Starting in the late 1980s, with sometimes brutal politics simmering in Colleyville, residents of that community -- some of them enemies -- came together to have a barbecue.
Over the years, the Colleyville Bar-B-Q Cook-Off Association, a nonprofit, went on to raise $178,000 for a community center and library, co-founder Lynn Bural said.
"It soothed over the ills that were so bad," Bural said.
Then somewhere along the line, someone didn't file the right papers. The organization ran into a little trouble. The grills grew cold.
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Now the organization is basically dead after the IRS yanked its tax-exempt status in a sweeping move that eliminated 275,000 organizations that failed to follow the rules. Targeted organizations had not filed annual reports for three consecutive years.
The IRS says the vast majority of the organizations were defunct, but it also announced special steps to help any existing organizations apply for reinstatement of their tax-exempt status.
In Texas, more than 21,400 nonprofits are no longer tax-exempt.
Barry Silverberg, president and CEO of the Texas Association of Nonprofit Organizations, said Texas had about 100,000 tax-exempt organizations, including 72,000 nonprofits classified as 501(c)(3), which made donations to them tax-deductible. The nonprofit status of more than 14,100 of those organizations was revoked, leaving roughly 58,000, Silverberg said.
About 2,070 advocacy groups, for which donations were not tax-deductible, also lost their exemption.
Silverberg said the IRS is simply clearing away a multitude of deadwood.
"This is not a story of the big bad IRS. If it was, believe me, we would be" up in arms, he said. "Really the IRS is doing its job and cleaning up."
Across the state, well-known organizations to lose their exemptions included roughly 160 American Legion posts, about 110 Knights of Columbus organizations and 100 League of United Latin American Citizens councils. It's unclear to what extent that dents those organizations' overall ranks.
Defunct organizations in Tarrant County include Furever Friends, Original King Kids of America and Forgotten Children.
An organization called Southside Church of Christ Educational Foundation, founded in 1997 at 1800 Park Place Ave. in Fort Worth, was also axed. Officials at Southside Church of Christ on Hemphill Street hadn't heard of it.
For the past several years, the IRS has tried to prod tens of thousands of organizations nationwide to file required financial reports. It mailed more than 1 million notices to organizations that had not done so. And, last year, the IRS published a list of at-risk groups and gave smaller organizations an extra five months to comply. The requirement to file information was part of a law enacted in 2006.
In October, Silverberg expected about 28,000 Texas organizations to lose their status. However, about 6,000 organizations apparently took steps to adjust their status with the IRS.
Texas saw "roughly a 19 to 20 percent reduction in number of 501(c)(3)s in the state," he said.
Still, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said the agency realizes that some legitimate organizations, especially small ones, may be unaware of their filing requirement. "We are taking additional steps for these groups to maintain their tax-exempt status without jeopardizing their operations or harming their donors," he said in a news release.
The IRS said reinstatement, including retroactive reinstatement, is possible. Small organizations may regain their tax-exempt status retroactive to the date of revocation and pay a reduced application fee of $100. More information is available at www.irs.gov.
In Colleyville, the brisket goes on.
In place of the old barbecue association, this April the new Colleyville Bar-B-Q Cook Off, benefiting Special Olympics Texas, held its 10th annual rib fest.
About $20,000 went to the Special Olympics, said Charlie Hall of Hall's Grocery & Farmers Outlet.
"We struggled," he said, "but this year was our biggest year to give."
Darren Barbee, 817-390-7126