Remember to File Form 990-N for 501(c)(3) Organizations

Did you know that small non-profit organizations that are recognized by the IRS as non-profit (501(c)(3) organizations) must file a tax return with the federal government?  Even organizations that have gross receipts of $25,000 or less must file a very short tax return.  A number of Vermont libraries and Friends groups are in danger of losing their 501(c)(3) IRS recognition, because they have not filed this required annual informational return.  This is a tax return, of sorts, but there is no tax to be paid.  IRS simply wants to verify the continuing status of the organization.  In particular, they want to have current contact information and verification that the gross receipts are $25,000.or less.

The following information is taken from the IRS website, http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=169250,00.html :

Annual Electronic Filing Requirement for Small Exempt Organizations — Form 990-N (e-Postcard)

Small tax-exempt organizations whose annual gross receipts are normally $25,000 or less may be required to electronically submit Form 990-N, also known as the e-Postcard, unless they choose to file a complete Form 990 or Form 990-EZ.

If you do not file your e-Postcard on time, the IRS will send you a reminder notice but you will not be assessed a penalty for late filing the e-Postcard. However, an organization that fails to file required e-Postcards (or information returns – Forms 990 or 990-EZ) for three consecutive years will automatically lose its tax-exempt status. The revocation of the organization’s tax-exempt status will not take place until the filing due date of the third year.

Due Date of the e-Postcard

The e-Postcard is due every year by the 15th day of the 5th month after the close of your tax year. For example, if your tax year ended on December 31, the e-Postcard is due May 15 of the following year. You cannot file the e-Postcard until after your tax year ends.”

The 990-N postcard is filed at this site: http://epostcard.form990.org/

Have the following information ready before you begin:

  • Your organization’s Employer Identification Number (EIN). This number is sometimes referred to as a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). This is the same number you would have used when you applied for Federal tax-exempt status. An EIN consists of 9 digits and the format of the number is NN-NNNNNNN (for example: 00-1234567).
  • Your organization’s legal name
  • Any other names your organization uses to do business (DBA name)
  • Be able to answer the following questions:
  • Has your organization terminated or gone out of business?
  • Are your gross receipts normally $25,000 or less?
  • The organization’s mailing address (or P.O. Box), city, state and zip code
  • Your organization’s website address (if you have one)
  • The name and address of one of your organization’s principal officers.

If this is the first time you have filed at this website, you will have to create a User ID.  Make note of this and keep it in an accessible location so that in subsequent years, your successors will have this information available.

This is a very simple form that you can fill out in a few minutes.  AND, if you do not complete this annually, your organization may lose its IRS recognition.

If you have missed the filing in past years, you may correct this oversight by filing this year, but you must do so before October 15, 2010.

If you have questions, check out the IRS website: http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=169250,00.html

Or, you may contact Rob Geiszler at the Vermont Department of Libraries:

Rob Geiszler
Library Development Consultant
Vermont Department of Libraries
271 North Main Street
Rutland, VT 05701
(802) 786-3839
rob.geiszler@state.vt.us

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