If you run a nonprofit organization, you know that you don’t have to pay federal taxes, but in order to maintain your exempt status, you must submit a return to the IRS called a Form 990. This form is designed to evaluate your operations and includes details related to your organization’s mission, programs, and finances. At Steward Ingram & Cooper PLLC, we understand that this form can be complicated and time-consuming. Our CPA firm in Chapel Hill can prepare Form 990 for you as well as provide the following services:

Filing Taxes as a Nonprofit Organization

As a nonprofit, your Form 990 is as important and vital as a tax return is for a business. This overview of your financial records and activities throughout the year also details any potential conflicts of interest, breaks down board member compensation, and is needed to ensure avoidance of fraud. Failing to file this form or filing it incorrectly could result in losing your tax-exempt status.

What Organizations Are Exempt from Filing a 990?

  • Most religious organizations, including churches, religious schools, and missionary organizations
  • Subsidiaries of non-profits are exempt because their financial information is reported in the parent organization’s 990
  • Government corporations or state institutions
  • Non-profits that are unincorporated or incorporated at the state level but don’t plan to apply to the IRS for tax-exemption

Does My Exempt Organization Have to File a Return?

Most nonprofits that are exempt from filing a 990 still have to file an annual information return. The accountants at Steward Ingram & Cooper PLLC will walk you through what forms are required and even complete them on your behalf.

Multiple Versions of Form 990

Just like the 1040 comes in multiple versions, Form 990 also has different versions, some of which are very simple and some are more complex.

  • Form 990 has 12 pages and 16 supporting schedules, making it the most complex and extensive option. A nonprofit may not have to complete all 16 schedules, but it’s important to pay close attention to the questions on the main form to make sure you’re completing the required options.
  • Form 990-EZ is a shorter form with only 4 pages. Even if your organization can file the 990-EZ, you may still need to complete some of the 16 schedules included in the original 990.
  • Form 990-N is an ePostcard. This is completed electronically on the IRS website and is the shortest option. It’s typically completed by nonprofits that are not required to complete a 990 or 990-EZ.
  • Form 990-PF is an annual information return that private foundations are required to file.

The accountants at our CPA firm can help you determine which version of Form 990 is best for your nonprofit and assist you in filing.

FAQs About When to File the 990

When is Form 990 Due?

The deadline to file a 990 is the 15th day of the 5th month after your fiscal year ends. For organizations following a calendar-year, this would mean your form is due May 15th, but for fiscal years ending on June 30, the due date is November 15th. It’s very important to know when to file as failing to file on time for three years in a row will lead to revocation of your tax-exempt status.

What are the Filing Requirements?

The filing requirements depend on total gross receipts and total assets.
File form 990-N if annual gross receipts are normally less than $50,000.
File form 990-EZ if gross receipts are less than $200,000 and total assets are less than $500,000
File form 990 if gross receipts are $200,000 or more and total assets are $500,000 or more.
File form 990-PF if the organization is a private foundation.

Can My Organization Request an Extension?

The IRS allows an automatic 6-month extension to file forms 990, 990-EZ, and 990-PF.  Use Form 8868 to request an extension. There is no extension allowed for the 990-N.

What Happens if Form 990 is not Filed or Filed Late?

If a tax-exempt nonprofit fails to file or files late for three years in a row, they will lose their exempt status. If it’s late one or two years, the IRS will assess a penalty.