By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
A local charity is working to restore its tax-exempt status and licensing following the resignation of its executive director.
The public learned recently that the United Way of the Virginias had lost its tax- exempt status and state licensing, two requirements that are necessary if an organization wants to solicit and accept charitable contributions. The United Way is now working with the Secretary of State’s Office to regain its status. The organization’s executive director, Michelle Carter, submitted her resignation.
“The statement we are making is the United Way of the Virginias is working diligently on our tax-exempt status and state licensing. Michelle Carter has resigned and we are in a holding mode until our tax exempt status and state licensing is reinstated,” Gary Denardo, the organization’s president, said Monday.
Carter declined to comment Monday.
In December 2008, the United Way of the Virginias lost both its tax-exempt status and its charity registration. These losses occurred because the organization had not filed the necessary reports, said Jake Glance, a spokesperson with the Secretary of State’s Office.
The United Way must also register annually as a charity with the Internal Revenue Service by submitting a 990 form. This form is attached to the documentation sent to the Secretary of State’s Office; however, the IRS had not received this form since 2008.
Charities must file with the state if they receive $25,000 or more a year in contributions. The United Way met this requirement every year since 2008, Glance said.
After computing late filing fees and registration fees for each year, the Secretary of State’s Office ruled the United Way owed $1,525. Denardo said the United Way has now provided the secretary of state with the necessary documents and fees.
“Actually, that has been submitted and the check has been submitted, “ Denardo said. “That was one day last week. I do know as soon as we found out and it was brought to the attention of the board, the check was submitted and all the paperwork. We’re waiting to hear back from them. We were told once that was done, we would be reinstated.”
The United Way is not accepting donations until its charitable status is restored. An ongoing fund campaign has been suspended.
“No, we are in a holding mode,” Denardo said. “As long as we don’t have a 501C3 status, we can’t accept donations.”
He added the United Way has contacted the IRS, which had been closed during the recent federal shutdown, and resubmitted the necessary 990 forms.
The United Way, which now works with 23 agencies, is not seeking a new executive director at this time.
“We are basically trying to get this all straightened out before we move forward,” Denardo said. “The United Way does such a great job for the local people. There are so many people in need and we help so many people and agencies, and we fund so many of the agencies. They do so much in the area. It’s a shame this has come up and basically stopped us as far as moving on with our funding and all of our help. There are so many people in need and their needs don’t stop. It’s hard to have your hands tied when people are begging you for heat and food.”