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ZOA loses tax-exempt status

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Zionist Organization of America lost its tax exempt status due to a late filing of tax returns.

The ZOA did not file returns for three consecutive years, the Forward reported Tuesday.

Morton Klein, the ZOA’s president, confirmed to JTA that the organization has not been tax exempt since March. Since then, he said, the organization has filed the returns and is now seeking reinstatement.

"We have hired a top tax attorney and he has every confidence we will be reinstated," Klein said, adding that he hoped for reinstatement before the end of the year.

The organization has continued to fundraise, directing donations to a separate tax-exempt entity that will hold the funds until ZOA’s status is restored, Klein said.

He said the organization had sought extensions for the three years it did not file because a school in Ashkelon, Israel, run under its auspices was not providing correct information and the ZOA was seeking to clarify the matter.

The Internal Revenue Service rescission came after the ZOA missed a deadline for seeking an extension based on what Klein said was incorrect advice from a tax accountant.

Klein said the ZOA was under the impression it had until November 2011 to request an extension; the deadline had passed in May of that year. The IRS notified the group of the rescission in February this year.

ZOA’s board is meeting Tuesday and will be briefed on the matter.

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