with less than $10,000 over the last four years and $850 for groups with more than $10,000.

Listed locals

Of the more than 20,000 not-for-profit organizations in New York listed by the Internal Revenue Service as being at risk for losing their tax-exempt status, these are the ones located in Guilderland, New Scotland, Berne, Knox, Westerlo, and Rensselaerville:

— Air Medical Crew Education Fund Inc.;

— Capital City Youth Soccer Club Inc.;

— Fish For Guilderland Area Limited;

— French and Polyclinic Medical School and Health Center Inc.;

— Reed & Tierney Foundation Inc.;

— Key Club International;

— Guilderland League of Arts Inc.;

— Berne Knox Westerlo Youth & Community Center Inc.;

— Helderberg Soccer Club;

— Rensselaerville Historical Society;

— Albany Bible Institute;

— American Legion Auxiliary;

— Mount Pleasant Cemetery Association;

— New Scotland Historical Association;

— Olympic Style Wrestling Club of Albany Inc.;

— Orchard Park Neighborhood Association Inc.;

— Pond View Farms Inc.;

— Scott Sommer Memorial Foundation Inc.;

— Upstate New York Construction Users Council;

— Voorheesville Community Foundation Inc.;

— Voorheesville Friends of Music;

— Hilltown Baseball Inc.;

— Association of Alumni of the Albany Bible Institute;

— Capital-Champlain Professional Photographers Society of New York State Inc.;

— Grange Patrons of Husbandry New York State Grange Inc.;

— Helderberg Brownfields Group;

— Pillar Ministries; and                           

— Fairview Cemetery.

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