Iowa City nonprofit, Center for Worker Justice, fined 20K

jamesvanderwulf

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Nov 27, 2015
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An Iowa City nonprofit that has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in pandemic relief funds through local governments paid $20,000 in penalties to the IRS for late tax filings.
The Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa paid the IRS three penalties totaling $20,000 for missing deadlines for filing tax forms for 2018, 2019 and 2020, treasurer Charlie Eastham said Monday.
The nonprofit also briefly lost its federal taxexempt status, which allows donations to the group to be tax deductible. But Eastham said the IRS reversed that decision after the returns were submitted electronically.
“The CWJ, through the pandemic, provided assistance to local families that wasn’t available to them anywhere else,” Eastham told The Gazette. “During the course of that, we found ourselves late in filing some of our returns.”
Eastham, who volunteers about 10 hours a week on the center board, also is a member of the Iowa City Community School District school board.
During COVID-19, the Center for Worker Justice has served as a clearinghouse for public and private grants and private donations. It helped get cash payments to people who were essential workers, but who missed out on other government aid for reasons that could include being undocumented or previously incarcerated.
Iowa City and Johnson County in 2020 allocated a combined $65,000 to a center administered program called From Our Home to Yours that provided up to $600 for food, rent or mortgage, utilities, health care or child care to qualified applicants, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported in July 2020.
The Johnson County Board of Supervisors voted in June to give the center $135,000 over five years to help fund a bilingual wage theft organizer, the Daily Iowan reported. North Liberty contributed $35,000, Coralville $40,000 over five years and Iowa City $115,000 over five years, the newspaper reported.
The Center for Worker Justice, started in 2012, has filed Form 990 tax returns as required every year, Eastham said, but was late in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
“We were aware we had not been able to get our 990s filed by the relevant due dates,” he said.
Eastham filed the tax forms on paper with explanations of why they were late, he said, but because of a backlog of opening mail at the IRS, those explanations were not received and the IRS moved toward automatic revocation of the group’s tax-exempt status.
“Organizations that do not file for three consecutive years automatically lose their tax-exempt status,” the IRS reports online.
Center staff and board members also tried fruitlessly to get through to the IRS by phone, Eastham said.
The IRS media office said Monday it was prohibited by law from discussing any taxpayer’s status. However, an updated database of taxexempt organizations by state showed the Center for Worker Justice on Iowa’s list of nonprofits.
The IRS, underfunded for the last decade, has acknowledged delays in opening mail and answering phone calls, especially during the pandemic. The agency has been encouraging electronic filing for years, warning online paper filings may take six months to process.
The Inflation Reduction Act passed in August provides $80 billion to the agency over 10 years with the goal of generating more than $320 billion from unpaid taxes.
The Center for Worker Justice did not explicitly report the IRS penalty to government agency funders, Eastham said. But the fine is included on its profit and loss statements, which are publicly available, he said.
Iowa City Manager Geoff Fruin said Monday his office was “not aware of any late tax filings, lapses in 501c3 status or related penalties” for the Center for Worker Justice so he would not comment.
The center paid the $20,000 in fines with private donations, not government funds, Eastham said.
“We, obviously, were not in favor of using funds we did have to pay penalties, but the IRS wasn’t providing any options,” he said. Since the penalty, the center has submitted all required tax forms electronically and is working with an accountant to handle future filings, Eastham said.
Mazahir Salih, the center’s executive director and former Iowa City Council member, confirmed the IRS penalty but referred further questions to Eastham.
The organization has two full-time employees and two or three part-time employees, Eastham said.
The Gazette reported in 2021 Cedar Rapids arts organization CSPS lost its tax-exempt status for failing to file tax returns in 2018, 2019 and 2020. The IRS alerted CSPS in July its tax-exempt status had been restored.

Remember this and vote Phil Hemingway for Johnson County Supervisor. Giving county taxpayer funds to be wasted by incompetent people is BAU in JC. Time for a change...
 
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Pinehawk

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Hemingway has run and lost more times that Marianette Miller-Meeks. Just a punching bag.

But, there is something strange about the Center for Worker Justice. Not really sure what's going on over there.
 

