Just a few weeks after it was threatened with removal of public funding by Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart for scheduling an event featuring one of Hart's mayoral opponents, the nonprofit CSPS has lost its tax-exempt status.
"Improv Incubator" with Amara Andrews was relocated
It became a private event located in a Cedar Rapids home after a testy voicemail from Brad Hart saying holding such an event under the CSPS umbrella would violate the organization's 501(c) (3) status. It turns out, they may have had other issues that were already putting them well on that path.
The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports CSPS hasn't filed required tax returns in three years
The Gazette reports the organization, while tax-exempt, had been required to file returns and hadn't done so since 2018 amid "mounting debt upwards of $100,000." That automatically revokes the tax-exempt status of an organization such as theirs. It's been in effect since November of 2020 and can take anywhere from a few weeks to months to get it reinstated, but CSPS manager Tyler Bergen, who has been in his position since 2019, says he wasn't made aware of the issues until a letter from the IRS this past July.
CSPS says it's a hard hit to their organization but not a death sentence
Bergen has hired accountants to help resolve this issue and says CSPS can continue to operate, relying on grants until its tax-exempt status is renewed.
Former city councilperson Monica Vernon heads the CSPS board of directors and says
CSPS will continue with its planned programming to serve its mission of presenting progressive contemporary arts, Vernon said. Additional events, such as receptions, may be planned as well to help make up for any lost revenue.