Why is the IRS revoking nonprofit tax exemptions?
The Pension Protection Act of 2006 requires the IRS to revoke the exempt status of any nonprofit that is required to file an annual return (Form 990, 990-N, 990-EZ, or 990-PF) but has failed to do so for three consecutive years. Revocations are mandatory and automatic under the law. The IRS will update the Automatic Revocation of Exemption List monthly.
What happens to the revoked organizations now?
They must file a federal tax return and pay federal income taxes. Those that previously could accept tax-deductible contributions are no longer eligible to do so. (They can still accept donations, but the donations won't be deductible.)
Will revocation information appear on GuideStar?
Yes. We have already incorporated the data into our database and products. We will automatically update them when the IRS adds new organizations to the list each month.
Where will it appear?
In a revoked organization's listing on the search results page and near the top of its organization details page (i.e., GuideStar report), to the left of the "General Info" tab.
I saw a message about a nonprofit's status that referred to something other than failure to file. What was it?
To give our users the best information on which to base decisions, we have added an IRS status message to the nonprofit reports. This message will tell you whether the organization is in good standing with the IRS or if its status is questionable and additional research is required.
I subscribe to GuideStar Premium or purchase GuideStar Premium reports through Pay As You Go. Will I find revocation information and IRS status messages in those reports?
Yes. Nonfiler and other status messages are automatically included in the online, PDF, and printer-friendly GuideStar Premium reports.
Note to institutional funders: Verifying a nonprofit's status in GuideStar Premium does not meet IRS requirements for qualifying nonprofits to receive charitable distributions.
I subscribe to GuideStar Charity Check. Will revocation information appear in my Charity Check reports?
Yes. Revocation information is automatically incorporated into GuideStar Charity Check, including the online, PDF, and printer-friendly Charity Check reports. You can continue to rely on GuideStar Charity Check for one-stop due diligence that protects your organization from excise taxes.
What is an annual IRS nonprofit return?
IRS Form 990, 990-N, 990-EZ, or 990-PF.
Which nonprofits must file an annual return?
Most tax-exempt organizations. There are filing exceptions, such as churches and state institutions. Any exempt organization that does not fall under one of the exceptions must file an annual return.
Note: If you are with a nonprofit, and the only reason your organization has not filed a 990 or 990-EZ in the past is that its annual gross income was $25,000 or less, you probably should be filing Form 990-N, also known as the ePostcard. Double-check the list of filing exceptions. If none of them apply to your organization, read on for information about how to file Form 990-N.
How do I determine which version of the 990 my organization should file?
All 501(c)(3) private foundations must file a Form 990-PF; for most other exempt organizations, annual revenues or total assets determine which return to file.
View the table on the IRS Web site
My organization never applied for tax exemption, because our income is $5,000 or less. Do we need to file a 990-N?
Yes, unless your organization falls under one of the exceptions listed on the IRS Web site. Some organizations in this category have reported problems filing the 990-N, because they are not in IRS records, and the system therefore does not recognize them. If you encounter this problem, call Tax Exempt and Government Entities Customer Account Services at (877) 829-5500.
When does my organization need to file?
On the 15th day of the 5th month after your fiscal year ends. Thus, if your fiscal year ends on December 31, your return will be due IRS on May 15 of the following year. An organization whose fiscal year ends on a different date will have a different filing deadline.
Are there any filing extensions?
For Form 990, 990-EZ, and 990-PF filers, yes. For Form 990-N filers, no.
Form 990, 990-EZ, and 990-PF filers can obtain an automatic three-month extension by completing and filing IRS Form 8868. They can apply for a second three-month extension by submitting a new Form 8868. Note: An organization that is two or more years in arrears filing its annual returns must submit Form 8868 by the filing deadline (or extended filing deadline) in order to preserve its tax-exempt status.
How often must we file?
I can't find Form 990-N on the IRS site. What should I do?
Form 990-N is an entirely electronic form; no paper copies are available. The form must be filed online at http://epostcard.form990.org/. Individuals without computers should be able to file the return using computers at a public library, community center, or similar facility.
What information is required on a Form 990-N?
The following information is required to complete Form 990-N:
My nonprofit's tax exemption was not revoked. What do we need to do?
Technically, nothing, except keep up the good work. This a good time, however, to reach out to your donors, funders, and other constituents and assure them that you are in good standing with the IRS. You may also wish to suggest that your supporters consult GuideStar or the Automatic Revocation of Exemption List to ensure that the other nonprofits they give to are still exempt.
My organization's exemption was revoked. Is there anything we can do to get it back?
You must re-apply for tax-exempt status by filing the appropriate form with the IRS and paying the required fees. Although you can request expedited processing, you will need to provide justification; automatic revocation does not of itself merit fast-tracking an application.
The IRS has instituted special procedures for some revoked organizations; see the next FAQ for details.
What are the special procedures for reinstatement, and which nonprofits can take advantage of them?
Note: these procedures are not available to organizations that lost their exempt status as a result of an IRS examination.
My organization's exemption was revoked, but I'm sure it was a mistake. What can we do to fix it?
You need to contact the IRS:
If you have documentation confirming that your organization did file an annual return:
In all other cases, contact Customer Account Services at (877) 829-5500 (toll-free number) or Internal Revenue Service, Exempt Organizations Determinations, P.O. Box 2508, Cincinnati, OH 45201.
My organization has re-applied for exemption, or we're talking to the IRS about correcting our status. Can you remove the "Revoked for failure to file" message from our information on GuideStar?
No; we can only update the message after you have again been granted tax-exempt status by the IRS or the IRS has corrected your status in their records. The IRS publishes updates to its records every few weeks, and we automatically incorporate the updates into our database.
My organization subscribes to GuideStar Charity Check. Will Charity Check include revocation information, or do we have to start checking the Nonfiler Revocation List ourselves?
We have already incorporated the revocation data into GuideStar Charity Check, and we will automatically add new revocation data to it when the IRS updates the list each month. As long as you document your research by printing or saving a PDF of the Charity Check report, you're covered.
My organization does not subscribe GuideStar Charity Check. What do we need to do?
Before making a payout, you will need to confirm that a grantee or gift recipient does not appear on the list. Failure to do—and document—this research may cause the IRS to disallow a charitable distribution, making your organization liable for excise taxes.
FYI, GuideStar Charity Check, our one-stop due-diligence tool for grantmakers, automatically incorporates revocation data into its reports, which can be saved to document your research and protect your organization from excise taxes.
I'm a donor. Do I need to be aware of the revocations?
You do if you take the charitable gift deduction on your income taxes. Before making a contribution, you will need to confirm that the nonprofit receiving it is still tax exempt. Otherwise, the IRS may disallow the deduction, and you may be required to pay a penalty. You should check on GuideStar or the Automatic Revocation of Exemption List on the IRS site to confirm the nonprofit's status.
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