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Saturday, March 19, 2005

Exempt-Nonprofit Status Doubts Can Be Very Taxing


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WARNING: I am not a tax accountant.

Nor have I played one on the stage.

So I cannot tell you whether pointing to this website in an audit would hold up in your defense. If you have those kind of worries you should be using a CPA to do your taxes anyway.

But I ran across this website http://www.nonprofitdata.com/ which claims to be "...
a complete listing of all the nonprofit organizations in the United States." Which you can look up by zip code.

Well that's the first hitch. You have to know the zip code of the organziation that you gave money to to look them up, but in many cases, you are not worrying about the box of cookies you bought last February and how much if any of that money is deductible as a charitable donation.

If you wrote a check to some organization, you can now look them up and see if they are on the list. Better yet. You can look them up before you write the check and see if they are on the list.

I checked it out with my own home zip code and found small charities that most people would not know about on it, so the list seems pretty complete. But here is the caveat.

BIG CAVEAT. The site is sponsored by a flag manuafacturer. But there is no real indication of where the data is coming from. USE IT AT YOUR OWN RISK.

The Peter Files is not responsible for anything that happens as a result of your using this information. It is provided merely for information value and so you can look up your home zip code and see what whacky charities are listed there.

If you give money to any of them and feel bad later do not come crying to us. You have been fairly warned. It is the duty of anyone giving out their hard earned simolians to be sure who they are giving it to and whether they understand the full terms and ramifications of that gift.

You can be sure that this blog has no information that can be useful or of any helpful advice in that kind of charitable undertaking except to say that in general, charity is a nice thing. It is good to be good to other people. So give to someone why don't you?

Still, it is interesting to look up and see what qualifies as a Nonprofit isn't it?

So, I thought I would do a few look up links for you first.

I fished around a little bit then thought, D'oh! (Years ago, I never would have thought that. But as I have aged and become more aware of my flaws, I find the expression more and more usefull.)

Of, course. The first to try is Beverly Hills 90210!

Right off the bat I hit paydirt.

Number 3 on the list is the Adult Video Association.

Just the kind of nonprofit tax exempt organization that Beverly Hills wants to be known for.

But of course, as I made my way down the list, except for a few cheap jokes at the expense of individuals' names (which I won't make, any of you with the minds of 7th graders go right ahead and chuckle away), the list appears to be chock full of worthy and noble causes.

One has to wonder what qualifies as a "Perfect Pet Rescue" and what kind of passions "Passions and Dreams Funding, Inc" are funding, but I really wish the "Jazz Bakery Performance Space" was around the corner on Sunday Mornings, although I'm betting it has nothing to do with Jazz and warm pastry.

I did notice a lot of family foundations, which are probably given the names involved, giving foundations rather than keeping foundations to preserve family wealth.

That leads to another problem with the list. It only tells you the list of noprofit organizations registered in a zip code and their addresses. Nothing more. To find out more requires real work.

Well, I was going to list a bunch of zip codes and give examples of strange stuff I found, but its been a long week. Why don't you try it instead and tell me what you found?

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