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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102506
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Not sure whether or not I have sufficient cause to file a

Customer Question

Not sure whether or not I have sufficient cause to file a complaint against a 501c3. I have requested access to 990s' three times and not only was ignored, but it was implied that only directors of the board have access. Not only did I already know the answer, but the President is an attorney and said nothing to my inquiry of the treasurer. There are no financial reports at meetings, much less at the end of the year.
The President and the Secretary are brother and sister. By laws have been ignored resulting in several months without meetings or replacing directors. At our last meeting, the President had to be thwarted from actually appointing successors to two offices without a vote.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I am sorry to hear about this situation. What is your position with the non-profit, exactly? Do you work for it, sit on the Board, etc?

This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am a director or board member, since July. Started attending meetings in April as a result of complaints that I was hearing in my place of business. I'm 69 years old and have worked with a few non-profits in varying capacities.
Didn't mention in my initial question, but the only paid employee as a facitlity manager is also on the board as treasurer and writes checks to himself.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I understand that this may not in and of itself be "illegal", but it sure opens the organization up for wrong-doing.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Apologies, but when you had replied, I was (and currently am) away from the site. If acceptable, I will answer in the evening today. If you cannot wait and must have an answer before then, let me know, and I will opt out to open this up for others.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Am O.K. to wait until Tues.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
My sincere apologies for the wait, I could only get to the site now.
Many non-profits file a 990 form with the IRS at the end of the year. No law exists on a state or federal level that specifically states that "990 forms must be made available for members of the organization."
Public Inspection IRC 6104(d) regulations state that an organization must provide copies of its three most recent Forms 990 to anyone who requests them, whether in person, by mail, fax, or e-mail. See here:
Technically, someone in your situation can bring the Association to Court to produce the last three 990. However, it would be more prudent to get them from the IRS, which has a copy and has to provide it at request. One can use Form 4506-A to request this from the IRS:
Finally, several websites provide 990 forms online for free (acting as a private clearinghouse/watchdog for IRS in this case). They are:
Citizen Audit[
Economic Research Institute
Foundation Center
Let me know if you need links to these websites, as you can likely find the 990 there without even having to file the request with the IRS.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how experts get credit for our time. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars (or failing to submit the rating) does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith with a positive rating.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello again. This is a courtesy check in to see if you needed anything else in regards ***** ***** question because you never responded or replied positively. I am simply touching base. Let me know. Thanks!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was already aware of the 990 information, was more interested in whether or not the examples of conflict of interest would be viewed as red flags or as inappropriate by the IRS.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Not at all. The 990 is public information. Anyone can get it. Which means this includes people who are part of the corporate entity, are in conflict with it, or both. Etc.
Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.