March 20, 2012; Source: The Herald News

The Marine Museum in Fall River, Mass. has neglected to file any tax forms with the city, state or IRS since the mid 2000’s and now the chickens are coming home to roost because the organization lost its nonprofit status—more than a year ago. This loss has, predictably, sparked a push by local tax officials to try to collect taxes on the half-acre property which houses a building dating from 1881. The property is assessed at $720,600.

Paul Simister, the museum’s chairman, apparently agrees that the forms were not filed but claims that they are “98 percent done” and will be filed by week’s end. He admits that if its nonprofit status is not reinstated, the museum will have serious problems that may even impact the ownership of the artifacts held in the museum.

Confoundingly, Simister has refused to meet with the City Council to discuss these matters. The city is attempting to talk through, among other things, a concern expressed by the Titanic Society, which wrote a letter expressing concern for the fate of a 28-foot, one-ton replica of the Titanic, which it donated in 1986 with an understanding that it would remain on display, as it has been, at the museum.

NPQ believes that Mr. Simister may wish to get some help to think through how to handle this situation. We would be glad to point him in the direction of some who might provide the aid the museum needs to untangle this mess. –Ruth McCambridge