ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It took almost eight years, but the Albuquerque Tea Party has finally been granted tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service.
“What I understand is the IRS was targeting any organization that had the name ‘Tea Party’ in it or the word ‘conservative.’ We weren’t the only ones,” said Graham Bartlett, the president of the local Tea Party.
He said he’d been informed about a month ago by the group’s legal counsel, the Washington D.C.-based American Center for Law and Justice, that the requested 501c (4) status was coming through.
“I didn’t want to say anything and make it public until I had the actual documentation in my hands,” Bartlett said Monday.
The Albuquerque Tea Party requested tax-exempt status because it relies on donations, and people tend to donate more when they know they can write it off on their taxes, he said.
Further, tax-exempt status allows one party to transfer money to and receive money from other tax-exempt entities without paying taxes on those funds.
“We’re basically an education organization. We don’t have dues and we rely on donations,” Bartlett said “Some of our activities cost money,” such as costs for renting space for candidate forums and printing literature.
Daniel Moore, the Tea Party chairman of communications and a board member, said that the process of applying for tax exempt status is normally concluded within six months, at which point “you know if you have it or not, and if you don’t you can appeal.”
The local organization filed its request in December 2009. Several months later the IRS demanded more documentation concerning the organization’s activities. The group complied, Bartlett said.
The IRS then requested even more documentation,…