Hawki97

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Dec 16, 2001
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Iowa City, IA
An Iowa City nonprofit that has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in pandemic relief funds through local governments paid $20,000 in penalties to the IRS for late tax filings.
The Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa paid the IRS three penalties totaling $20,000 for missing deadlines for filing tax forms for 2018, 2019 and 2020, treasurer Charlie Eastham said Monday.
The nonprofit also briefly lost its federal taxexempt status, which allows donations to the group to be tax deductible. But Eastham said the IRS reversed that decision after the returns were submitted electronically.
“The CWJ, through the pandemic, provided assistance to local families that wasn’t available to them anywhere else,” Eastham told The Gazette. “During the course of that, we found ourselves late in filing some of our returns.”
Eastham, who volunteers about 10 hours a week on the center board, also is a member of the Iowa City Community School District school board.
During COVID-19, the Center for Worker Justice has served as a clearinghouse for public and private grants and private donations. It helped get cash payments to people who were essential workers, but who missed out on other government aid for reasons that could include being undocumented or previously incarcerated.
Iowa City and Johnson County in 2020 allocated a combined $65,000 to a center administered program called From Our Home to Yours that provided up to $600 for food, rent or mortgage, utilities, health care or child care to qualified applicants, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported in July 2020.
The Johnson County Board of Supervisors voted in June to give the center $135,000 over five years to help fund a bilingual wage theft organizer, the Daily Iowan reported. North Liberty contributed $35,000, Coralville $40,000 over five years and Iowa City $115,000 over five years, the newspaper reported.
The Center for Worker Justice, started in 2012, has filed Form 990 tax returns as required every year, Eastham said, but was late in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
“We were aware we had not been able to get our 990s filed by the relevant due dates,” he said.
Eastham filed the tax forms on paper with explanations of why they were late, he said, but because of a backlog of opening mail at the IRS, those explanations were not received and the IRS moved toward automatic revocation of the group’s tax-exempt status.
“Organizations that do not file for three consecutive years automatically lose their tax-exempt status,” the IRS reports online.
Center staff and board members also tried fruitlessly to get through to the IRS by phone, Eastham said.
The IRS media office said Monday it was prohibited by law from discussing any taxpayer’s status. However, an updated database of taxexempt organizations by state showed the Center for Worker Justice on Iowa’s list of nonprofits.
The IRS, underfunded for the last decade, has acknowledged delays in opening mail and answering phone calls, especially during the pandemic. The agency has been encouraging electronic filing for years, warning online paper filings may take six months to process.
The Inflation Reduction Act passed in August provides $80 billion to the agency over 10 years with the goal of generating more than $320 billion from unpaid taxes.
The Center for Worker Justice did not explicitly report the IRS penalty to government agency funders, Eastham said. But the fine is included on its profit and loss statements, which are publicly available, he said.
Iowa City Manager Geoff Fruin said Monday his office was “not aware of any late tax filings, lapses in 501c3 status or related penalties” for the Center for Worker Justice so he would not comment.
The center paid the $20,000 in fines with private donations, not government funds, Eastham said.
“We, obviously, were not in favor of using funds we did have to pay penalties, but the IRS wasn’t providing any options,” he said. Since the penalty, the center has submitted all required tax forms electronically and is working with an accountant to handle future filings, Eastham said.
Mazahir Salih, the center’s executive director and former Iowa City Council member, confirmed the IRS penalty but referred further questions to Eastham.
The organization has two full-time employees and two or three part-time employees, Eastham said.
The Gazette reported in 2021 Cedar Rapids arts organization CSPS lost its tax-exempt status for failing to file tax returns in 2018, 2019 and 2020. The IRS alerted CSPS in July its tax-exempt status had been restored.

Remember this and vote Phil Hemingway for Johnson County Supervisor. Giving county taxpayer funds to be wasted by incompetent people is BAU in JC. Time for a change...

I actually don't think Phil for Supervisor is a bad thing in the People's Republic of Johnson County. That said, sweet baby jesus keep his ass away from the school board from here on out.
 
