The controversial Council for Islamic-American Relations (CAIR) has officially lost its tax-exempt status. Earlier this month, the organization appeared on the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) list of over 275,000 non-profit organizations that were purged for not filing necessary paperwork. The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) has more regarding why these non-profits, including CAIR, were removed:
The groups failed to file required annual reports, known as form 990s, detailing their revenues and expenses, for three consecutive years. CAIR had been a non-profit on its own, but in 2007, the IRS approved a separate tax-exempt CAIR Foundation. The foundation never filed any subsequent reports. Both the foundation and CAIR national are on the purge list.
The IRS believes that most of the groups listed are no longer operational, but for those who clearly still plan to function (CAIR being one of them), a re-application process has been implemented.
Despite no longer being a tax-exempt organization (at least for the time being), CAIR is still touting donations to the organization as "tax-deductible." Below, see a screenshot taken of the group's web site earlier today:
According to Guidestar, an expert resource on non-profits, any organization that has had its non-profit tax status revoked, must do the following:
...file a federal tax return and pay federal income taxes. Those that previously could accept tax-deductible contributions are no longer eligible to do so. (They can still accept donations, but the donations won't be deductible.)
To regain its exempt status, CAIR must file the missing three annual reports, along with a new application for exempt status. Finally, it must explain why it failed to file the 990s for three consecutive years and explain any new procedures which will ensure future compliance.
Any donation made to the organization prior to the IRS' listing is considered tax-deductible, but, according to the IRS, "...organizations that are on the auto-revocation list that do not receive reinstatement are no longer eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions, and any income they receive may be taxable."
The Blaze spoke with Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR's Director of Communications, via phone earlier today. When asked about the IRS listing, Hooper was more than aware of it. He said, "It's a technical issue...our accountant is dealing with it."
Hooper said that the group never received any notification from the IRS prior to the listing, seeming to indicate that the organization's placement on the IRS list was an accident or error.
When asked about why his organization was still asking for tax-exempt gifts on the group's web site if they aren't in good standing, Hooper said, "I don't know the exact details of our standing or anything like that, but we're working on it with the IRS." Below, see another tax-exempt-touting screen shot from the group's web site:
In a call with an IRS official, The Blaze verified that CAIR's tax-exempt status has, indeed, been auto-revoked. Again, the organization's purported failure to produce basic forms regarding funding and activities is potentially concerning.
In the past, CAIR's executive director, Nihad Awad, has been accused of supporting Hamas. The non-profit's activities and viewpoints are seen by some as immensely controversial. If allegations waged against the group are true, it is concerning that the proper tax forms have allegedly not been filed. In a press release put out by Christopher Holton and Sarah Pavlis of the Center for Security Policy last October, the two wrote the following:
CAIR is a Muslim Brotherhood (MB) organization, the Muslim Brotherhood being the original Jihadist organization founded in 1928 in Egypt. The MB is the political wing of the global Jihadist insurgency, with groups like Al Qaeda, HAMAS, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Abu Sayyaf, and Jemmah Islamiyah being the military wing of that insurgency.
To make an analogy, Al Qaeda is the equivalent of the Waffen SS and the Muslim Brotherhood is the equivalent of the Nazi party.
CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest successful terrorism financing prosecution in U.S. history, the U.S. versus the Holy Land Foundation.
CAIR was co-founded in 1994 by Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmad, both of whom were working for the now-defunct Islamic Association for Palestine, which was the Jihadist terrorist group HAMAS’ American affiliate.
That brings up even more concerns that the group has allegedly failed to file the correct documentation. The 990, one of those documents mentioned earlier, is a required tax document that non-profits must submit each year. According to Guidestar, the document includes an organization's "mission, programs, and finances." Considering that CAIR has come under severe scrutiny for its activities and funders, it is slightly offsetting that the organization has allegedly not filed this form for three years.
Hooper declined to address why the organization had allegedly missed filing the 990 forms.
In the end, CAIR insists that it is merely a civil rights organization that fights for the rights of American Muslims. Others, though, disagree fervently. This latest tax issue, while it may not be indicative of any foul play, certainly does create some questions about donations, finances and the like.