May 15 is the 990 filing deadline for calendar year tax filers. This year, May 16 is the deadline to file Form 990 for calendar year taxpayers because May 15 falls on a Sunday.
As the time for calendar year nonprofits to file their annual tax return approaches, many nonprofits will need to remember which Form 990 their organization is required to file. As a refresher, the Form 990, Form 990 E-Z, and Form 990-N filing thresholds depend on the exempt organization’s revenue and assets as follows:
- Small charitable organizations with revenue of less than $50,000 for the 2011 tax year file Form 990-N (e-Postcard). This is an eight question return that is filed electronically;
- An organization with revenue of less than $200,000 and assets of less than $500,000 file the two page Form 990-EZ; and
- An organization with revenue of $200,000 or more or assets of $500,000 or more file Form 990.
Exempt organizations should also be aware that these thresholds are for filing the federal Form 990 (or related Form) only. State agencies may have different income and asset threshold requirements that the organization must also be aware of to ensure compliance at the state level.
Also, private foundations and 4947(a)(1) non-exempt charitable trusts are still required to file Form 990-PF regardless of revenue or assets.
If the tax return is filed late, the IRS imposes late fees based on the organization’s gross receipts ($20 day per day for organization’s whose gross receipts are less than $1 million and $100 per day for organization’s whose gross receipts are more than $1 million). Failure to file Form 990 for three consecutive years will result in automatic loss of tax-exempt status.
If the tax form is not ready to file on May 16, the organization should request an extension with the IRS. The extension request can be completed by submitting Form 8868 “ Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File An Exempt Organization Return. The IRS now grants an automatic six (6) month extension but the form is still required to be filed.
For organizations that have a fiscal year that ends June 30th, September 30th, and December 31st, today is also an important date if the organization is registered to solicit donations in states that follow the IRS deadlines.
Extensions may be requested with the states for organizations with a fiscal year ending September 30th or December 31st. For organizations with a fiscal year-end of June 30th, most state registrations will expire, with no further extension, today. Prepare and submit the application(s) as soon as possible to avoid accruing late fees.
Ellis Carter is a nonprofit lawyer with Caritas Law Group, P.C. licensed to practice in Washington and Arizona. Ellis advises nonprofit and socially responsible businesses on corporate, tax, and fundraising regulations nationwide. Ellis also advises donors with regard to major gifts. To schedule a consultation with Ellis, call 602-456-0071 or email us through our contact form.