Suspension lifted; Rock Hill Rescue Squad’s “lesson learned”

posmundson@heraldonline.comFebruary 23, 2013 

The Rock Hill Rescue Squad has filed all required tax records with the S.C. Secretary of State’s Office, and the squad’s suspension has been lifted, according to an agency spokeswoman.

The squad was placed under suspension Feb. 10 after the Secretary of State’s Office said a tax form for 2011 was not correctly filled out and filed by May 15, 2012. The suspension prevented the squad from collecting donations, but volunteers were allowed to continue responding to emergencies.

On Wednesday, Capt. Joe Shackelford of the rescue squad drove to Columbia to turn in the correct forms. The suspension was lifted that day, according to Renee Daggerhart, spokeswoman for Secretary of State Mark Hammond.

“It was just a matter of paperwork didn’t get done the way it should have been done,” Shackelford said Friday.

“But it is done now, and lesson learned.”

The problem occurred because some figures were not listed in the proper category on the group’s tax form 990, he said.

“I just took them to an accountant; he figured out the problem and fixed it,” Shackelford said.

The rescue squad filed its annual report for 2011 last May, but Hammond’s office refused to accept it. A notice was sent to the rescue squad in June asking for several corrections on the tax form.

An attorney in Hammond’s office told The Herald that the squad’s records didn’t properly separate program expenses from total expenses. Program expenses involve the group’s charitable services. They don’t include management or fundraising expenses.

In July, Hammond’s office sent a letter to the rescue squad saying a corrected version of the report had been due on May 15. The squad was warned that if corrections weren’t made in 15 days, the organization would be fined $10 per day until the proper records were filed.

The fines reached the maximum amount of $2,000.

Other letters were sent in September and January.

The January letter warned that if the fine wasn’t paid in 30 days, the squad risked suspension.

Shackelford has said that the squad received the letters, but, “all of us are volunteers” who focus on saving lives.

“It’s been taken care of,” Shackelford said Friday.

“It wasn’t something that was done intentionally.”

He said the fine has been paid, and the problem won’t happen again.

“Everything is going to be taken care of in the time that it’s supposed to be taken care of,” he said. “No matter what’s going on, I’m going to stay on top of it to make sure.”

“We’ll move on ... to helping the people in the community like we’ve been doing.”

Paul Osmundson •  803-329-4061

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