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WHICH U.S. IRS TAX FORM

SHOULD YOUR NONPROFIT FILE

Nonprofit organizations located in the United States are required to file an information form each year to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). However, there are multiple forms available to nonprofits and deciding which form to file depends on the organization’s classification and whether or not the nonprofit reaches certain spending thresholds.  Below is overview of the various forms available and information on filing deadlines and penalties for non- and late filings.

Form 990

Organizations exempt from taxes under IRS code section 501c3 (except for private foundations) as well as most other 501c organizations that have gross receipts greater than or equal to $200,000 or that have total assets greater than or equal to $500,000 at the end of the tax year should file Form 990.  

Form 990-EZ

Organizations that have gross receipts of less than $200,000 and total assets of less than $500,000 during the tax year should file Form 990-EZ. An exception to this rule is a controlling organization under IRS code section 512(b)(13) when there are transfers between the controlling and controlled organization. Organizations meeting this exemption should file Form 990.

Form 990-N

Most small tax-exempt organizations whose annual gross receipts are normally of $50,000 or less should file Form 990-N. This filing is an “electronic postcard” that requires very limited reporting information. 

Form 990-PF

Organizations exempt under IRS code section 501c3 and that are considered private foundations must file Form 990-PF. 

Form 990-T

Organizations that received $1,000 or more in gross unrelated business income must file Form 990-T along with any tax payment due.  A state filing for reporting such taxable income is also typically required.  

No Filing

Churches and other religious organization as well as governmental organizations are generally not required to file annual information returns. 

Filing Deadline

Information returns must be filed with the IRS every year by the 15th day of the 5th month after the close of the organization’s fiscal year.   

Filing Extension

Organizations may file Form 8868 to request an automatic 6-month extension of time to file.

Late Filings

Organizations with gross receipts less than $1 million during the fiscal year that submit an information return after the due date (including any extensions) without providing a reasonable cause for the late filing will be assessed a penalty of $20 per day for each day that the return is late up to a maximum penalty of $10,000 or 5% of the organization’s gross receipts, whichever is less.  

For organizations with gross receipts of $1 million or more, the penalty is $100 per day for each day that the return is late up to a maximum of $50,000. 


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