Missed Filings Earn 29 Palms Community Theatre Lost Tax Exempt Status

The ignominious demise of Theatre 29 is much exaggerated, one of its board members told the Sentinel this week.
Theatre 29 is a community theatre presenting entertainment since its founding in 1999 and is dedicated, according to its mission statement, “to bring quality, family-oriented theater to Twentynine Palms while offering opportunities for our children and citizens to experience the live arts.”
Recently, however there have been recurrent reports that the live performance venue was beset with fraud, mismanagement and the misappropriation of public funds. Because there has been relatively little disclosure of the theatre’s budget, income and expenses over the years, those suggestions gained some traction.
And while the theatre did sustain a blow in May when the Internal Revenue Service revoked its 501 c3 tax exemption status, Gary Daigneault said that action was taken only as a result of an oversight on the part of the group’s treasurer and an extended mix-up on the board’s part. Daigneault has been variously referred to as the president or vice president of Theatre 29’s board of directors, with another board member, Brian Tabeling, sometimes being credited as board president.
“The IRS has instituted a policy that if taxes are not filed for three years, an automatic revocation occurs,” Daigneault said. “The revocation is done by computer in those kinds of circumstances, not a person. We received notice three months later. Long story short, we were at fault because
of a volunteer who told us the taxes were handled. The bottom line is the taxes were not filed.”
Daigneault on August 24 said Theatre 29 had filed for a rescission of the revocation. “We filed all the paperwork yesterday,” he said. “We are asking for an expedited reconsideration.”
Daigneault said, “We learned our lesson as an organization to double check. We were misled by one of our volunteers. We have now instituted a policy of having one of our officers handle corporate compliance. We have hired H and R Block to handle our taxes. This should be no negative reflection on our many dedicated and talented volunteers. I think we do a good job for our community and the 64 kids who are involved.”
Beginning today and running through September 24, the theatre’s troupe will be permorming “The Secret Garden.” On October 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29, 30 & 31, “Resurgence” will be showing. From November 18 until December 17, A Christmas Story will be on tap at the theatre, located at 73637 Sullivan Road in Twentynine Palms.

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