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IRS: Exempt Organizations Must File 990-Series Forms by May 15

May 6th 2015
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The filing deadline is quickly approaching for many tax-exempt organizations, according to the IRS.

Form 990-series information returns and notices are due on the 15th day of the fifth month after an exempt organization’s tax year ends. Thus, May 15 is the deadline for many organizations that use the calendar year as their tax year to file their forms for 2014.

The IRS reminded exempt groups this week not to include Social Security numbers or other unneeded personal information on their Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax.

The IRS generally does not ask organizations for Social Security numbers and in the form instructions cautions filers not to provide them on the form. By law, both the IRS and most tax-exempt organizations are required to publicly disclose most parts of form filings, including schedules and attachments. Public release of Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable information about donors, clients, or benefactors could increase the chances of identity theft, according to the IRS.

The IRS also urged tax-exempt organizations to file their forms electronically in order to minimize the risk of inadvertently including Social Security numbers or other personal information.

Tax-exempt forms that must be made public by the IRS are clearly marked “Open to Public Inspection” in the top right corner of the first page, the agency noted. These include Form 990; Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax; Form 990-PF, Return of Private Foundation; and others.

Small tax-exempt organizations with average annual receipts of $50,000 or less may file an electronic notice called a Form 990-N (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.

Organizations that need additional time to file forms 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF may obtain an extension. No extension is available for filing the Form 990-N (e-Postcard).

By law, organizations that fail to file annual reports for three consecutive years will see their federal tax exemptions automatically revoked as of the due date of the third required filing, according to the IRS. The Pension Protection Act of 2006 mandates that most tax-exempt organizations file annual Form 990-series informational returns or notices with the IRS. The law, which went into 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.