Feds fish for tax forms from wildlife refuge ‘friends’ groups

By Michael Doyle | 04/19/2024 01:41 PM EDT

Some say the Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to collect tax forms would be onerous to smaller organizations that assist national wildlife refuges.

Twin Ponds near the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.

Two bald eagles rest on a sandbar at Twin Ponds near the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland. Julio Cortez/AP

Prompted by departmental watchdogs, the Fish and Wildlife Service wants to collect a bit more information from myriad “friends” groups that support national wildlife refuges. Some consider this a tad unfriendly.

In a proposal made public Friday, FWS said it wants the nonprofit organizations to provide confirmation when the revenues are too small to require a complete tax form.

“The Service uses the information collected to establish efficient and effective partnerships and working relationships with nonprofit Friends organizations,” the federal agency stated, adding that collected information will help “to verify compliance with agency policy and to allow the Service to gauge the impact of the program as a whole.”


But though FWS says there will be little additional burden, some refuge advocates aren’t so sure.