To: Mitch Mallecho, Ph.D.
From: Klark Bulmer, IRS Taxpayer Advocate
Re: Recent Application for Recognition of Exemption
Date: April 21, 2014
Dear Dr. Mallecho,
Our office has reviewed, with careful attention, your recent fifty-seven page e-mail regarding the adverse determination made by the IRS Office with respect to your Application for Recognition of Exemption on behalf of the Church of Universal Entropy, of which you are sole founder.
We understand the rules governing exempt organizations can be complex, even frustrating, for anyone attempting to navigate them without the assistance of a certified tax preparer. And we regret to learn that the free taxpayer service available through the community center in your area was unable to assist with some of the vagaries of Form 1023.
Unfortunately, at this time, there remain several obstacles to classifying your church as a religious nonprofit.
1. Universality does not render an enterprise “religious” per se. To the extent you are disseminating the concept of entropy to others you are characterizing the operation of a thermodynamic process, and therefore providing an information service.
2. The cosmos may be trending toward entropy, which may spell our doom, but this eventuality is likely to be many billions of years away. For the short term, pace the 2013 tax year, you acknowledge you haven’t maintained the ledgers or receipts needed to complete Form 1023.
3. Nor do you hold structured meetings with your followers, advocate a set of ritual practices, or offer any hope of salvation.
4. I’m afraid our office simply cannot accept a rationale that the lack of orderliness in one’s records stems from “a core belief in chaos itself.”
5. With respect to your belief that society is in a period of profound decline, many of our representatives are in sympathy, as they are with your examples of personal disappointments in business and academia. But the grounds for thinking this brand of cynicism rises to the level of an alternative belief system are less clear and would appear to derive an affirmative conclusion from negative premises.
6. We concede that your disengagement from current events is both genuine and endemic, and it is clearly a point in your favor that your church has never supported a political candidate or campaign. No longer having the energy to show up for work, however, might present to some as a reason for seeking career counseling, rather than as a ground for the claim that you are “The Earthly Incarnation of Entropy,” notwithstanding the attached testimonies of your landlord and former wife.
7. It may be true, as you avouch, that all great religious leaders of history took little care for the world and felt “beholden to no social conventions”; yet it seems inconsistent, or a case of special pleading, to then insist on one’s status as the founder of a faith in order to reap the tax benefits. One way or another, we all must render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.
8. Finally, if the rough numbers submitted for estimated revenues are accurate, and the parishioners at the soup kitchen which you frequent have little or no money with which to pay you, we question whether it is even necessary, in your case, to file Form 1023 at all.
With all due respect, sir, the IRS is not a “heartless behemoth”; we are people willing to extend you and work with you, and I apologize again for your recent negative experience with our customer telephone hotline.
Our representatives are perhaps not as conversant with quantum theory as they should be, but weren’t incorrect to inform you that The Church of Universal Entropy does not meet the criteria for a religious exemption at this time.
On a personal note, I wish you all the best in your ongoing quest to better understand the cosmos, and to come to grips with the unpleasant fact that sometimes when we would wish to better order our relations with others, we find ourselves left alone to deal with chaos.