Is your nonprofit up to date on its government filings? Many nonprofits have recently filed their IRS Form 990 annual information returns. But several more government filing and reporting requirements may apply for nonprofits, in distinctly separate legal compliance areas. The following is a list of federal and state requirements, along with some recommendations for staying on top of these important matters.
A. Key Government Filings
In many ways, nonprofits operate like any business – and businesses have plenty of government compliance obligations. The specific types of compliance may vary, however, given a nonprofit’s nature and the state in which it operates. The key regular filings are as follows:
1. IRS Form 990: Every Section 501(c) tax-exempt nonprofit must file a version of the IRS Form 990 information return. Organizations with less than $50,000 in annual revenues are generally eligible for the very simplified Form 990-N, which must be filed online. Other nonprofits must file the Form 990-EZ, which calls for minimal financial and program activity, or the Form 990, which is quite extensive and should be completed with professional assistance. The Form 990 is due within four and a half months after the organization’s fiscal year-end (i.e., by May 15 for a calendar fiscal year). An organization’s late-filed Form 990 may result in unpleasant financial penalties. Further, an organization’s failure to file a Form 990 for three consecutive years will result in automatic revocation of its tax-exempt status, and therefore a new obligation to file Form 1120 corporate tax returns (unless the organization is able to get its tax-exempt status retroactively reinstated).