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previous page Previous Page: Publication 557 - Tax-Exempt Status for Your Organization - Group Exemption Letter
next page Next Page: Publication 557 - Tax-Exempt Status for Your Organization - Unrelated Business Income Tax Return
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for this Publication
taxmap/pubs/p557-005.htm#TXMP5f8e0fba

Chapter 2
Filing Requirements 
and Required Disclosures(p8)

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Filing Requirements and Required Disclosures

taxmap/pubs/p557-005.htm#TXMP1084b075Introduction

Most exempt organizations (including private foundations) must file various returns and reports at some time during (or following the close of) their accounting period.

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Useful items

You may want to see:


Publication
 15 Circular E, Employer's Tax Guide
 15-A Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide
 15-B Employer's Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits
 598 Tax on Unrelated Business Income of Exempt Organizations
Form (and Instructions)
 941: Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return
 990: Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax
 990-EZ: Short Form Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax
 Schedule A (Form 990 or 990-EZ): Organization Exempt Under Section 501(c)(3)
 Schedule B (Form 990 or 990-EZ): Schedule of Contributors
 990-PF: Return of Private Foundation or Section 4947(a)(1) Nonexempt Charitable Trust Treated as a Private Foundation
 990-T: Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return
 990-W: Estimated Tax on Unrelated Business Taxable Income for Tax-Exempt Organizations
 1120-POL: U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Political Organizations
 4720: Return of Certain Excise Taxes Under Chapters 41 and 42 of the Internal Revenue Code
 5768: Election/Revocation of Election by an Eligible Section 501(c)(3) Organization To Make Expenditures To Influence Legislation
 7004: Application for Automatic 6–Month Extension of Time to File Certain Business Income Tax, Information, and Other Returns
 8274: Certification by Churches and Qualified Church-Controlled Organizations Electing Exemption from Employer Social Security and Medicare Taxes
 8282: Donee Information Return
 8300: Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in a Trade or Business
 8453-X: Political Organization Declaration for Electronic Filing of Notice of Section 527 Status
 8868: Application for Extension of Time to File an Exempt Organization Return
 8870: Information Return for Transfers Associated with Certain Personal Benefits Contracts
 8871: Political Organization Notice of Section 527 Status
 8872: Political Organization Report of Contributions and Expenditures
 8886-T: Disclosure by Tax-Exempt Entity Regarding Prohibited Tax Shelter Transaction
 8899: Notice of Income from Donated Intellectual Property
 8921: Applicable Insurance Contracts Information Return
See chapter 6 for information about getting these publications and forms.
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Annual Information Returns(p9)


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Every organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(a) must file an annual information return except:
  1. A church, an interchurch organization of local units of a church, a convention or association of churches, or an integrated auxiliary of a church (as defined later under Religious Organizations in chapter 3),
  2. A church-affiliated organization that is exclusively engaged in managing funds or maintaining retirement programs,
  3. A school below college level affiliated with a church or operated by a religious order, even though it is not an integrated auxiliary of a church,
  4. A mission society sponsored by or affiliated with one or more churches or church denominations, more than half of the society's activities are conducted in, or directed at, persons in foreign countries,
  5. An exclusively religious activity of any religious order,
  6. A state institution, the income of which is excluded from gross income under section 115,
  7. A corporation described in section 501(c)(1) [a corporation that is organized under an Act of Congress and is:
    1. an instrumentality of the United States, and
    2. exempt from federal income taxes],
  8. A black lung benefit trust described in section 501(c)(21) [Required to file Form 990-BL, Information and Initial Excise Tax Return for Black Lung Benefit Trusts and Certain Related Persons. See chapter 4 for more information.],
  9. A stock bonus, pension, or profit-sharing trust that qualifies under section 401 (required to file Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan),
  10. A religious or apostolic organization described in section 501(d) [required to file Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income],
  11. A foreign organization described in section 501(a) [other than a private foundation] that normally does not have more than $25,000 in annual gross receipts from sources within the United States and has no significant activity in the United States. For further information, see Revenue Procedure 94-17, 1994-1 C.B. 579,
  12. A governmental unit or an affiliate of a governmental unit that meets the requirements of Revenue Procedure 95-48, 1995-2 C.B. 418,
  13. An exempt organization (other than a private foundation, discussed in chapter 3) having gross receipts in each tax year that normally are not more than $25,000. (See the instructions for Form 990 for more information about what constitutes annual gross receipts that are normally not more than $25,000.),
  14. A private foundation exempt under section 501(c)(3) and described in section 509(a). (Required to file Form 990-PF), or
  15. A United States possession organization described in section 501(a) [other than a private foundation] that normally does not have more than $25,000 in annual gross receipts from sources within the United States and has no significant activity in the United States. For further information, see Revenue Procedure 2003-21, Internal Revenue Bulletin 2003-6.
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(p9)


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Form 990-N for Small Exempt Organizations(p9)


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Form 990-N for Small Exempt Organizations

Small exempt organizations (such as 11, 13, and 15 above) whose gross receipts are normally $25,000 or less are not required to file an information return. However, these organizations are now required to file an electronic Form 990-N with the IRS annually. The form will require the following information:
Form 990-N is due by the 15th day of the fifth month after the close of the tax year. For tax years beginning after December 31, 2006, any organization that fails to meet its annual reporting requirement for 3 consecutive years will automatically lose its tax-exempt status. To regain its exempt status an organization will have to reapply for recognition as a tax-exempt organization.
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Exceptions.(p9)
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This filing requirement does not apply to:
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Supporting Organization Annual Information Return(p9)


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Supporting Organization Annual Information Return

