NARTH Loses Tax Exempt Status (UPDATED)

In September 2012, the tax exempt status of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) was revoked due to failure to file Form 990 for three consecutive years. The notice of revocation was yesterday according to the IRS website.

narthrevocation

Even though the full name of the organization is not listed, the Employee Identification Number and address match up with the 2009 990 form. A call to the IRS also confirmed it.

NARTH’s website advises prospective donors that their donations will be tax deductible but it appears such deductions after September 15, 2012 may not be allowed.

It is difficult to know what this means. NARTH has never been a wealthy organization and conference attendance has declined in recent years. Members are hoping to maintain their ability to conduct reparative therapy with minors in CA via lawsuits against the state to overturn SB 1172 (see this article for more on SB 1172 and then NARTH’s perspective). NARTH has been actively soliciting donations to help support their legal actions. One would not be able to tell from the website that those donations are not deductible.

UPDATE (3/14/13) – I have heard from two commenters and other reliable sources that NARTH continues to tell those who inquire that donations are still deductible. However, according to an IRS representative I spoke with on Tuesday, their status is revoked and there has been no action from NARTH to attempt to reinstate that status. As is typical for NARTH, there has been no on-the-record comment on this situation, despite requests.

  • stephen

    Good news. Let’s hope it’s not too long before they close their doors for good.

  • StraightGrandmother

    I guess they can’t afford a copy of Turbo Tax.

    Seriously this is great news.

  • ken

    StraightGrandmother says:

    March 12, 2013 at 10:33 am

    “I guess they can’t afford a copy of Turbo Tax.”

    I suspect the lack of filing the forms isn’t a simple clerical error. The filings require that they say what it is they have been doing with the money that has been collected. I’d bet they been doing some things with the money that they don’t want to have publicly known.

  • David Gerard

    So does continuing to solicit donations claiming tax deductibility constitute fraud?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      David – I don’t know, but it probably won’t make donors very happy if they have included those donations on their tax returns.

  • Michael Bussee

    Great news. Junk science and religious prejudice just don’t sell like they used to.

  • Michael Bussee

    I didn’t notice anything on their webpage that mentioned tax-exempt dontations.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Michael – I found a page that claimed it – see the post and click through the link. On the rest of the website, there are multiple requests for donations but no word that the donation won’t be tax deductible. This should be spelled out.

  • Bernie

    Oopsie, look like they’ll have to cut back on RentBoy.com services. This could not have happened to a better bunch of people.

  • Michael Bussee

    Yes, the link does say that donations are tax deductible. Isn’t this an illegal claim?

  • Michael Bussee

    Makes one wonder if NARTH might deliberately mislead the public about their work…

  • Michael Bussee

    I just called the NARTH office. The male receptionist (who would not give his name) says that “all donations and membership fees” are tax-deductible and that he personally sends a receipt for tax purposes. He said he had not heard any news to the contrary.

  • David Gerard

    Yeah, I suppose it’s annoying that the IRS can say “revoked as of last September even though we’re not telling you until today”.

  • Boo

    Anyone who witnessed the Schoenewolf scandal and subsequent epic debacle that was NARTH’s attempt at a blog back in 2006 should be able to see that NARTH appears to be an organization where the left hand frequently has no idea what the right hand is doing. Organization does not seem to be their forte.

  • Michael Bussee

    “Organization does not seem to be their forte.”

    Neither does science. :)

  • StraightGrandmother

    Michael B, so glad to see you buddy.

    I have missed you.

    Where have you been?

    Have you been reading the blog of that woman called canyonwalker? How she was stalked and harassed by that lay minister and the the lay ministers daughter?

  • David Roberts

    @ David Gerard The IRS only put them on the public list today, but information we gained from a very similar story on Peter LaBarbera’s “organization” indicates that the IRS would have been in contact with them many times before finally taking the action. In other words, it is likely that NARTH knew, or should have known, that this was going to happen long before the September date.

    At this point, they would have to go through the process of applying for tax exempt status all over again, and it seems unlikely they would get it now anyway.

