IRS Reminds Tax-Exempt Organizations of Upcoming Filing Deadline

IRS Reminds Tax-Exempt Organizations of Upcoming Filing Deadline

May 15th is fast approaching, and today the Internal Revenue Service released a reminder that that's the date by which many tax-exempt organizations need to file their Form 990-series information returns. The agency detailed the appropriate procedures for completing the Form 990, including cautioning against including Social Security Numbers or other personal information that is not needed for this particular form. The agency also encouraged organizations to e-file the forms, saying that the process is faster and more convenient. Not all tax-exempt organizations need to have their forms in by May 15th, but many tax-exempt organizations have established their tax year to correspond with the calendar year, and the Form 990s are due on the 15th day of the fifth month of a tax year.

Reports Must Be Filed In order to Retain Tax-Exempt Status

With the passage of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, tax-exempt organizations are required to file the Form 990-series informational returns or notices every year. Small organizations are also required to fulfill the annual filing requirement, and those that do not submit the reports for three years in a row will automatically lose their federal tax exemption. Churches and church-related organizations do not fall under this rule.

Public Disclosure of Forms Necessitates That Personal Information is Not Included

The reason that the IRS specifically warns against including Social Security Numbers and other personal information on the Form 990-series forms is that by law, these forms, including schedules and attachments, are subject to public disclosure. Any filings that include personal identity information such as the Social Security Numbers or names or other identifying information of donors, benefactors or clients served by the organization would put those individuals at risk of identify theft. The IRS points out that making use of electronic filing methods aids in minimizing the risk of exposure, and that all forms that are open to public access have their top rights corners marked with the words "Open to Public Inspection." Publicly disclosed forms include Form 990, 990EZ, and Form 990-PF.

Choose The Correct Form

Tax-exempt organizations need to file the appropriate form based on their annual receipts. In the case of small organizations that have annual receipts averaging $50,00 or less, Form 990-N is a simple e-postcard that requires very basic information and can be filed electronically. Those organizations with annual receipts averaging over $50,000 may need to file either a Form 990 or a Form 990-EZ, but that is determined by specifics of their assets and receipts, and Form 990-PF is specifically designed for filings by private foundations. If organizations with receipts of $50,000 or more or private foundations need more time for filing these form, they can file for an extension, but this option is not available for organizations that qualify for using the ePostcard.

Tax-Exempt Status can be Viewed Online

Exempt Organizations Select Check is an online search tool offered by the IRS to allow users to find federal tax status and filings for certain tax exempt organizations. Included in the information that is available is whether an organization has had their federal tax exemption revoked as a result of failing to file the required forms for three years in a row. Organizations that fall into this category will need to pay a fee and file an application for reinstatement of their tax-exempt status.

If you have questions about IRS form 990, feel free to contact Orlando Accountant William Kent Westbrook CPA P.A. at (407) 578-8300.

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