Richard Spencer’s white nationalist nonprofit organization, the National Policy Institute, was stripped of its tax-exempt status by the IRS for failing to file tax returns with the federal government according to The Los Angeles Times.
An inquiry by The Times also raised questions about whether Spencer had properly filed paperwork allowing the National Policy Institute to raise funds in Virginia, its primary place of business, and whether Spencer, a Donald Trump supporter, had flouted federal rules that forbid nonprofits from supporting or opposing political candidates.
“I don’t know what to say. I don’t want to make a comment because I don’t understand this stuff,” Spencer told the Times. “It’s a bit embarrassing, but it’s not good. We’ll figure it out.”
The Hill reported Spencer said he was led to believe he didn’t have to file federal tax returns due to an IRS error, and plans to appeal the loss of the tax-exempt status. The error, Spencer said, was that his group had been misclassified by the IRS and listed as not being required file the necessary tax forms.
The National Policy Institute’s website says it is “dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States, and around the world.”
The National Policy Institute’s nonprofit status allowed his followers to make tax-deductible donations to support his racist publications and conferences. One of the National Policy Institute’s recent famous events was a November conference in Washington, where Spencer shouted, “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!” and his followers responded by throwing up their Nazi salutes. He also said, “We willed Donald Trump into office, made this dream into reality.”
Spencer’s group stopped filing tax returns with the IRS after 2012.
Tax records are required for nonprofits and are available to the public every year. The forms make public how much an organization makes, its spending and the amount its employees are paid. Failing to file three years in a row causes an organization to lose tax-exempt status.
Spencer said it was fault lies with the IRS, but tax experts disagree:
“They should have known that they should have been filing,” said Philip T. Hackney, a law professor at Louisiana State University who formerly worked for the IRS, specializing in nonprofits. “It’s very clear under the law that if you don’t file for three years, you lose your status.”
Chuck McLean, a senior research fellow at Guidestar, a site that monitors and publishes records of nonprofits, agreed. “Ignorance is no excuse,” McLean said.