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PAPERS PLEASE

1/29/2022, 2:27 PM

PAPERS PLEASE

The Budget preparation process is currently underway and the Ranch has posted on their website the “Associations-Budget/Financial Documents.” However, there is one financial document missing-IRS FORM 990.

The IRS FORM 990 is a required financial document that must be filed annually by all U.S. tax- exempt nonprofits along with all related supporting documents. Additionally, it is a significant part of the overall financial reporting process.

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The IRS uses the 990 Form/Filing as a tracking system to ensure the organization is in compliance, as well as, evaluates how the organization is doing financially. It has been also described as a “report card” for a nonprofit that allows the government to determine whether the organization is a reliable and honest entity.

Additionally, Form 990 can explain a lot about the inner workings of an organization beyond the typical financial data entries. The Form addresses non-financial matters regarding the management, governance and programs associated with the organizations existence.

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Crooked River Ranch (CRR) is a 501(c)4 entity and is federally mandated to file FORM 990 annually. According IRS regulations, a 501(c) 4 is described as a “social welfare organization” that “must operate primarily to further the common good and general welfare of the people of the community.”

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IRS rules requires all 990’s to be made public and available immediately for public inspection during regular business hours and without charge. At most, the requester would only have to pay for copies printed.

Included in the Form 990, Section B. Policies, 11a states: “Has the organization provided a complete copy of this Form 990 to all members of its governing body before filing this form? The Ranch always answers, “YES.”

The Form 990 is a financial document that RM has monitored for the past several years. We’ve routinely asked for copies and have discovered a lot of confusion, misinformation and avoidance at the Administration level.

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Last Thursday (1/27/22), Ranch Matters stopped by the Administration building and asked the receptionist for a copy of the most recent available 990 on file. She was cordial, but unaware of the Form 990 and related disclosure requirements and asked the Ranch bookkeeper to assist us. The bookkeeper stated she has “access to that information, but not the authority to hand them out..” While trying to discuss the matter with the bookkeeper she walked away throwing her hands up in the air, but then turned around and said, “Is it written in our BY-LAWS?” We explained the request is based on federal rules and not corporate internal documents. We were referred to Ranch Manager Judy Lapora who was unavailable and off until Tuesday, February 1.

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As stated above, the 990 is used somewhat as a “report card” by the government and members, to determine whether an organization is a reliable and honest entity.

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RELIABLE & HONEST

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REWIND

On September 14, 2017, former Ranch President, Dave Palmer signed and submitted along with Ranch CPA, Zachary L. Harmon, IRS FORM 990, for the tax year 2016, to the IRS.

This particular FORM 990 included a SCHEDULE O-“Supplemental Information to FORM 990 that includes subsections with questions. PART VI, LINE 7A, states: “ANNUAL ELECTIONS ARE HELD TO VOTE FOR BOARD MEMBERS…”. Further it states: A VOTE OF THE MEMBERS IS REQUIRED TO CHANGE THE ASSOCIATION BYLAWS.”

PART VI, LINE 7B, states: IF CHANGES TO THE BYLAWS ARE APPROVED, THE CHANGES MUST BE VOTED ON BY THE MEMBERS.”

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The Ranch Answered: “NO MEMBER POLICY VOTES OCCURRED IN THE CURRENT TAX YEAR.”

PART VI, LINE 11B discusses the REVIEW PROCESS and specifically states: DRAFT COPIES OF THE FORM 990 ARE APPROVED TO THE BOARD FOR THEIR REVIEW BEFORE THE RETURN IS FINALIZED.”

Excerpted FORM 990/2016

The above referenced 2016 FORM 990 clearly reflects: “NO MEMBER POLICY VOTES OCCURRED IN THE CURRENT (2016) TAX YEAR.” ?

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Continuing, on April 28, 2017, former President Palmer and former Ranch Director/Secretary, Paula Bartolomei signed and recorded with the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office, the official record confirming there was an election in 2016 that AMENDED THE BYLAWS.

Interestingly, in a letter dated August 2, 2016, addressed to Dahlen & Associates CPA’s (Dahlen managed the 2016 election process) and signed by former Ranch President, George (Mitch) Mitchener, Ranch Manager Judy Lapora and accountant, Annie Nyars, they stated: “We understand that management is responsible for the Associations choice of filing Form 990 and 990-T and the consequences therefore.”

Ranch Matters Staff