Skip to comments.IRS to Audit Nature Conservancy from Inside
Posted on 01/16/2004 11:30:40 PM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
A team of IRS examiners will move into the global headquarters of the Nature Conservancy in Arlington to begin auditing the charity, the world's largest environmental organization.
A letter sent to the Conservancy by the Internal Revenue Service last month indicates that the audit will be of uncommon scope for a charity, tax specialists said. The memorandum proposes a preliminary meeting between four IRS examiners and the Conservancy's chief financial officer to discuss logistics, communications, telephone access, equipment and accommodations. The IRS will examine 2002 tax returns, the letter said.
"It is unusual," said former IRS commissioner Donald C. Alexander, now a private tax lawyer. "This is an extraordinary case. . . . It is an indication of a pretty strong audit."
Conservancy spokesman James R. Petterson said officials there have not been told the scope of the examination or its genesis. In a statement on the group's Web site, the Conservancy promised to cooperate fully and provide examiners with workspace, equipment and telephones "as needed."
An IRS spokesman declined to comment. Alexander and other specialists said such an audit could take a year or longer.
"If they go into General Motors, this is what they do," said attorney Sheldon Cohen, a former chief counsel and commissioner of the IRS. "This is a major audit, of consequence."
Live-in IRS auditors have become a fact of life at some Fortune 500 conglomerates but remain rare at nonprofit corporations, the specialists said. The charity has assets of more than $3 billion and ranks as the eighth largest nonprofit of any type in the nation.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
The stories also reported that the Conservancy had repeatedly bought land, added some development restrictions, then resold the properties at reduced prices to its trustees and other supporters. The buyers made cash gifts to the Conservancy roughly equal to the difference in price, thereby qualifying for substantial tax deductions.
Dang! That's bad!
Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this list.
I don't get offended if you want to be removed.
If this is taxes with reprsentation
Give me taxes without representation
I much prefer a tax on tea!
Instead of everything else.
Sad thing is, unless they discover criminal activity (which, with the idiot laws we have on the books I doubt) we'll never hear anything about what is found. :^)
CO, I know that this is a topic of very special interest to you and that you've identified this kind of corruption in such "CONservancy programs in the past. Got any insights to add for FR readers, that this story misses?
You wouldn't expect what was originally an agency of the British Crown, rapidly stealing land with the help of the US government, would need bother with annoyances like accountability, would you?
January 7, 2004
Dear Rural Landowner,
Every landowner in the Clark Fork and Pend Oreille River watershed knows that his or her piece of land is special. You value your land and your way of life and feel that your land and your lifestyle should be preserved. Many people would like to live in Sanders County, Montana or Bonner County, Idaho and both counties have experienced rapid growth in the last ten years. What can be done to make sure that we will always have clean water, scenic landscapes and abundant wildlife? Consider working with a land trust to permanently protect land that has scenic, cultural or natural resource values.
A land trust is a nonprofit, tax-exempt, organization that works in partnership with private landowners to protect land in perpetuity. You are receiving this letter because we want you to know that a new land trust has formed in your watershed. The Clark Fork-Pend Oreille Conservancy is a regional land trust, run by local people, who know and understand the unique resources of our area.
Land trusts typically use conservation easements to permanently protect land. A conservation easement is a legal contract between a landowner and an organization that restricts some land uses, while allowing others. The land stays in private ownership and the owner is compensated for giving up some land use rights by receiving a Federal tax deduction, or in some cases, a cash payment. A conservation easement can also significantly lower estate taxes, which allows heirs to keep land that they inherit, instead of being forced to sell. There are many ways to combine estate planning with land conservation and easements can be custom-tailored to meet your needs, while also protecting resources. Please consult your attorney or call us to learn more about conservation easements and land preservation.
Protecting land today, will improve our quality of life in the future.
Executive Director, Clark Fork-Pend Oreille Conservancy
208-263-9471 or toll free at 866-293-6706
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