The Internal Revenue Service is cautioning tax-exempt organizations such as charities and other not-for-profits that they face a deadline of May 15 under which they are required by law to file annual reports.
Organizations will see their federal tax exemptions automatically revoked if they have not filed Form 990-series reports with the IRS for three consecutive years.
The Pension Protection Act of 2006 mandates that most tax-exempt organizations file annual Form 990-series informational returns or notices with the IRS. Under this law, organizations that fail to file reports for three consecutive years automatically lose their federal tax-exempt status.
The law, which took effect at the beginning of 2007, also imposed a new annual filing requirement on small organizations. Churches and church-related organizations are not required to file annual reports.
Form 990-series information returns and notices are due on the 15th day of the fifth month after an organizations fiscal year ends. Organizations that need additional time to file can file a Form 8868 to obtain an extension.
Many organizations use the calendar year as their fiscal year, which makes May 15 the deadline for them. Organizations that fail to file annual reports for three consecutive years will see their tax exemptions automatically revoked as of the due date of the third required filing.
Small tax-exempt organizations with average annual receipts of $50,000 or less may file an electronic notice called a Form 990-N, also known in the IRS as an "e-Postcard," which asks organizations for a few basic pieces of information. Tax-exempt organizations with average annual receipts above $50,000 must file a Form 990 or 990-EZ, depending on their receipts and assets. Private foundations file a Form 990-PF.
The IRS began to publish the names of organizations identified as having automatically lost their tax-exempt status for failing to file annual reports for three consecutive years. Organizations that have had their exemptions automatically revoked and wish to have that status reinstated must file an application for reinstatement of the tax exemption and pay the appropriate user fee.
The IRS offers an online search tool, Exempt Organizations Select Check, to help users more easily find key information about the federal tax status and filings of certain tax-exempt organizations, including whether organizations have had their federal tax exemptions automatically revoked.