Portland’s XRAY.FM: skating on the edge


XRAY.FM, a progressive non-profit radio station in Portland, was launched with much fanfare on March 15, 2014 with the backing of Portland taxpayers in the form of a grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC).

I was interested in how XRAY was doing, so I asked Cascade Educational Broadcast Service, XRAY’s parent, for copies of its Form 990 federal tax filings for 2013 and forward. I figured the station would get back to me without any fuss because the law requires tax-exempt organizations to allow public inspection of their recent federal annual information returns. In my case, no such luck. Despite repeated requests, Cascade never responded to my queries.

So I went directly to the IRS. They promptly sent me Cascade’s Form 990 for 2013, but that was it. “There is no record of filing for periods 2014 and 2015,” said Jeffrey Austin, Disclosure Manager with the IRS.

The 2013 filing, submitted on Nov. 12, 2014, shows that in 2013, during its organizational stage, Cascade took in contributions of $23,820 and spent $19,626.

What were its revenue and expenses in 2014, its first year of operation? Got me. How about its second year, 2015? Who knows? According to the IRS, after 2013, Cascade simply stopped filing any federal tax returns. There is no record of filing for periods 2014 and 2015,” said IRS Disclosure Manager, Jeffrey Austin.

That’s a problem.

Tax-exempt organizations are required to file annual returns. If an organization doesn’t file a required return or files late, the IRS may assess penalties. In addition, if an organization doesn’t file as required for three consecutive years, it automatically loses its tax-exempt status.

That means one more year of negligence would put XRAY’s tax-exempt status at risk.

What a shame it would be if that happened to this progressive mouthpiece.