Fair board considers options for future of large animal auction.

January 11, 2016
fair auction

File photo.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

PERE MARQUETTE TOWNSHIP — The Western Michigan Fair is going to hold a large animal auction this year, though it may not be operated by the West Michigan Large Animal Council. The council’s 501(c)3 non-profit charitable status was revoked in April 2015 by the Internal Revenue Service after failure to file tax reports for three years. According to council members that have contacted MCP, the organization grossed over $200,000 during the 2015 large animal auction. 

The matter was discussed Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, during the monthly meeting of the Western Michigan Fair Association. During that meeting, the association voted to hold a large animal auction no matter the tax status of the large animal council. The fair board voted that if the large animal council’s tax exempt status was reinstated by the August fair then it would likely allow it to hold the auction. The other choices would be to allow Mason County 4-H to take over the auction or for the fair board to operate it itself.

One of the issues with allowing 4-H is that the organization does not allow children 8-years-old or younger to sell in the large animal auction. The board agreed that it would sponsor an auction allowing 5- to 8-year-olds to sell, separate from 4-H, though the auction may take place the same evening and in the same place.

The West Michigan Livestock Council has existed for over 50 years and is overseen by a youth board with adult advisors. It’s president, Matthew Lammi, wrote a letter to WMFA President Michael Stakenas and stated that the council had been unaware of its tax status being revoked and that it was working on being reinstated. Lammi said, in his letter, the organization has 15 months, from the date of revocation, to resolve the issue.

The following statement appears on the IRS website regarding the West Michigan Livestock Council:

“The federal tax exemption of each organization listed below was automatically revoked for its failure to file a Form 990-series return or notice for three consecutive years. The revocation date listed below for each organization is historical; it reflects an organization’s effective date of automatic revocation for not filing a Form 990-series return or notice for three consecutive years, but not necessarily its current tax-exempt or non-exempt status. The organization may have applied to the IRS for recognition of exemption and been recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt after its effective date of automatic revocation. Click on an organization’s name to see more details on that organization…”

The site then lists the West Michigan Livestock Council.

A search of corporations on the state of Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website does not show any corporations known as West Michigan Livestock Council, indicating the organization may have also failed to renew its corporate status with the State of Michigan as well.

One of the ramifications of the revocation of the tax status means that individuals who purchased an animal during the 2015 fair may not be able to claim a deduction on their tax returns this year.

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