Syrian relief groups face unexplained delays on tax-exempt status

May 31, 2013 at 2:13 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 31 (UPI) -- U.S. aid groups seeking to help those caught in Syria's civil war say they face unexplained delays by the Internal Revenue Service in getting tax-exempt status.

One Syrian relief group has waited two years for 501 (c)(3) non-profit tax-exempt status, and another won its tax-exempt status after an 18-month wait that included suing the IRS, the Washington newspaper The Hill reported Friday.

Without a tax exemption for donations, aid groups find it more difficult to raise money.

"Waiting over 26 months for our non-profit designation is not only unprecedented but directly impedes our access to reliable funding, threatens our ability to implement our programs and excludes us from services specific to non-profits," said Dr. Bushra Al-Aysami Sangid, a board member of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, which applied for 501 (c)(3) status in March 2011.

Greg McRay, chief executive officer of the Foundation Group in Tennessee, which represents non-profit organizations seeking tax-exempt status, said it typically takes eight months to review an application, with determination of approval in about two or three months more.

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