With Tax Deadline Ahead, Don’t Forget About 990-N

Tax day may have come and gone for individual taxpayers who didn’t opt for an extension, but for some exempt organizations, the tax deadline is just around the corner. Exempt organizations  on a calendar year have a filing deadline of May 15 (unless they file for an extension), so now is a good time for a short reminder about the annual filing requirements.

Most exempt organizations are required to file a version of Form 990 with the IRS. Larger organizations need to file the full Form 990, with relevant schedules. Organizations with gross receipts less than $200,000 and total assets less than $500,000 can file an abbreviated Form 990-EZ. Finally, organizations with annual gross receipts of  $50,000 can file the 990-N postcard filing.

It is important to remember that failing to file can have serious consequences, and smaller organizations and organizations operating within a group of affiliates are often the ones that get snagged. Legislation passed in 2006 first put in place the requirement to file the 990-N; prior to that, smaller organizations did not have a filing requirement. That legislation also established an auto-revocation process, meaning that organizations that did not file for three consecutive years had their status revoked. This revocation happened to tens of thousands of organizations who didn’t file, and has left an  aftermath of organizations trying to get their status reinstated.

Bottom line: don’t let this happen to your organization! The IRS has a lot of information about filing the 990-N, and it doesn’t take long to meet this requirement. And donors who are interested can use the Select Check Tool to see if smaller organizations have filed (or have had their status revoked).

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