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Wrongly listed as director on Form 990 Now what

Wrongly listed as director on Form 990 Now what

Your Legal Questions Answered

A member of a nonprofit corporation was listed on the Form 990 tax return as a board member of the organization, even though she only helped peripherally and was not a director. How can she get her name removed from the 990? And how she can report this if the organization refuses to do that themselves?

She should start by asking the organization what happened to see if they are willing to voluntarily correct the situation.  They can’t remove her name from the return, but they can file an amended return and note the error.

I am always concerned when an organization gets its board list wrong.  There have been a lot of cases in which the list has been exaggerated (or fabricated) to give credibility to a shaky operation, and it is not a good idea to be listed in that kind of situation.  Therefore the explanation for the error is important.  If she isn’t satisfied and the organization is unwilling to amend the return, she should check with others on the list to see if any of them is in the same situation.

If the organization won’t file an amended return voluntarily, she could sue to force them to do so. But even if it were successful, it could be extremely expensive and time-consuming.  As an alternative, after warning them what she intends to do and giving them a second chance to act, she can complain to the IRS — and to any state charitable registration bureau with which it is registered — that the organization has filed a materially false return.  I wouldn’t expect it to be hugely effective, but it might be hugely satisfying.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

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