For tax years ending after August 17, 2006, all section 509(a)(3) supporting organizations are required to file an annual information return with the IRS regardless of the organization's gross receipts. On its annual information return, a supporting organization must:
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Forms 990 and 990-EZ(p9)


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Forms 990 and 990-EZ

Exempt organizations, other than private foundations, must file their annual information returns on Form 990, or Form 990-EZ.
Generally, political organizations with gross receipts of $25,000 ($100,000 for a qualified state or local political organization (QSLPO)) or more for the tax year are required to file Form 990 (990-EZ) unless specifically excepted from filing the annual return. The following political organizations are not required to file Form 990 (Form 990-EZ).
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Form 990-EZ.(p9)


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This is a shortened version of Form 990. It is designed for use by small exempt organizations and nonexempt charitable trusts.
An organization may file Form 990-EZ, instead of Form 990, if it meets both of the following requirements.
  1. Its gross receipts during the year were less than $100,000.
  2. Its total assets (line 25, column (B) of Form 990-EZ) at the end of the year were less than $250,000.
If your organization does not meet either of these conditions, you cannot file Form 990-EZ. Instead you must file Form 990.
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Group return.(p10)
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A group return on Form 990 may be filed by a central, parent, or like organization for two or more local organizations, none of which is a private foundation. This return is in addition to the central organization's separate annual return if it must file a return. It cannot be included in the group return. See the instructions for Form 990 for the conditions under which this procedure may be used.
Deposit
In any year that an organization is properly included as a subordinate organization on a group return, it should not file its own Form 990.
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Schedule A (Form 990 or 990-EZ).(p10)


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Organizations, other than private foundations, that are described in section 501(c)(3) and that are otherwise required to file Form 990 or 990-EZ must also complete Schedule A of that form.
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Schedule B (Form 990 or 990-EZ).(p10)


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Organizations that file Form 990 or 990-EZ use this schedule to provide required information regarding their contributors.
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Form 990-PF(p10)


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Form 990-PF

All private foundations exempt under section 501(c)(3) must file Form 990-PF. These organizations are discussed in chapter 3.
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Electronic Filing(p10)


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You may be required to file Form 990, Form 990-EZ, or Form 990-PF, and related forms, schedules, and attachments electronically.
If an organization is required to file a return electronically but does not, the organization is considered to have not filed its return. See Regulations section 301.6033-4 for more information.
The IRS may waive the requirement to file electronically in cases of undue hardship. For information on filing a waiver, see Notice 2005-88 which is on page 1060 of Internal Revenue Bulletin 2005-48.
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Form 990.(p10)
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An organization is required to file Form 990 electronically if it files at least 250 returns during the calendar year and has total assets of $10 million or more at the end of the tax year.
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Form 990-PF.(p10)
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An organization is required to file Form 990-PF electronically if it files at least 250 returns during the calendar year.
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Due Date(p10)


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Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF must be filed by the 15th day of the fifth month after the end of your organization's accounting period. Thus, for a calendar year taxpayer, Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF is due May 15 of the following year.
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Extension to file.(p10)


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Use Form 8868 to request an automatic 3-month extension of time to file Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF and also to apply for an additional (not automatic) 3-month extension if needed.
Do not apply for both the automatic 3-month extension and the additional 3-month extension at the same time. For more information, see Form 8868 and its instructions.
When filing Form 8868 for an automatic 3-month extension, neither a signature, nor an explanation is required. However, when filing Form 8868 for an additional 3-month extension, both a signature and an explanation are required.
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Application for exemption pending.(p10)


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An organization that claims to be exempt under section 501(a) but has not established its exempt status by the due date for filing an information return should complete and file Form 990 or 990-EZ (or Form 990-PF if it considers itself a private foundation). If the organization's application is pending with the IRS, it must so indicate on Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF (whichever applies) by checking the application pending block at the top of page 1 of the return. For more information on the filing requirements, see the instructions for Forms 990, 990-EZ, and 990-PF.
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State reporting requirements.(p10)


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Copies of Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF may be used to satisfy state reporting requirements. See the instructions for those forms.
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Form 8870.(p10)


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Organizations that filed a Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF, and paid premiums or received transfers on certain life insurance, annuity, and endowment contracts (personal benefit contracts), must file Form 8870. For more information, see Form 8870 and its instructions.
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Penalties(p10)


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Penalties for failure to file.(p10)


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Generally, an exempt organization that fails to file a required return must pay a penalty of $20 a day for each day the failure continues. The same penalty will apply if the organization does not give all the information required on the return or does not give the correct information.
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Maximum penalty.(p10)
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The maximum penalty for any one return is the smaller of $10,000 or 5% of the organization's gross receipts for the year.
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Organization with gross receipts over $1 million.(p10)
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For an organization that has gross receipts of over $1 million for the year, the penalty is $100 a day up to a maximum of $50,000.
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Managers.(p10)
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If the organization is subject to this penalty, the IRS may specify a date by which the return or correct information must be supplied by the organization. Failure to comply with this demand will result in a penalty imposed upon the manager of the organization, or upon any other person responsible for filing a correct return. The penalty is $10 a day for each day that a return is not filed after the period given for filing. The maximum penalty imposed on all persons with respect to any one return is $5,000.
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Exception for reasonable cause.(p10)
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No penalty will be imposed if reasonable cause for failure to file timely can be shown.
previous pagePrevious Page: Publication 557 - Tax-Exempt Status for Your Organization - Group Exemption Letter
next pageNext Page: Publication 557 - Tax-Exempt Status for Your Organization - Unrelated Business Income Tax Return
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for this Publication