Let’s discuss GARD’s IRS 990s for 2017 and 2018. Please open the 2017 and 2018 IRS 990 PDFs and the Georgia Department of Agriculture Inspection Reports PDF to follow along, or go to the IRS’ charity search page and use EIN# 20-5021466 in the search app at the end of the page to go straight to the IRS 990 source.
Also read Charity Navigator’s suggestions for examining charities with annual incomes of less than one million dollars. It’ll help clarify later points.
Note that this is not a comprehensive review. I’ve seen much in GARD’s IRS filings that raises red flags.
GARD claims their income dropped by $65,233 between 2017 and 2018 ($246,149-$180,916 990 part 1 line 12). Yet we know that in 2018 GARD purchased additional property as reported in the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Inspection Report dated 10/29/2018. Any guesses why GARD suddenly implemented a $10 non-refundable fee for simply reviewing an application with no guarantee of approved? Anyone in the Savannah area who can go to the courthouse and look for the deed transfer to determine how much GARD paid for the additional land?
Back to the IRS. We know from the GA Ag Department that on 12/5/2019 at least eight people were employed by GARD, five full time and three part time (comments section, inspection report dated 12/5/2019.) Yet on the 2018 990, GARD reports zero wages paid (990 part 1 line 15.) It will likely be a year before the IRS uploads GARD’s 2019 990 but looking at the Facebook page of one of their employees they had at least one employee whose wages were not reported to the IRS on the 2018 990. Nor can GARD claim they used 1099 employees as they failed to report any independent contractors at Part 7, Section B line 1.
Do you wonder why? Because GARD doesn’t want to pay the federal and state employer taxes for employees, not to mention Social Security and Medicare taxes which, in light of the low wages, would be more in dollar amount than the federal tax. GARD’s failure to report and pay those taxes is theft from those whom they hire since the aggregate of the employees’ Social Security lifetime earnings will not reflect the true amount earned between age 18 and the federally determined retirement age. It’s not just animal abuse.
Note Part 5 line 2a, where GARD once again indicates no employees and tells the IRS they have not transmitted any W-3s (Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements.) Combined with the blank lines in Part 7 Section B line 1 there is no question about it. The zero amount at Part 1 line 15 is definitely NOT a typo or mistake. It’s intentional deception assuming Chuckie’s Facebook page isn’t lying and one cannot discount that possibility. I doubt that GARD suddenly hired 8 people in 2019 but one must allow for the very remote possibility. I’ll know for certain when the IRS receives and posts GARD’s 2019 990.
Part 8 lines 8a-c report that GARD collected $28,602 from fundraising events in 2018 but they supposedly spent $27,314 on fundraising expenses, leaving $1,288 in actual fundraising revenue. What inept fundraising company are they using? Where did these fundraisers occur and what expenses resulted in such a ridiculous amount? Is this where they’re reporting their many, many Facebook donation requests and if so, what kind of internet service cost them $27,314 a year?
Why didn’t the IRS notice the discrepancy? A couple of reasons. First, these filings have almost certainly been processed electronically. Odds are very, very high that a human IRS employee has never seen these forms. Second, GARD doesn’t meet the threshold for a major 501(c) organization since their annual total income doesn’t reach the standard $1,000,000 annual income standard that is used by most charity rating organizations. I’m not 100% certain but I pretty sure that standard derives from the IRS’ programmed thresholds.
In the next post we’ll examine GARD’s Statement of Functional Expenses, and claimed depreciation/amortization amounts.