INDIAN SHORES — The IRS has filed a lien against the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary for $109,283 in unpaid payroll taxes, but the director says the organization is working to pay off the money.
The federal tax lien was filed April 6 with the Pinellas County Clerk's Office.
"We got behind," because donations to the nonprofit seabird center have been slow, said Ralph Heath, who founded the organization in 1971.
This is in spite of the fact that the center recently received an unexpected donation of $100,000 from Embassy of Qatar in Washington, D.C.
Heath said the donation from Qatar would be used for other purposes at the shelter at 18328 Gulf Blvd., such as hurricane preparations for the rescued, crippled birds housed there.
As to the IRS lien, Heath said the group had worked out a payment plan.
"It's down, oh, about half that now I believe," Heath said. But he couldn't predict when the money would be paid off. "I don't know, really, to be honest with you. We're doing it as best we can."
Heath said contributions to the center go up and down, and maintained, "donations have been slow ever since 9/11 for virtually every nonprofit." In some cases, Heath said, pay to employees has been delayed because of slow donations.
"Sometimes we've been slow paying, but we always get caught up as money comes in," Heath said.
Curtis Krueger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8232.