DOCUMENT: Celebrity

Sharpton Group Reports Deficits, Tax Debt Plan

Despite revenue jump, activist org mired in red ink

Al Sharpton

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Sharpton Tax Return

JANUARY 29--In a new tax filing, Al Sharpton’s not-for-profit organization reports that despite skyrocketing revenue, it ran a hefty deficit, was forced to borrow nearly $200,000 from the reverend himself, and even saw the group’s long-delinquent Internal Revenue Service bill grow.

The latest glimpse into the shaky finances of the National Action Network (NAN) comes via the organization’s latest tax return, which was signed in mid-November by Sharpton, the group’s president, CEO, and highest-paid employee. The return, which covers 2013, describes Sharpton’s outfit as a “Christian activist social justice organization.”

According to the IRS return and an accompanying financial statement, NAN’s revenue--generated primarily through corporate sponsorships--topped $4.9 million, nearly $900,000 more than the prior year. However, the organization’s spending outpaced revenues, leaving NAN with a deficit of $264,000 for the year (which pushed its total liabilities to $1.337 million).

The Sharpton group’s largest debt remains its IRS tab for nonpayment of years worth of federal payroll taxes, as well as assorted interest and penalties for late or non-filing of tax forms. NAN’s federal tax liability rose slightly in 2013 to about $820,000.

A financial statement prepared by NAN’s accountant in November notes that the group recently “negotiated an installment agreement” that requires it to pay $15,000-a-month for five years to make good on its tax debt. A prior financial statement claimed that Sharpton’s group had been negotiating with the IRS over its unpaid taxes since February 2010.

Sharpton, 60, individually owes several million dollars in unpaid state and federal taxes, according to a recent New York Times report.

Sharpton--who banks hefty paychecks for his MSNBC program, his radio show, and who knows what else--paid himself $241,545 in 2013 for his reported 40-hour NAN workweeks. The tax return also reveals that “Alfred Sharpton and his entities” gave the organization a $194,500 interest-free loan. The group already owed its founder more than $134,000 from prior loans received from two Sharpton corporations, Bo-Spanky Consulting and Sharpton Media, LLC.

The NAN tax return provides a general overview of the finances of the organization, which claims 125 volunteers and is headquartered in a rented storefront in Harlem.

In addition to paying $100,001 for “strategic planning” and $126,800 for “media services,” Sharpton’s group reported that its “consulting fees” totaled a whopping $644,395 in 2013. Neither the return nor the financial statement itemizes these fees, identifies the consultants, or details the services provided.

As in prior years, the not-for-profit group notes in the tax return’s “compensation information” section that it paid for “First-class or charter travel” for one of its officers, who is not named. (5 pages)

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