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Deadline Looms for Tax-Exempt Groups

The clock is ticking for many local charities to file with the IRS to retain their tax-exempt status. Oct. 15 is the deadline for each organization to register; otherwise, it will lose its tax exemption, which provides such benefits as being allowed to purchase goods without paying sales tax.

Formerly, nonprofits weren't required to file returns if they collected less than $25,000 in nongrant contributions. That changed in 2006. Starting in tax year 2007, all organizations – no matter how small – have had to report to the Internal Revenue Service. They lose their tax exemptions automatically if they fail to file for three straight years. Originally, tax returns were due not later than May 17. The IRS extended the deadline because so many nonprofits hadn't gotten the message. Online filing is easy – just look here.

There are about 70 organizations in Norwalk on the IRS list as needing to register. However, not all of them belong there and some may not even exist.

For instance, the Silvermine Community Association appears, but according to its treasurer Sue Palinkos, that's an error. "I went online to make sure we were up to snuff, and was shocked to see our name there," she said.

"The EIN [Employee Identification Number] that's listed hasn't been used in ages," Palinkos said. "It's from when the association was originally formed. It was reorganized and reregistered back in the '60s. But the old one was never deleted by the government. I've been the treasurer for over 30 years, and I didn't even know about that number." Palinkos said that many other groups listed may have disbanded or stopped functioning. "They may operate for a few years and then just lose interest or whatever, and the people involved just stop," she said.

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