Small tax-exempt organizations face new postcard reporting requirement

The Internal Revenue Service has announced that it began mailing educational letters this month to more than 650,000 small tax-exempt organizations that may be required to submit a new annual notice, Form 990-N, "Electronic Notice (e-Postcard) for Tax-Exempt Organizations Not Required to File Form 990 or 990-EZ."

IRS expects to mail the letters over a period of several months, finishing in December.

With the enactment of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA), the majority of small tax-exempt organizations are now required to submit the e-Postcard. Previously, tax-exempt organizations with gross receipts of $25,000 or less were not required to submit information returns. The first e-Postcards are due in calendar year 2008. The IRS intends to have an option available for free electronic submission of the e-Postcard.

"We're sending these educational letters to all the small exempt organizations in our records because we want to make sure they all know about the new requirement," said Lois G. Lerner, director of the IRS Exempt Organizations division. "The new e-Postcard reporting requirement is simple and straightforward, but organizations shouldn't ignore it, or they risk losing their tax-exempt status."

Any organization that fails to meet its annual reporting requirement for three consecutive years automatically loses its tax-exempt status under the new law. An organization that wants to regain its exempt status will then have to reapply for recognition as a tax-exempt organization.

Short, Easy, Free and Electronic

"The IRS calls the new form an e-Postcard because it is short, easy and electronic," Lerner said. "And organizations will be able to submit it free of charge."

The e-Postcard requires small organizations to provide a legal name and mailing address, any other names used, a Web address if one exists, the name and address of a principal officer and a statement confirming the organization's annual gross receipts are normally $25,000 or less.

In addition to sending out educational letters, IRS is encouraging everyone - individual volunteers, tax practitioners and larger organizations - to spread the word about the new e-Postcard reporting requirement.

"People do a lot to help their communities by volunteering their time and money to local charities. We're asking them to also offer a helping hand by making sure that charities know about the law change," Lerner said. "We don't want those organizations to lose their tax-exempt status because they didn't know about the new reporting requirement."

The IRS is developing a free reporting system for the e-Postcard and an application to make the information available to the public on IRS.gov. Information about these systems will be announced as soon as it becomes available.

Further details, including frequently asked questions and a copy of the educational letter, are available in the charities and non-profits section of IRS.gov.

You may like these other stories...

IRS audits less than 1 percent of big partnershipsAccording to an April 17 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the IRS audits fewer than 1 percent of large business partnerships, Stephen Ohlemacher of the...
Legislation coming out of Washington just might reduce homeowners' burden for disaster insurance. It's a topic very much on everyone's minds since the mudslide in Oso, Washington. The loss of human life was...
Divorce is hard, and the IRS isn't going to make it any easier. The IRS generally says "no" to tax deductions that might ease the pain of divorce. In certain circumstances, however, you might be able to salvage...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Apr 22
Is everyone at your organization meeting your client service expectations? Let client service expert, Kristen Rampe, CPA help you establish a reputation of top-tier service in every facet of your firm during this one hour webinar.
Apr 24
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA introduces you to a powerful but underutilized macro feature in Excel.
Apr 25
This material focuses on the principles of accounting for non-profit organizations' revenues. It will include discussions of revenue recognition for cash and non-cash contributions as well as other revenues commonly received by non-profit organizations.
Apr 30
During the second session of a four-part series on Individual Leadership, the focus will be on time management- a critical success factor for effective leadership. Each person has 24 hours of time to spend each day; the key is making wise investments and knowing what investments yield the greatest return.