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Hawki97

HR Heisman
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Dec 16, 2001
9,698
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113
Iowa City, IA
An Iowa City nonprofit that has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in pandemic relief funds through local governments paid $20,000 in penalties to the IRS for late tax filings.
The Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa paid the IRS three penalties totaling $20,000 for missing deadlines for filing tax forms for 2018, 2019 and 2020, treasurer Charlie Eastham said Monday.
The nonprofit also briefly lost its federal taxexempt status, which allows donations to the group to be tax deductible. But Eastham said the IRS reversed that decision after the returns were submitted electronically.
“The CWJ, through the pandemic, provided assistance to local families that wasn’t available to them anywhere else,” Eastham told The Gazette. “During the course of that, we found ourselves late in filing some of our returns.”
Eastham, who volunteers about 10 hours a week on the center board, also is a member of the Iowa City Community School District school board.
During COVID-19, the Center for Worker Justice has served as a clearinghouse for public and private grants and private donations. It helped get cash payments to people who were essential workers, but who missed out on other government aid for reasons that could include being undocumented or previously incarcerated.
Iowa City and Johnson County in 2020 allocated a combined $65,000 to a center administered program called From Our Home to Yours that provided up to $600 for food, rent or mortgage, utilities, health care or child care to qualified applicants, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported in July 2020.
The Johnson County Board of Supervisors voted in June to give the center $135,000 over five years to help fund a bilingual wage theft organizer, the Daily Iowan reported. North Liberty contributed $35,000, Coralville $40,000 over five years and Iowa City $115,000 over five years, the newspaper reported.
The Center for Worker Justice, started in 2012, has filed Form 990 tax returns as required every year, Eastham said, but was late in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
“We were aware we had not been able to get our 990s filed by the relevant due dates,” he said.
Eastham filed the tax forms on paper with explanations of why they were late, he said, but because of a backlog of opening mail at the IRS, those explanations were not received and the IRS moved toward automatic revocation of the group’s tax-exempt status.
“Organizations that do not file for three consecutive years automatically lose their tax-exempt status,” the IRS reports online.
Center staff and board members also tried fruitlessly to get through to the IRS by phone, Eastham said.
The IRS media office said Monday it was prohibited by law from discussing any taxpayer’s status. However, an updated database of taxexempt organizations by state showed the Center for Worker Justice on Iowa’s list of nonprofits.
The IRS, underfunded for the last decade, has acknowledged delays in opening mail and answering phone calls, especially during the pandemic. The agency has been encouraging electronic filing for years, warning online paper filings may take six months to process.
The Inflation Reduction Act passed in August provides $80 billion to the agency over 10 years with the goal of generating more than $320 billion from unpaid taxes.
The Center for Worker Justice did not explicitly report the IRS penalty to government agency funders, Eastham said. But the fine is included on its profit and loss statements, which are publicly available, he said.
Iowa City Manager Geoff Fruin said Monday his office was “not aware of any late tax filings, lapses in 501c3 status or related penalties” for the Center for Worker Justice so he would not comment.
The center paid the $20,000 in fines with private donations, not government funds, Eastham said.
“We, obviously, were not in favor of using funds we did have to pay penalties, but the IRS wasn’t providing any options,” he said. Since the penalty, the center has submitted all required tax forms electronically and is working with an accountant to handle future filings, Eastham said.
Mazahir Salih, the center’s executive director and former Iowa City Council member, confirmed the IRS penalty but referred further questions to Eastham.
The organization has two full-time employees and two or three part-time employees, Eastham said.
The Gazette reported in 2021 Cedar Rapids arts organization CSPS lost its tax-exempt status for failing to file tax returns in 2018, 2019 and 2020. The IRS alerted CSPS in July its tax-exempt status had been restored.

Remember this and vote Phil Hemingway for Johnson County Supervisor. Giving county taxpayer funds to be wasted by incompetent people is BAU in JC. Time for a change...

Phil just got my vote. And Jon Green. Let the calamity ensue!
 

GOHOX69

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Sep 26, 2009
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Unfortunately a lot of non-profits are poorly run. Gives the rest a bad name. You really have to do some due diligence before you donate to these groups and charities unless you want to see your donation pissed away.
I agree with you sweetness. This is why I like my across the aisle reach with @BustingNarratives , @jamesvanderwulf (minus the heinous cardinals), and @NCHawk5
 
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I agree with you sweetness. This is why I like my across the aisle reach with @BustingNarratives , @jamesvanderwulf (minus the heinous cardinals), and @NCHawk5
We all brothers from different mothers.

Season 2 Episode 20 GIF by The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
 
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Hawki97

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Dec 16, 2001
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Iowa City, IA
I play euchre with Jon and his wife. He’s a little different. Drinks Hamms, and the cowboy hat…
Phil rents our warehouse. He’ll represent the county, the other 4 the city…

I’ve drank beers with Jon - he is an interesting cat. And he likes his beers. I’m surprised you don’t view him as county advocate as well.

I completely agree with you on Phil. He’s a perfect balance (I used the word foil in another thread) for Rod and RoyceAnn in particular. I did not like him on the school board, but I think he’s a perfect fit for this group as it is currently staffed.

Edit to add: I bet Jon’s the kind of euchre player sitting with queen / 9 and tells his non-partner dealer to pick up the ace. NTTAWWT. Am I right?
 
Last edited:

Pinehawk

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Sep 16, 2003
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It seems like everyone has had beers with Jon.
I don’t think Phil would be a good Supervisor, but someone does need to counter Rod and Royceann.