Year-End Checklist for Tax-Exempt Organizations

12/9/2015 Articles

As the holidays approach and 2015 comes to a close, Officers and Directors are well advised to confirm that important year-end responsibilities have been addressed. Even if your organization has a fiscal year end other than December 31, this checklist provides a list of topics you should consider at year end or on an annual basis:

  1. Do you have staff? If so, Forms W-2 and/or 1099 must be provided to staff, and Forms 941 or 944 for employment taxes must be filed with the IRS by January 31, 2016.
  2. Do you have independent contractors, advisors, consultants, counselors or others to whom you paid at least $600 during the year? If so, Form 1099-MISC must be filed by February 29, 2016 if on paper, or by March 31, 2016 if filing electronically.
  3. Do you have vendors? Make sure you collect vendor W-9s and provide Form 1099 to vendors, as required, by January 31, 2016.
  4. Has your Board of Directors held its annual meeting? Check your Bylaws for any specific requirements, and if you have not yet held a formal meeting, schedule it or prepare a unanimous written consent for the Board of Directors to sign before year end.
  5. Are your gross revenues expected to exceed $2 million? Begin preparations for your annual independent audit by selecting an auditor and compiling necessary financial documentation.
  6. Remember that annual/biennial filings are right around the corner.
    - Form 990 or 990-PF must be filed with the IRS
    - Form 199, 199N, or 109 must be filed with the California Franchise Tax Board
    - Form RRF-1 must be filed with the California Attorney General Registry of Charitable Trusts
    - Form SI-100 must be filed biennially or Form SI-350 annually with the California Secretary of State
    - Annual Franchise Tax Report must be filed with the Delaware Division of Corporations, or similar report if organized
      or qualified in other states
    - Registered Agent filings may need to be renewed with the California Secretary of State
  7. Has your Board of Directors and Officers reviewed the organization’s Conflict of Interest Policy and disclosed conflicts? Have Directors and Officers completed or updated a Conflicts of Interest Questionnaire?
  8. Don’t forget about your members, donors or sponsors. You may want to send thank you letters, and make sure you have sent letters acknowledging gifts made throughout the year, as is required for all donations (either money or property) of $250 or more.
  9. Is your website content out-of-date? This is a good time to make sure your website has current content for the start of the new year and that it includes any new programs or initiatives. Make sure contact information and list of Directors and Officers  is accurate and up to date.

Other good sources of information for new nonprofits and their filing requirements can be found at the California Attorney General website and at the IRS Charities page. Also, if you operate programs in other states, check the relevant websites for each state’s regulatory agencies.

Farella Braun + Martel’s Tax Exempt Organizations Practice Group advises on compliance with legal requirements and consults on tax-exempt questions and projects. Note that this discussion highlights certain key reporting and does not include all issues to be considered.