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Today is Doomsday for non-filing tax-exempt organizations

May 17, 2010

Midnight tonight is the deadline for many charities to file 990-series returns or lose their tax-exempt status. As USA today puts it,

Hundreds of thousands of small non-profits, from Little League teams to community soup kitchens, could lose their tax-exempt status on Monday because of an IRS filing requirement.

The 2006 Pension Protection Act included a provision requiring all non-profits to file an annual return with the IRS.

Previously, non-profits with annual revenue of less than $25,000 were excluded. Non-profits that fail to file a return for three consecutive years lose their tax-exempt status. On May 17, the three-year clock runs out for non-profits that haven't filed a return since 2007.

Fortunately, the required filing is a very simple on-line process if your organization normally takes in less than $25,000 per year -- you mostly just need to enter identifying information, with no financial detail. Bigger outfits will have to file a version of Form 990. If you need extra time, you can get a three-month extension by filing Form 8868 today. Some organizations, mostly governments and religious entities, are exempt from the filing and revocation rules.

If you are a treasurer or board member of a tax-exempt entity, you can go to this web site to see whether you might be losing your exemption.

The TaxProf has more.

Related: Is your organization about to lose its tax-exempt status?

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