Guide to Filing a Non Profit Tax Return

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Tax season can be a dreadful time of year for many business owners, and just because your organization is tax-exempt does not necessarily mean that you are free from filing reports to the IRS on a regular basis. While deciphering the tax reporting obligations of your company can be daunting, the requirements for non-profit organizations are thankfully light, and can be completed in a reasonable amount of time.

Who Must File

  • All non-profit organizations except those listed on page 8 of Publication 557 must file annual information returns. Remember that regardless of your tax-exempt status, you must still file returns for employment taxes if you pay wages, and any business income that is unrelated to your charitable activities must be filed as well.

Who Files What

  • The electronic 990-N form is filed by companies with average annual receipts less than $25,000.

    Form 990-EZ is used by companies with average annual receipts less than $100,000 and total assets under $250,000. The criteria for being eligibile to use Form 990-EZ is changing each tax year. Detailed information on receipt and asset thresholds can be found at http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=184445,00.html.

    Form 990 is filed by companies with average annual receipts above $100,000, excluding private foundations.

    Form 990-PF is for private foundations.

    Form 990-T is for companies with more than $1,000 of unrelated business income who must file 990-T in addition to any other forms.

    Form 8282, used by companies that have disposed of donated property worth more than $500 for noncharitable purposes, is also filed as an addition to any other forms.

When and How to File

  • Form 990-N--File by the 15th day of the fifth month after the tax year ends.

    Forms 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF--File by the 15th day of the fifth month after your accounting period ends.

    Though the deadlines seem similar, the difference between the end of the tax year and the end of your accounting period can be significant. Penalties for late filing compound over time, so the best policy is to know your deadlines and always file your returns early.

    Companies that submit more than 250 returns per year are required to file all forms electronically. All other companies have the option to file online at www.IRS.gov.

    If you choose to file the old-fashioned way, send all paper submissions to:

    Department of the Treasury
    Internal Revenue Service Center
    Ogden, UT. 84201-0027

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