501(c)(3) and why it's important by Wes "Brigham" Clark
501(c)(3) and why it's important
by Wes "Brigham" Clark
For years, now, the officers and members of WSRFC have considered incorporation to gain certain benefits to the club and its members, namely, legal protection as a corporation and the tax deduction benefits of tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service. This hasn't been done because of a belief that filing the paperwork requires several thousands of dollars and assistance from a lawyer.
The fact is, the appropriate paperwork can be filed using the forms and guides provided by the Virginia State Corporation Commission and the IRS. (And help from a CPA like Pete "Rover" Murphy doesn't hurt, eitherů)
The intention of the 1999-2000 officers of the club is to incorporate Western Suburbs as a domestic, not-for-profit corporation in the State of Virginia. Then, we will fill out the necessary paperwork to be granted tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Other rugby organizations have successfully done this; the Washington Irish RFC in Washington, D.C. and the Virginia Rugby Union (VRU) are two such organizations.
There are a number of direct benefits of Western Suburbs being a 501(c)(3) corporation:
Benefits bring responsibilities. The treasurer should give you a receipt for any donation you make to the club for your tax records. Also, as a corporation, the WSRFC should prepare income tax forms every April. While this is not currently necessary until we manage to raise more than $25,000 in the previous taxable year, it is a good idea. So the treasurer the club elects every December is an important person, and must be responsible. Also, every February the club must pay a $25 fee to the State Corporation Commission to maintain our corporate status. (See the notice.)
On 2 December 1999 Pete Murphy received Western Suburbs' employer identification number from the IRS. (Click here for the original paperwork.)
On 7 January 2000 I mailed the incorporation paperwork to the State Corporation Commission in Richmond.
I received a letter from the SCC indicating that article three of the SCC form was incomplete. So I corrected it to mention that the club members elect the incoming Board of Directors and remailed the paperwork on 1/21/00.
On the 4th of February I received the incorporation paperwork back from the State Corporation Commission - as of 2/2/2000 we are now Western Suburbs Rugby Football Club, Inc. The corporation paperwork is stored in a subdirectory here. The next step is to create the paperwork for the IRS for 501(c)(3) status.
I prepared the forms and mailed the paperwork (forms 1023, 8718 and two copies of 872-C along with copies of the articles of incorporation from the state) to the IRS on 8 March. The IRS paperwork is stored in the 501(c)(3)subdirectory here.
On March 27th I received this form from the IRS, which indicates they're received our application and are working on it.
On April 22nd I got a letter from the IRS requesting additional information about Western Suburbs; I have until 10 May to provide this information.
8 May 2000: Mailed off the response to the letter I received from the IRS. You can read it here. Now the ball is back in the IRS's court...
18 July 2000: Growing curious at the delay, I gave the IRS a call to learn that the person they had working on our case left the IRS, and a replacement hadn't been named yet. So, I talked to the manager and got the name of the person who would be taking over the case. Maybe we'll see some action.
19 July 2000: Talked to the IRS guy in charge of making a ruling on our application. He needs to see evidence that WSRFC, Inc. is a sanctioned member of a national organization and that the sanction is necessary to play rugby. Talking it over with him, I have agreed to FAX him: 1) A copy of my current CIPP card (good thing I have one!), 2) A blank CIPP application form from US Rugby, 3) A statement from me indicating that members must have CIPP registration in order to play with WSRFC, and 4) A letter from US Rugby on US Rugby letterhead indicating that WSRFC is a sanctioned member of the national organization, and that clubs and members must be sanctioned to play rugby union in the US. (Note that none of this is described as being necessary in any previous communications with the IRS.) I am assembling this information now, and will FAX it out probably tomorrow, depending upon how quickly I get the faxed letter from US Rugby.
21 July 2000: After getting the letter I needed from US Rugby FAX'ed to me, I sent the items above to the IRS. The ball is back in their court. I will make some phone calls this time to keep the pressure on them.
29 July 2000: Done at last! I got the letter from the IRS indicating that our 501(c)(3) status is approved. The letter is here: page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4, signed form 872-c. All the incorporation and IRS paperwork is posted as links on this page, but I will make paper copies to give to the officers (Erickson, Murray, Loesel, Hough and me) and selected Old Boys (Watkins, Herrity, Harpold) so that the information isn't lost.
8 January 2001: Posted the 2001 annual report for the state corporation commission to the 501c3 section. This is how we tell the state that the officers have been changed. A $25 check goes with it; this keeps us incorporated.
12 February 2001: Notified the State Corporation Commission of a change in the officer ranks. Click here.
1 March 2001: The SCC sent me forms I filled out and returned - same information as above. page one, page two.
16 March 2001: We're working on our first income tax filing. Technically we don't have to file unless we've made more than $25,000 in the year, but we think it's a good idea anyway. Keeps us legit. By the way, we have seen some benefits associated with 501c3. We get half price rental with Fairfax County Parks and Recreation of the South Run Rec Center fieldhouse, where we practice. Normally it's $70/hour - we pay $35. So the effort has been worthwhile.
11 May 2001: Posted the 2000 tax paperwork (forms 990ez) here.
28 June 2001: Received a form 941 from the IRS to send in. Since we have no employees I have sent a letter indicating this. The letter is here.
22 February 2002: Posted the 2002 annual report for the state corporation commission to the 501c3 section. This is how we tell the state that the officers have been changed. A $25 check goes with it; this keeps us incorporated. Files are page one, page two, and page three.
Warning! Being the registered agent of a corporation results in getting your name put on some commercial junk mailing lists. So far, I have received an offer to purchase Western Suburbs pens (I call this one "the Western Suburbs Treaty Pen"), the Western Suburbs Rugby Foo Credit Card and GMC medium commercial trucks. I'm sure more is coming.
And they are! Here's another Western Football, Inc. treaty pen, with puzzling cartoon.
My wife, sorting through the mail, asked, "Why in the hell are we getting this?," and then stared at me accusingly when she read the address: "Facilities Maintenance - Western Suburbs Rugby Football Club, Inc."