Is your organization required to file an IRS Form 990 return? Except for churches, other religious institutions, and their closely related organizations, all tax-exempt organizations must file one of three versions of the Form 990 information return. No such organization is too small for the IRS! Failure to file Form 990s for three consecutive years will result in automatic revocation of tax-exempt status. So make sure you have the necessary information to fulfill this important filing requirement.
When is the Form 990 due? For organizations operating on a calendar fiscal year, the annual filing deadline is May 15. The specific deadline is four months and fifteen days after the close of the fiscal year. A three-month automatic extension is available, by filing IRS Form 8858 and only if it is filed before the original filing deadline.
Which Form 990 version must be filed? The answer depends on the amount of an organization’s annual revenues. For nonprofits with $50,000 or less in annual revenues, the simple Form 990-N (a/k/a “the e-postcard”) may be filed online through www.irs.gov. This form is essentially a “hand raised” notification to the IRS that an organization exists. Organizations with $50,000 to $200,000 in annual revenues (and less than $500,000 in assets) are eligible to use the Form 990-EZ.
This version is not too difficult to complete, but it will require due care in completing the required financial and program description information. For larger organizations, the full-blown Form 990 must be completed, including detailed financial and program information regarding revenues, expenditures, and tax-exempt activities. Consequently, it is highly recommended that assistance be obtained from both qualified accountants and legal counsel who are experienced with nonprofit organizations.