NOM Skirts IRS Regulations on Disclosure of Tax Returns

In the current issue of the Washington Blade, Lou Chibbaro interviews Brian Brown, the executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, the anti-gay group behind Proposition 8. The interview contains this gem:

"Brown promised to release to the Blade NOM’s 2007 IRS 990 finance reporting form and said the group also would release its 2008 990 form as soon as it completes its processing. He said the group submitted the 2008 report to the IRS last Friday."

NOM's finances are a complete mystery, and the group seems intent on keeping it that way for as long as possible. But there's just one problem -- there's no such thing as a "processing" period.

NOM, as with all nonprofits, must make their tax returns -- form 990 -- available to the public. This must be done from the date the 990 "is required to be filed (determined with regard to any extensions)." (see pg 15 of IRS publication 557)

NOM filed for a routine three-month extension to the standard May 15th filing deadline and reportedly filed its 990 on Friday, August 14th. In other words, NOM was required to disclose its 990 when asked by the Blade's Chibbaro.

NOM should know better than to play games with its 990. The group could be fined by the IRS for its conduct and is succeeding only in generating greater interest in its finances.