In his first meeting with the university’s Cabinet, Pettit said he believed it was appropriate for BJU to seek its tax-exempt status because the university doesn’t believe the positions it once held about race.
That existing nonprofit was called Bob Jones Elementary School, Inc. The restructuring came after “consultation with legal counsel and accountants with many years of experience in assisting tax exempt organizations—as well as input from members of the BJU community and our congressional delegation,” Pettit said.
The change didn’t require IRS approval because its elementary school was already a nonprofit, though the university had formal correspondence and conversations with the IRS, said Randy Page, BJU spokesman.
In a move that’s been more than two years in the making, Bob Jones University announced Wednesday it would regain its federal tax-exempt status on March 1, more than three decades after the IRS stripped its nonprofit status following a landmark U. The conservative Christian university dropped its interracial dating ban in a nationally televised interview with past president Bob Jones III on CNN’s Larry King Live in 2000.
The issue in the court case was the university’s refusal to allow interracial dating or marriage among students, staff or faculty of the university, a rule it has since abandoned.
The board will appoint a new eight-member board to govern Bob Jones Education Group.
The transition process began in late 2014 with a study of how to achieve tax exemption.
The university, which is listed as a candidate for accreditation, notified the commission of its potential changes, which wouldn’t affect its candidacy, Page said.
The university presented SACSCOC with its proposal plan for tax exemption and there is no change in governance, said Pamela Cravey, SACSCOC spokeswoman."The action was an IRS matter and did not constitute a substantive change," Cravey said, SACSCOC has considered the university as a not-for-profit, she said.
Donors couldn’t give tax-deductible gifts to the university itself to help with capital campaigns or for university initiatives.