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IRS Urges Tax-Exempt Organizations to File Annual Returns Early

Title: Filing Deadlines and Procedures for Tax-Exempt Organizations

Tax-exempt organizations play a crucial role in society, and although they are exempt from income taxation, they still have filing obligations with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This article will provide valuable information on filing deadlines, electronic filing requirements, extensions, and important considerations for tax-exempt organizations.

Filing Deadlines and Electronic Filing:
According to the IRS, tax-exempt organizations are normally required to file their annual returns by the 15th day of the 5th month after the end of their accounting period. For organizations operating on a calendar year basis, the filing deadline is May 15. The forms that are due by this date include 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF, 990-N, 990-T, and 4720.

The IRS emphasizes that electronic filing is mandatory for certain organizations, as it provides a faster acknowledgement of receipt and reduces processing time. Organizations filing forms 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF, or 990-T for the calendar year must file their returns electronically. Private foundations filing Form 4720 must also do so electronically. Additionally, organizations eligible to file Form 990-N must file it online as well. Charities and other tax-exempt companies can file these forms electronically through an IRS-authorized e-file provider.

Extensions and Payment of Tax:
If an organization requires more time to file their return, they can file Form 8868 to request a six-month automatic filing extension. This extension will delay the filing deadline until November 15. However, it’s important to note that extending the time to file does not extend the time to pay any tax that may be due.

When applying for an extension, organizations must specify the forms for which they are seeking an extension and provide a detailed explanation of why the extension is necessary. It is crucial for organizations to review their forms for accuracy and completeness to avoid rejection.

Important Considerations for Filing:
Tax-exempt groups should ensure they are using the appropriate Form 990 for the tax period. Failing to file the proper version of Form 990 for the tax period may result in penalties. Filers should also verify the accuracy of their employer identification number (EIN), tax period, and group exemption number (GEN).

The IRS advises that organizations must match the Internal Revenue Code Subsection mentioned in their determination letter, which confirms their tax-exempt status. It is essential to complete all parts of Form 990 and include a proper signature in the Signature Block, signed by an authorized officer of the organization.

Safeguarding Personal Information:
The IRS cautions against including unnecessary personally identifiable information on Form 990, as it can facilitate identity theft. While Form 990 is made publicly available by both the IRS and the filer, organizations should exercise caution and provide only the required information.

Tax-Exempt Status vs. Nonprofit Status:
It’s important to note that tax-exempt status is not the same as nonprofit status. Organizing an entity as a nonprofit at the state level does not automatically grant exemption from federal income tax. To be recognized as exempt from federal income taxation, organizations must meet the requirements outlined in the Internal Revenue Code and apply for recognition of exemption.

Understanding the filing deadlines, electronic filing requirements, extensions, and important considerations for tax-exempt organizations is crucial to ensure compliance with IRS regulations. By adhering to these guidelines and providing accurate and complete information, organizations can fulfill their filing obligations efficiently and maintain their tax-exempt status.

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