CATER (Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility), which identifies itself as a 501(c)(4) public benefit non-profit organization focused on transparency and accountability in government, has either not filed a form 990 from September 2013 through the end of July 2015 or has asked the IRS for an extension in filing which the IRS has not yet received.
What’s a Form 990? From a TurboTax website, this simple explanation:
Most tax-exempt organizations that have gross receipts of at least $200,000 or assets worth at least $500,000 must file Form 990 on an annual basis. Some organizations, such as political organizations, churches and other religious organizations, are exempt from filing an annual Form 990.
Form 990 initially requires the organization to describe its mission or other significant activities. The organization must then disclose financial details on its revenues, expenses, assets and liabilities.
The IRS also wants to ensure that the organization is worthy of maintaining its tax-exempt status and requires more details on the types of activities it engages in during the year. A significant portion of the form requires information on how the organization is governed, and specifically requests the names of its officers, directors, highly compensated employees and other employees who are involved with managing the organization. An organization that over-compensates its management may jeopardize its tax-exempt status with the IRS.
Part IV of Form 990 provides a detailed checklist of supporting documents that may be required depending on the answers given to a list of questions. For example, many tax-exempt organizations must file a Schedule B, Schedule of Contributors, listing all contributions it receives during the year. (so we’ll be able to see who’s writing those big checks to CATER that Cynthia Ward said happened on Anaheim Blog)
A Schedule C may also be necessary to report the political activities of a tax-exempt organization. Other documents include a Schedule D to provide more detailed financial statements, a Schedule F to report the organization’s level of activity outside the United States and a Schedule G to describe the organization’s fundraising activities.
Tax-exempt organizations with less than $200,000 of gross receipts and less than $500,000 in assets can file Form 990-EZ, which is the “short form” version of Form 990. However, private foundations must file Form 990-PF and black lung benefit trusts must file Form 990-BL.
The shortest version of Form 990, the Form 990-N, can only be filed by organizations with gross receipts of $50,000 or less. Form 990-N is referred to as an “e-postcard” since it can only be filed online and requires minimal information. Any organization that fails to file the appropriate Form 990 for three consecutive years risks having its tax-exempt status revoked by the IRS.
We filed a request for a copy of the organization’s 990 filings last month. Last week, a letter came in from the IRS which said simply, “We’re unable to provide a copy of the Form(s) 990 for the organization and tax year(s) or period(s) you requested. Our records show the return(s) is unavailable.”
In comments on a July 2015 post on Anaheim Blog, CATE counsel and Orange Juice Blogger Greg Diamond sidesteps direct questions about CATER’s 990 filings.
This exchange occurred:
One Who Knows Something