Atlantia · Exchequer · Pennsic War · Service

Undercover IRS agent investigates SCA 501(c)(3) tax status

BARONY OF STORVIK, KINGDOM OF ATLANTIA – It has been revealed through a Freedom of Information Act request that the IRS embedded an agent in the Society for Creative Anachronism from 2018 to 2020 to determine if it should retain its not-for-profit tax status. After realizing it had received over 12 complaints in its 50-year history, an agent was chosen from the ranks based on a past history of infiltration of similar groups. According to the FOIA, the agent had previously spent six months in the Knights of Columbus and it was deemed ‘close enough for government work.’ All agents’ names were redacted in the report.

In an interagency investigation, a Department of the Treasury agent was also assigned to the Society in response to the network of bank accounts it controls. The two agents were embedded first at Gulf Wars as two wandering bards, but were so uncomfortable with the amount of hostility at their filk of The Village People’s song “YMCA” that they decided to go as something they knew, and infiltrated the Knowne World Exchequer’s party at Pennsic War. They were accepted as new exchequers by the group and were quickly taught the exchequer policy by people in the Kingdom of Atlantia, where they both legally resided.

After six months, the IRS agent was serving his first term as baronial exchequer, while the Treasury agent was a deputy Kingdom Exchequer. According to the report, it was “such a natural fit that we decided to go where we could do the most good.” After serving most of a two-year term the IRS agent felt that they had gathered enough information to write their report. With COVID shutdowns starting, they both quietly slipped away from the Society.

In their final report, the agents noted that while the Society for Creative Anachronism did not perfectly live up to the rules of a 501(c)(3) organization, they were far better at it than the average evangelical charity. There was also a personal note from the Department of the Treasury agent that “The members of the Exchequer community are the hardest working people in the SCA. We should look at recruiting those with professional certifications into appropriate positions, as long as there would not be a conflict of interest with their SCA work.”

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