IRS Gremlin defeated

Athens Area Pagans, Inc., has been a registered tax-exempt organization under IRS code 501(c)(3) since Sept. 26, 2013 (the date of the Final Determination letter we got from the IRS). We worked hard to get that exemption and have continued to be vigilant in defending it.

But we discovered a problem in February. We noticed that we were no longer listed as a Charitable Organization by PayPal. We contacted PayPal to find out why, and were told that AAP was listed on the IRS’s Automatic Revocations database.

Now, the IRS maintains several publicly accessible databases of exempt organizations. The main one is the Pub 98 list of Exempt Organizations, and AAP has been listed as in good standing there. But the Automatic Revocations database is another. It a list of organizations whose exempt status was revoked because they failed to file a form 990 tax return for 3 consecutive years. Indeed, we discovered that AAP was listed there. It said our exempt status had been revoked on May 15, 2013.

That was obviously wrong, since we weren’t even granted exempt status until 4 months later. Also, all of our 990 filings are listed on yet another database and we’ve never missed one.

Fortunately, despite the IRS’s terrible reputation, this proved to have an easy fix, once we found the right phone number to call. Mrs. Goodman of the Exempt Organizations office acknowledged on Feb. 12 that this was obviously in error, and assured us it would be corrected, although warning that it could take up to 60 days for the on-line file to update.

It did not take that long, and the entry has been corrected to say that our status was reinstated on the same date as the original revocation. (No, that doesn’t make sense, but it gets the job done.)

This was a problem for us, because businesses like PayPal that we deal with were using that list and didn’t tell us why we were getting weird responses. But our tax-exempt status was never actually revoked and there’s no reason for anyone who took a tax deduction for a donation to AAP to be concerned.

If you are interested, you can see all the relevant documents here . Just choose “search by organization name” and ask for Athens Area Pagans. — Embreis23