Taste of Vail out of compliance, state says
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado –The Taste of Vail is not in compliance with the state of Colorado because it never registered as a charity, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
“They haven’t registered with us,” said Rich Coolidge, the communications director for the secretary of state. “Looking at the 990s, anytime they raise over $25,000 they need to file with our office.
“If they’re out there soliciting contributions, they’re doing that outside the confines of the charitable act,” which is a Class 2 misdemeanor.
“Our investigators are starting to look into it and may send a letter,” Coolidge continued. “A complaint would likely make it a greater priority since we’re limited in resources.”
Taste of Vail board members Kevin Nelson and Susan Fritz, who is also the organization’s bookkeeper and a founding member, said that because the organization originally was founded as a 501c6, similar to a charity or Rotary organization and because it pays sales tax on every event ticket sold and doesn’t solicit donations through direct mailings, they shouldn’t fall under the “charity” category.
“With our marketing and our website, we’re promoting the fact that we’re trying to raise money for charity, but legally, as far as I know, we’re not obligated to,” Nelson said. “We’re just trying to sell the event and get people behind it. We want to build local support and help us to get profitable so we can give money to charity.”
“We didn’t have to give money away ever,” Fritz said. “We just thought it was the responsible thing to do.”
According to the Taste of Vail’s 990 forms, the tax forms the IRS requires nonprofit organizations to file each year, the organization has filed as a 501c3 for at least the past few years. (The Vail Daily has not seen the tax form for 2008 because it has yet to be filed, according to Fritz.)
“They’re a 501c3, filing a 990. It sure looks like they’re a charity to me,” said Terry Long, deputy in the Colorado secretary of state’s charities program.
Long said it’s not uncommon for organizations to be noncompliant.
“A lot of groups overlook it. They don’t understand the requirement,” he said.