2017-04-13 / Front Page

Golf management company files as nonprofit

By Patti Burgess Brandt
Of The Enterprise staff

NORTHPORT COMMUNITY supporter Bill Collins feels he shouldn’t have to pay property taxes on the golf course he built and donated to the village. NORTHPORT COMMUNITY supporter Bill Collins feels he shouldn’t have to pay property taxes on the golf course he built and donated to the village. If a company doesn’t make any money can it be considered a nonprofit? And should it have to pay taxes?

If you ask Northport community supporter Bill Collins the answer is “no.”

Collins recently formed a new company that will run the Northport Creek Golf Course (NCGC). The new company, Northport Golf Course Inc., has been registered as a nonprofit entity with the state of Michigan.

Northport Golf Course Inc., which will manage the golf course, incorporated as a nonprofit earlier this month, according to records on file with the state Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau.

According to information received from the Bureau, the Articles of Incorporation for the nonprofit were filed on April 7 with the purposes stated as “to manage and operate as its exclusive purpose Northport Creek Golf Course, a golf course that is municipally owned by the Village of Northport, Leelanau County, Michigan.”

A management agreement between the NCGC and the Village of Northport has been updated to reflect the new management company’s status.

A filing endorsement from the Michigan Department of Regulatory Affairs shows that the articles of incorporation submitted by Northport Golf Course Inc. to the state on March 27

But whether that will keep the golf course from having to pay taxes is still up in the air.

A nonprofit corporation is a state designation that does not automatically come with a federal tax exemption, whereas a nonprofit corporation that has been given 501c3 status by the Internal Revenue Service is not only tax exempt, but it also allows donors to write off donations.

Richard Figura, an Empire attorney, said any- body can file as a nonprofit with the state.

“The question is, if you’re going to be a legitimate nonprofit you have to operate as one,” Figura said.

Figura said he does not know any of the details surrounding the NCGC’s case.

The nine-hole golf course was built by Northport resident Bill Collins and then donated to the village in 2014.

Collins has said the golf course should not have to pay taxes and should qualify as a tax-exempt non-profit entity since it has not made a profit in the two full years it has been open. “We’re not a concessionaire,” Collins said. “My intention was, right from the beginning, to have the golf course make a profit that would all go to the village, just like the marina.

“It’s so hard to give something away these days.”

A profit and loss statement for 2016 shows the golf course had a loss of $59,863, and in 2015, its first full year of operation, it had a loss of $152,840.

Collins has recently filed an appeal to the Michigan Tax Tribunal for the company’s 2016 taxes after losing an appeal with the Leelanau Township Board of Review.

He recently lost an appeal to the Tribunal for its 2015 taxes.

In its decision the Tribunal said that being owned by the village does not exempt it from paying taxes, as the business is listed on local tax rolls as a commercial enterprise.

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