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IRS Revokes Exempt Status of North Carolina NAACP

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) revoked the tax-exempt status of the beleaguered North Carolina NAACP state conference for failing to file federal Form 990s for three consecutive years, precluding the 501(c)(4) from receiving tax-deductible donations from supporters.

The revocation — automatic by law when a tax-exempt organization fails to file the Form 990 for three years in a row — comes at a time when the North Carolina affiliate is trying to muster support for the removal of Derrick Johnson as chief executive officer of the national NAACP. 

The IRS revoked the North Carolina affiliate’s tax exempt status on May 15 and posted it publicly on its revocation list on August 8. The revocation is also listed on the State Charities Enforcement division of the North Carolina Secretary of State’s Office website.

According to IRS guidelines, nonprofits can reapply for tax-exempt status upon filing the requisite documents and if approved can request retroactivity. Various application fees and potential penalties for failing to meet the deadlines would apply. 

The North Carolina branch, led since October 2021 by Deborah Dicks Maxwell, its first female president, has been involved in spearheading a quest to remove Johnson and two other leaders of the national NAACP. The North Carolina NAACP website features a flyer and message that accuses Johnson of “an authoritarian takeover of the national NAACP,” demands his removal, and advocates a restoration of “integrity of the world’s oldest and baddest civil rights organization….”

Neither Maxwell nor Johnson, who is based at the national headquarters in Baltimore, Md., has returned calls for comment. Aba Blankson, a spokeswoman for the national NAACP, and the national organization’s interim chief financial officer, Junko Kobayashi, also have not responded to requests for comment.

In North Carolina, NAACP Executive Director Da’Quan Marcell Love told news station WRAL-Raleigh that the paperwork to reclaim nonprofit status will be filed soon.

Love also asserted to the station that the national NAACP instituted a multi-year financial audit of the North Carolina state conference and all its branches because of concerns that a large, but unspecified amount of funds can’t be accounted for.

The tax-exempt status revocation was made public about a month after the death on July 9, of former N.C. NAACP President Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman at his home in Greensboro, N.C. Multiple published news accounts in North Carolina report Spearman’s death as suspicious and the subject of an ongoing police investigation.

Spearman lost the campaign to remain president of the N.C. NAACP conference to Maxwell last October.

The North Carolina state conference has a high-profile in the state for its proactivity on getting voters to the polls, racial equity and social justice, inclusive economic measures and next generation leadership.

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