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Is TPGA Committing Tax Fraud?

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Since today is tax day, I’m republishing this post for those of you that may be tempted to write off donations to this organiation as tax-deductible.

 

It’s hard to know which non-profits are really worthy of support, especially monetary support. We’ve all heard the numbers about Autism Speaks and how so much of their funding goes to fat salaries for upper management, rather than services. We have to do a little work to be educated about which organizations are trustworthy and deserving of our support, especially when it comes to making donations. Autism families are already stretched thin, financially. I know we are, which is why I’ve always made it a practice to verify an organization’s tax-exempt status before donating money or offering support.

As many of you may know, Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism accepts donations and assures the public that they are tax-deductible. Their page states that they are owned by the Myers Rosa Foundation, which is a partnership between Shannon des Roches Rosa and Jennifer Byde Myers. The Myers Rosa page states clearly that they are a non-profit, 501(C)3.

tpga screen shot

 

myers rosa2

If you have donated money to them, you may need to consult a tax consultant. I’ve confirmed with the IRS that the Myers Rosa Foundation does not have a non-profit status, nor have they ever applied for one. Ever. There has never been a form 990 filed for them, which is required of non-profits. They filed as a corporation in 2011, and never filed for 501(C)3, yet they are claiming to be a non-profit. Additionally, last week I contacted Shannon de Roches Rosa for verification of the organization’s tax status and received no reply. This evening I contacted Jennifer Byde Myer and she confirmed that they had never filed for non-profit status.

myers rosa

As a self-described advocacy group, I think it’s important for the public to know that they have misrepresented themselves and have taken money from autism families under the guise of being a non-profit organization when, in fact, that is not the case. I know we all want to support organizations that represent our children, and this is probably shocking to many of you. It was to me. More than that, it was a disappointment. It makes it so hard for any of us in the community to know whom we can trust when an advocacy organization can’t even be trusted.

Beyond the issue of public trust, there is also aspect that TPGA actively works to direct the conversation about autism in our community, while also calling into question the ethics of other organizations. It lends no legitimacy to cry foul on how Autism Speaks delegates their funds when you’re casting that stone from a glass house.

I encourage you to call the IRS yourself to verify this information. You can also go to Guidestar.org and verify that you won’t find them listed.

There was originally no intention to post this information, but I’ve decided that this information is something that the autism community needs to be aware of. We spend so much time working our tails off to get our kids the supports they need, often at the expense of our own well-being. And to have an organization taking advantage of our families by misrepresenting themselves is a breach of our collective trust.

My hope is that this will be a good lesson for all of us, to research organizations before we choose to align with them or donate our time and money.

Edit: According to Linkedin, Shawn Myers (husband of Jennifer Byde Myers) is listed as the founder and Director of Myers Rosa Foundation from 2010 to present.

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About Flannery

Kid, husband, dogs, my mother, full-time job, maximum stress, minimal relaxation...sooner or later I had to vent. AND we moved from California to Texas. I could start a whole other blog about that.

15 responses »

  1. thanks for the info. as a new to autism Mom, I am still feeling my way around…but as a former president of a non-profit I do know much about how a non-profit should function and act.

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  2. There really is no end to their hypocrisy, is there?

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  3. While I agree that an organization shouldn’t claim 501(c)(3) status if they haven’t received a ruling from the irs, it isn’t technically required in all cases. If an organization makes less than $5,000 a year, they can claim the status without a ruling from the irs. Without 990s there is no way to tell how much they are bringing in (and those aren’t required unless they bring in over 50k). And just because they haven’t filed yet, doesn’t mean that current donations won’t be tax deductible. If/when they apply, the exemption could be issued retroactively to their formation date. Sorry to put it this way, but you just don’t know enough information about the organization or EO tax law to be putting this kind of article out there. You could be killing a completely legitimate organization. I’m not saying they are, I’m just saying things may not be as you say

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    • But they are claiming to be non-profit when they’ve never even filed. And I should have mentioned that I did consult a lawyer before posting this.

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      • “Nonprofit” only applies to the type of corporation. Was your lawyer an EO specialist? They don’t teach EO tax law in law school. Claiming 501(c)(3) status without applying for it is allowed in certain situations. Another example : churches. They never have to apply and can claim the status. They are statutorily exempt.

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  4. I’ve been on the fence about TPGA for a while. Much of what they say is so negative and inflamatory in nature that I often found myself turned off by their posts. I kept them in my feed because I just like to be in the loop on ASD issues. This is the last straw. I don’t want to pad their numbers any longer. I am unliking their facebook and twitter immediately. It’s gotten to the point where I feel I can’t trust any Autism advocacy group…only parents and Autistics themselves. I still trust NFAR, ASAN, and NAA but that’s about it.

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  5. Shannon Rosa is a misery and the fact that she didn’t even respond to your question regarding this shows what a scumbag she is. I encourage people not to support her and their pathetic organization. I wouldn’t trust anything she represents. She wants people to be positive about autism yet she is such a negative person herself. Hypocrite is the only word to describe her.

    Oh, and as for Shawn Myers, gee… I thought his name was “Descartes”! Jennifer Byde Myers and Shannon Rosa–just a couple of rejects acting like 5th graders day in and day out.

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    • I would think that if you made contributions to an organization under the impression that they are deductible, the organizer of said org would respond to your tax queries. Weird. I read through some of Squidalicious because it was referenced at another blog I had been reading. This is neither here nor there, but I was puzzled about the whole story of the author’s son who she gave up to be adopted when she was a teen. She was very righteous about him not being told he was adopted, etc, and also seemed to believe that she’s entitled to have input on his life and even stalk him somewhat. Uh, she’s not his mother. His adoptive parents are his parents, that’s his real family. Closed adoption or not, she has zero right to dictate how his real mother should be handling things and no entitlement to any input on his life. It’s odd how she seems unaware of how inappropriate and possibly intrusive her stance is, not the mention that whole cyber stalking thing.

      Reply
      • get help Shannon

        I too have read her arrogant posts about her feelings that she has a right to see him no matter what his father thinks. There is probably pretty good reason his father wants nothing to do with Rosa or his son to know her. She has stated she knew the people she gave her son up to and over the years the father wanted nothing to do with her. It’s not hard to imagine why! As for her details of stalking this poor kid on the internet, creepy is putting it mildly. For the son’s sake I hope he never has to get to know this self absorbed woman. Her first question to the poor kid would probably be to ask him if his parents fully vaccinated him because she is just that fucking obssessed with that subject! I honestly think the woman has some mental health issues. Something is very off about her.

        Reply
      • I appreciate how you feel but since the post is about their tax status, I’d like to stay away from commenting on a personal family matter. Thanks!

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        • You’re right, Flannery, sorry I brought it up, I veered off into a random thought. My point was only that it was a jarring note on an otherwise nice blog about a sweet kid(Leo), which startled me. Back to the tax status: I thought if an entity offered tax benefits to its contributors, it *had* to respond in certain prescribed ways to inquiries about said benefits? Otherwise, the door is actually open to fraud allegations?

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  6. Is the IRS looking into their organization? I certainly hope so!

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  7. I have not trusted TPGA for awhile and this simply confirms it. TPGA’s true agenda is questionable . They have written nasty, inflammatory, ad hominem statements against people who question the safety and efficacy of vaccines. They do not seem to know the meaning of civil discourse at TPGA.

    Reply
  8. Pingback: Power and Privilege: Shutting Down Dialogue in the Autism Community | Living on the Spectrum: The Connor Chronicles

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