By Joyce M. Hillis
If you’ve graciously volunteered to sit on the board of an organization which is exempt from federal income taxation, we hope you have May 15 circled on your calendar. That’s the date by which tax-exempt organizations are generally required to file annual reports with the IRS. These reports detail an organization’s income and expenses.
The IRS has provided three forms for reporting this information: Form 990, Form 990-EZ, and Form 990-N. The latter form is for smaller tax-exempt organizations. The Form is due every year on the 15th day of the 5th month after the close of the organization’s tax year. Most charitable organizations use the calendar year—which terminates on December 31—for their tax year, and thus their forms are due on May 15. Other organizations may rely on a different fiscal year calendar, and thus their submission date might differ.
Failure to file a timely Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-N can subject the tax-exempt organization to certain penalties. Failure to file for three consecutive years can lead to revocation of tax-exempt status. Accordingly, timely submission of these reports is a key to maintaining good standing as a tax-exempt organization and the benefits associated with such status.
This Form must be filed in addition to other returns the exempt organization may be required to file, including employment taxes or other business income. Because requirements may vary based on the size, type, or status of a tax-exempt entity, each organization should consult an attorney if it has questions regarding what must be filed and when.