Searchable database: California nonprofits lose tax exempt status

Editor's note: Scroll to the bottom of this story to conduct a search of California nonprofits that had their tax-exempt statuses with the IRS revoked

Dozens of Merced-area nonprofit groups lost their tax-exempt status because of a failure to file a questionnaire with the Internal Revenue Service.

A list of organizations that had their tax-exempt status revoked was posted online Thursday by the IRS.

The list includes the Merced Police Officers Association. Merced Police Department Det. Joe Deliman, who is treasurer for MPOA, said he was working with a tax person to re-instate the group’s tax-exempt status.

"We'll get them filed and I’m sure they’ll reinstate it," he said, adding the group didnt know the whole process.

IRS spokesman Jesse Weller said donations made after June 9 to the organizations on the list won't be counted as tax-deductible. The IRS said the groups that lost tax-exempt status failed to file annual reports for three years, starting in 2007.

A 2006 law requires that all nonprofit organizations file the reports at least once every three years, Weller said. Groups that earn less than $25,000 a year are only required to fill out an eight-question survey, he said. "We believe the organizations on the list are either defunct or did not file the forms that were required."

In fact, most of those groups on the IRS list appear to be defunct. The list includes 67 groups in the city of Merced, but a search of corporation statements of information by those same groups on the California Secretary of State website reveals that many of the groups are listed as no longer being in operation.

For instance, the IRS lists the Merced County High Speed Rail group and the Merced Rescue Mission, but both those groups are no longer operational, having been replaced by the Greater Merced High Speed Rail Committee and Merced County Rescue Mission, respectively. The newer groups retain their tax-exempt status.

Weller said groups that had their exempt status revoked can work with the IRS to reinstate it.

Online editor Brandon Bowers can be reached at (209) 385-2464 or bbowers@mercedsun-star.com. Merced Sun-Star reporter Ameera Butt contributed to this report.

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