The Internal Revenue Service has “no record of tax-exempt recognition by virtue of an approved application” for the Galvan Initiatives Foundation, according to an I.R.S. rep with whom I spoke directly this afternoon.
A search of the I.R.S. website similarly turns up no indication of any such approval for Galvan, which applied for Federal tax-exempt status in late December of last year.
Generally, New York State groups seeking charitable status go through a two-stage process. The first is incorporation at the State level, which typically is pro forma and automatic if you file all the necessary paperwork and fees. The second is getting approval from the I.R.S.—which can be arduous and lengthy, often taking at least 6-9 months, even if one pays for an expedited review.
Groups which have applied for 501(c)3 status but have not been approved can, in many instances, begin operating right away as a nonprofit while waiting for word from the I.R.S. But they do so at their own peril; contributions and exemptions taken would be jeopardized if the Federal approval is later denied. Many funders will not approve grants to groups who are in this waiting period.
What is not clear is whether grant applications to State or Federal agencies, such as the one to be considered tonight on Galvan and Lantern's behalf by the Hudson Common Council, can even be considered if a group has not yet received its Federal approval.
According to copies of documents available from the State, Galvan Initiatives Foundation has an Employer Identification Number of 45-4110216. Again, the I.R.S. says it has no record of Federal approval of a group with that EIN.
As a final note, citizens who have information pertaining to any pending application (or existing charity) have the opportunity to bring information to the I.R.S.'s attention. The agency has an Exempt Organization Exam Unit to handle concerns and complaints about charities. Their contact information is as follows:
Fax: (214) 413-5415
I.R.S. E.O. Classification
MC 4910 DAL
1100 Commerce Street
Dallas TX 75242