[Update: According to the CFA's Pollard cited below, the Community Foundation of Acadiana identified by the IRS as having lost its tax-exempt status isn't the current CFA located in Lafayette. Rather, based on the tax identification number, it's an organization that no longer exists: In 2002, the current CFA purchased the rights to the name "Community Foundation of Acadiana" from an Opelousas-based group now known as the Opelousas-St. Landry Area Community Foundation. Yes, it's confusing. This story has also been updated with quotes from the ASO's Krueger.]
The Internal Revenue Service on Thursday released a list of roughly 275,000 organizations that have automatically lost their tax-exempt status for failing to file annual reports for three consecutive years, and the list includes at least two prominent Lafayette organizations: the Community Foundation of Acadiana and the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra.
However, according to CFA Executive Assistant Mary Pollard, the Community Foundation recently received an extension from the IRS to file the required paperwork; Pollard provided confirmation via a copy of a letter from the federal tax-collection agency. The IRS also indicates on its website that approximately 50,000 of the organizations on its list filed the required forms during an extension period and are now in compliance.
ASO Executive Director Jenny Krueger called The Ind Thursday afternoon about the list, citing "some paperwork that's been confused and misfiled." Krueger added that the matter "should be taken care of shortly."
A few thousand of the organizations identified by the IRS are located in Louisiana, with a few dozen headquartered in Lafayette. Most on the list are defunct groups such as the Artists Alliance, the Women of Color Social Club and the Boxing Club of Lafayette. The Lafayette list also includes a few American Legion posts, a Knights of Columbus council and several sororities and fraternities.
The revocation of tax exemptions means the groups will be required to file annual tax returns and pay taxes on income. It also means that contributions to these organizations will no longer be tax-deductible. However, in conjunction with the release of revocations the IRS also announced steps to help these organizations apply for reinstatement of their tax-exempt status.
“During the past several years, the IRS has gone the extra mile to help make tax-exempt groups aware of their legal filing requirement and allow them additional time to file,” IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman says in a press release tied to the revocation announcement. “Still, we realize there may be some legitimate organizations, especially very small ones, that were unaware of their new filing requirement. We are taking additional steps for these groups to maintain their tax-exempt status without jeopardizing their operations or harming their donors.”
To access an Excel spreadsheet of the IRS list, click here.
MAY 21 Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos writes about the Mother's Day shooting, and how the stages of shock and blame and healing mirror those traveled by the same city following Hurricane Katrina. The city will recover, just as it did following the storm, by reaching out to help the people injured most seriously by the event, DuBos writes. It's how we heal, he says.
MAY 21 Here's a post on the Advocate (but buried on a subpage, not on the front) that reports something Louisiana Voice reported some time ago: a top DOE official lives in Los Angeles and "commutes" to Baton Rouge. The positioning of the story caused a stir on Facebook Monday, with several posters asking if the Advocate was covering someone's hiney. Sentell's stories on DOE are notoriously soft, and this one is no different: don't expect any hard questions in here.
MAY 21 Here's another post from blogger Tom Aswell about the "course choice" program. He's already reported on kids being signed up without their consent or knowledge, and has more here: For example, he tells of a six-year-old who was signed up for high school Latin. He also digs a little deeper into the sister companies of the main one operating in Louisiana; all of them seem to have complaints against them. Stinky.
MAY 21 Given the 80 percent cut in higher ed funding since he's been in office, it's clear Gov. Jindal would rather give tax cuts to out of state companies than have a functioning system, blogger Dayne Sherman argues in this post. The cuts have been such a disaster, Sherman says, that it will take 30 years to fix what's been broken. He says he believes the aim is to shut down most of the schools before Jindal leaves in 2016.
MAY 21 Blogger CB Forgotston says there are too many elections in Louisiana, and they're costing us too much money. The proof is in the pudding: turnout for most of these nonsensical pollings gets worse and worse, CB opines, even as millions of dollars that could be spent on health care or higher ed go down the tubes. The legislature must take action to stem the tide of pointless elections, he says.
MAY 21 Here's an interesting investigative piece by WVUE on the retirement benefits of some Jefferson Parish public employees. According to the story, the taxpayers are paying 100 percent of the retirement contributions of employees who started work prior to a certain date in April 1986 -- and have done for more than 30 years. It costs the parish millions annually, and might not be legal, the story reports.
MAY 21 This post on Bayou Buzz provides insight from Louisiana's intrepid pollster, Bernie Pinsonat, on the winners and losers from this year's legislative session. But to hear Bernie tell it, there's almost nuttin but losers: Jindal, the Republican party, the Fiscal Hawks all get big goose eggs in his win column.
MAY 20 This post on The Lens takes a look at a huge (either $500K or $250K) bill that one NOLA charter now has for school lunches. The RSD says the charter group didn't fill out the proper paperwork for federal reimbursement, but the story details how the RSD didn't ensure the people running the charter had the proper training, despite requests from hapless charter employees trying to fill out forms. Either way, somebody's asleep at the wheel.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.