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May 15 Is Tax Filing Deadline for Many Tax-Exempt Organizations

5/8/2017 Articles

This is a reminder that tax-exempt organizations operating on a calendar-year (January 1 – December 31) have a filing deadline for Form 990-series information returns on May 15. To avoid potential penalties or risk of losing exempt status, tax-exempt organizations must comply with the filing requirements discussed below.

Risk Loss of Tax-Exempt Status for Failure to File
By law, organizations that fail to file information returns for three consecutive years will have their tax-exempt status automatically revoked, effective as of the due date of the third required filing. The Pension Protection Act of 2006 mandates that most tax-exempt organizations, including small organizations with limited funds, file annual Form 990-series information returns or notices with the IRS. Churches and church-related organizations are not required to file annual reports.

No Social Security Numbers on Forms 990
The IRS cautions filers not to provide social security numbers anywhere on their information returns. By law, both the IRS and most tax-exempt organizations are required to publicly disclose most parts of Form 990 filings, including schedules and attachments. Public release of social security numbers and other personally identifiable information about donors, vendors or beneficiaries could give rise to identity theft, as well as negatively impact an organization’s relationship with its donors.

What to File
Small tax-exempt organizations with average annual gross receipts of $50,000 or less may file an electronic notice called a Form 990-N (e-Postcard), which asks organizations for a few basic pieces of information. Tax-exempt organizations with average annual gross receipts above $50,000 must file a Form 990 or 990-EZ depending on their receipts and assets. Private foundations must file Form 990-PF.

Filing Extension Available
Organizations that need additional time to file a Form 990, 990-EZ or 990-PF may obtain an automatic six-month extension. Use Form 8868, Application for Extension of Time to File an Exempt Organization Return, to request extensions. The request for extension must be filed by the due date of the return. Note that no extension is available for filing the Form 990-N (e-Postcard). Private foundations and organizations that owe unrelated business income tax must pay estimated taxes when requesting an extension.

Additional Information
The IRS provides extensive information about filing requirements and forms on its website.

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