Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Liberty University and the Internal Revenue Service

The IRS has officially declined to fulfill a FOIA request.
Liberty University
For the year ended June 30, 2018, Liberty University (EIN 54-0946734) reported total revenues of $1,159,314,971 which is about $48 million more than the prior year. Net assets exceeded $2 billion. The university employed about 13,000 during the fiscal year.

For the year ended June 30, 2019, Liberty University (EIN 54-0946734) was required to file a form 990-N, commonly known as an E-Postcard and only available to nonprofit organizations with revenues under $50,000. No financial data was provided (see below).

Just to be sure that there wasn't a replacement organization:
Click on image to enlarge
The above is as of July 13, 2020 which is the last time that the IRS updated the Business Master File; the source of my local database. A filing requirement of 01 means a full 990; 02 means 990-N “E-Postcard.” Guidestar has the same information that I have which means that my database is not corrupt.

Needless to say, a large nonprofit going from $1.2 billion to zero justifies an inquiry. The IRS claims that the matter is not subject to FOIA disclosure.

The form 990-N includes only eight items:
  1. Employer identification number (EIN), also known as a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).
  2. Tax year
  3. Legal name and mailing address
  4. Any other names the organization uses
  5. Name and address of a principal officer
  6. Web site address if the organization has one
  7. Confirmation that the organization’s annual gross receipts are $50,000 or less
  8. If applicable, a statement that the organization has terminated or is terminating (going out of business)
Liberty University now provides no transparency whatsoever. That boat Falwell was on with his pants unzipped was paid for with tax-deducted contributions and federal student aid. We all subsidized Liberty U.

I checked with admissions. They say that Liberty University continues to be a nonprofit institution. A conversion to for-profit might explain the change in financial status but that is not the case. The primary accrediting body (Southern Association) lists Liberty University as not-for-profit.

I am considering several options for follow-up including the IRS IG.

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