Christian college professor Warren Throckmorton reported today that the tax exempt status of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) was revoked in September 2012.

Throckmorton noted that the notice of revocation was posted yesterday to the Internal Revenue Service website. The revocation was blamed upon a failure to file Form 990 for three consecutive years. NARTH’s web site continues to collect donations and a membership page continues to claim that donations are tax-deductible.

It is possible that NARTH was being propped up in recent years by financial handouts from Christian Right organizations — financial deals that they would not want documented on federal forms.

NARTH officer George Rekers - Rentboy scandalBut it is also likely that donations dwindled amid improprieties including alleged research fraud by antigay sociologist Mark Regnerus, TWO’s exposure of NARTH officer George Alan Rekers in the 2010 Rentboy scandal, and a Christian base that is becoming tired of the Christian Right’s costly, defamatory and divisive battles against their gay family members and neighbors.

Box Turtle Bulletin notes that in NARTH’s last 990 filing, for 2009, the organization reported a loss of $29,692 on total revenue of $137,143. Such a low budget might discourage some organizations from maintaining their tax-exempt status.

Generally speaking, more than 200,000 organizations have abandoned their tax-exempt status in recent years, due to failure to file. In 2008, the federal government tightened non-profit accounting requirements in response to complaints that:

  • amateurs and entrepreneurs were abusing their status, and
  • many organizations with tax-exempt status, in fact, no longer existed.

Costly filing requirements have discouraged other money-losing and low-budget groups from maintaining their status. For example, Peter LaBarbera’s Americans for Truth about Homosexuality lost its tax-exempt status in 2010. His site still collects “donations” without specifying their tax deductibility.

For now, NARTH officers will likely continue their self-funded media appeals for the “freedom” of Christian therapists to mislead and harm unsuspecting patients; meanwhile, Washington-based FRC launders funds through other front groups such as the Witherspoon Institute to antigay researchers who (like Regnerus) are hosted by conservative Christian universities.