CT Teacher Hit With $16K Tax Bill After Raising Thousands to Donate Groceries
On April 10 of last year, Louis Goffinet, a Connecticut middle school teacher, made an important decision to help local families on who the coronavirus pandemic had financially impacted.
According to Goffinet's FB page, he recently found out that after raising $41,134 through his two Facebook fundraisers to help needy families, Facebook issued him a 1099 form that classifies the donated funds as personal income.
Because the $41,134 he raised so he could purchase groceries for needy families in his hometown of Mansfield, CT, it is considered income by the IRS, and Goffinet now owes the IRS $16,031. The following is a quote from his interview with the Hartford Courant.
I was so shocked, when I think about the mental spot I was in at the end of January, coming off a second fundraiser that was quite a lot of work — busy weekends coordinating Thanksgiving, holiday gifts — to get what I perceived as a bill in the mail for $16,000 was just shocking.
Goffinet's original intention was to raise $200 to buy groceries for one family, but the monetary donations kept rolling in. He kept a spreadsheet of his trips to the grocery store, which numbered 140.
On Friday nights, he provided dinners for 125 families and helped five families pay their rent, but most of the money was primarily spent on groceries. There were two big reasons he ran into an expensive problem with the IRS.
His first problem was that he failed to establish an official charity. He deposited all of the donated funds into his checking account, which he used to pay for all the groceries he distributed to needy families.
Goffinet admits he failed to think it through and do his homework, and now to add to his embarrassment, he is asking for donations to help pay his $16,000 tax bill but not through Facebook.