The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that tax-exempt organizations that have January and February filing due dates have until March 30, 2012, to file their annual returns.
The IRS granted the extension because the part of the e-file system that processes electronically filed returns of tax-exempt organizations will be offline January and February. The remainder of the e-file system will continue to operate normally, and the IRS urged all individuals and businesses to choose the accuracy, speed, and convenience of electronic filing.
In general, the extension applies to tax-exempt organizations that would have a normal filing deadline of either January 17 or February 15, 2012. Ordinarily, those deadlines would apply to organizations with a fiscal year that ended on August 31 or September 30, 2011, respectively.
The extension also applies to organizations that already obtained an initial three-month filing extension and now have an extended filing deadline that falls on January 17 or February 15, 2012. The majority of tax-exempt organizations will be unaffected by this extension because they operate on a calendar-year basis and have a May 15, 2012, filing deadline.
The extension applies to affected organizations filing forms 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF, or 1120-POL. Form 990-N filers will not be affected. No form needs to be filed to get the March 30 extension.
In order to avoid receiving a late-filing penalty notice, a reasonable-cause statement should be attached to the tax return. If an organization receives a late-filing penalty notice, it should contact the IRS so that penalties can be abated. The IRS encouraged these organizations to consider either e-filing early – before the end of December 2011 – or waiting until March to file electronically.
Further details can be found in Notice 2012-4.