Thursday, October 07, 2010

The IRS weighs in, confusingly, on CABPRO

Today I called the IRS "verify a nonprofit" phone line (toll-free; 1-877-829-5500), spent half an hour on hold, then spoke with Cynthia, who said no, she couldn't find any record of the California Association of Business, Property and Resource Owners having tax exempt status.*

I asked, "are there any penalties for misrepresenting your group as a 501c4?" and this is where it got complicated. She said - and I'm repeating this from memory & somewhat fallible notes - that even though the group has no IRS Letter of Determination as a 501c4, it can still *call* itself a 501(c)(4) if it's organized and run in accordance with 501(c)(4) regulations.

"But how can anyone tell if they are?" I asked, and she answered that, well, if the IRS audits them, it can.

* Groups also legitimately wouldn't show up on the "tax exempt" list if they're "Subordinate units that are included in group exemption letters" (link) - so that's another Q to ask executive director Martin Light, if we can ever track him down. Was anyone able to stop by the CABPRO dinner at Penny's Diner last night (link)?

NCFocus posts labeled "CABPRO"


Anonymous said...

Anna could you drop me an e-mail with your contact info at

Anna Haynes said...

This is reminiscent of my earlier call to the IRS, back in 2006 at the second coming of the Sierra Environmental Studies Foundation -
(when "the representative informed me that SESF (77-0408400, and she had me verify the name) was not an exempt organization, and 'that's all we can tell the general public'". (link))

(though the SESF did subsequently become a legit 501(c)(3).)

Anonymous said...

It appears that CABPRO needs an IRS audit. However, according to your conversation with the IRS, until such a point that the IRS determines that CABPRO is not acting in accordance to 501c4 regs, then there is no evidence that they have done anything improper. If you ask me, you guys are drumming up a bunch of nonsense.

Anna Haynes said...

"anonymous", perhaps you think it's legit for the executive director of an organization to misrepresent its legal status. I don't.

fyi, any further anonymous comments get bounced. Courage.