    Good catch Warren. If keeping their finances secret is worth losing their tax exempt status, one wonders what they have been up to.

  • EmmittBrownBTTF1

    The two things smart compassionate people have our side is the buffonery and incompetance of right wing zealots.

  • jpe

    David Roberts: they won’t have to go through the application process again. the IRS has issued a Rev Proc providing a streamlined procedure for orgs that lost exemption due to nonfiling to regain their status.

  • jpe

    (oops, strike that; the rev proc is only for orgs with less than 50k in annual revenues)

  • Michael Bussee

    Yes, Straight Grandmother. I have been following that story on Facebook.

  • Jean-Pierre

    Thanks for this news.

    After all the outright lies, half-truths, and general harm that they do to so many people they finally have some return on their Karma.

    I am very curious about why they wouldn’t file for three years.

  • Roy Peterson

    My email to them and their response…

    BTW I do not want to make a donation, I just wanted to get a response and that seemed like the best way to get them to email me back. Too bad they do not have spell check on their computers!

    _________________________________

    We’re working on that. The information provided from the IRS does not match our own records. We believe it to be a misscommunication and have no reason to suspect that we won’t continue to operate under the 501 non profit tax deduction.

    —–Original Message—–

    From: Roy Peterson

    Sent: Mar 12, 2013 3:53 PM

    To: info@narth.com

    Subject: I’d like to make a donation…

    Dear NARTH,

    I’d like to make a donation and I want to make sure it is and will be tax deductible.

    Thank you,

    Roy Peterson

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      Roy – Thanks for the info. Whatever communication problem NARTH has, it isn’t going to matter. The IRS rep told me that there is a procedure to follow to get reinstated and they will need to do it before they can get their status back. Donations from last September on are subject to scrutiny from the IRS.

  • Sheldon

    Hey, Michael Bussee! Why can’t I find you on Facebook? Have you gone “stealth”? :)

  • Tom Van Dyke

    BTW I do not want to make a donation, I just wanted to get a response and that seemed like the best way to get them to email me back.

    Uh huh. Some lies are OK, I reckon.

  • Boo

    Obviously Roy should have gone before an audience of students and told them that Thomas Jeferson contributed to NARTH.

  • David Roberts

    According to the IRS, application for reinstatement is the same as applying for the first time – you start from scratch.  However, if that application is approved, there is a provision to have that their status recognized retroactive to the revocation date (I’m not sure this was available in 2011).  According to the IRS documentation, this would require a special set of circumstances that I don’t think NARTH could truthfully comply with. 

    If I read the documents correctly, consideration for retroactive recognition of exempt status would also require them to submit their 990s for those three years they missed and any years after.  They may not be willing to do that even if they could convince the IRS to let them.  Theoretically at least, it seems they could get their status back and retroactive to the revocation date, making the donations since Sept 2012 tax deductible again. 

    Even so, I would assume the process would have to take no more than the end of the current year in order for donors to claim their deductions on their 2013 return.  This is not my field, but the documents linked above are fairly straightforward.

  • Michael Bussee

    Sheldon, I am still on Facebook. Also, will be attending Exodus for the first time since I helped create it. Alan Chambers invited me. Should be interesting.

  • Dan

    What is it with Christians and the Form 990? LaBarbera’s group failed to file for years, even though a dean of Liberty University Law School sits on the board of his organization. Linda Harvey angrily scratches out Mission America’s 990 in barely legible ink, and only makes it available for public inspection by appointment at a library in Ohio. Now NARTH has a “miscommunication” with the IRS, such that the IRS is unaware of 3 years’ of NARTH filings?

    Lawless Christians need to be educated to file their tax returns. And to not traffic children across international borders.

  • Les

    The IRS Form 990 is an information form for the public for non-profit organizations. It is not a tax return. I don’t think Turbo-Tax sells a version, so small non-profit treasurers or accountants manually fill it out. Larger non-profits hire auditors or accountants to prepare the form.

    Their website lists Officers and Board Members. There is no Treasurer listed, which is odd.


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