Nonprofit News Alert: IRS Change in Form 990-N Submission Website, February 2016

CalNonprofits recently sent a notification about an important change in the website where nonprofits who file IRS Form 990-N. Below is a summary of their alert. There is great information shared in their communication that helps demystify the change, along with direct links to the new website page.


IRS Anounces Change in Form 990-N Submission Website — effective February 29, 2016

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced that it is changing the website it uses to collect information from IRS Form 990-N filers. The Form 990-N is a very brief annual filing that smaller tax-exempt organizations are able to utilize in place of submitting the lengthier Form 990-EZ or Form 990. Many state, regional, and local affiliates and chapters of national nonprofit organizations qualify to submit the 990-N.

In order to file the Form 990-N, all nonprofits will be required to complete a one-time registration and file Form 990-N submissions through the IRS’s website here.

Who Must File the Form 990-N

The Form 990-N is a short, 8-question filing that must be filed by organizations whose annual gross receipts are normally $50,000 or less. An organization meets this criterion if it:

  • Has been in existence for 1 year or less and received, or donors have pledged to give, $75,000 or less during its first taxable year;
  • Has been in existence between 1 and 3 years and averaged $60,000 or less in gross receipts during each of its first two tax years; and
  • Is at least 3 years old and averaged $50,000 or less in gross receipts for the immediately preceding 3 tax years (including the year for which calculations are being made).

Alternatively, organizations meeting the above criteria may choose to file a complete Form 990 or Form 990-EZ. However, organizations rarely choose to do this, because these forms are much lengthier, comprehensive, and more time-intensive than the Form 990-N.

Some organizations are not required to make any type of Form 990 annual filing with the IRS, such as churches and organizations included in a group Form 990 return (note that simply being part of a group tax exemption does not relieve a member of the group of the annual IRS filing requirement). Organization managers who are uncertain as to what filing obligation, if any, they have should consult with legal counsel.

When the Form 990-N Must Be Filed

The Form 990-N (as well as the Form 990 and the Form 990-EZ) must be submitted to the IRS by the 15th day of the 5th month after the close of an organization’s tax year. This means that for an organization whose tax year ended on December 31, 2015, the Form 990-N must be filed by May 15, 2016.

How to File the Form 990-N

The Form 990-N must be submitted electronically. Starting today, February 29, 2016, the IRS will host the Form 990-N submission website.

The IRS has acknowledged, however, that it is possible for technical issues to delay the implementation of the new Form 990-N submission process. Should this occur, the IRS states that it has put in place systems to prevent organizations from being penalized if their filing due dates occur before the system is in place. More information can be found at the IRS website here.