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ExpressTaxExempt Blog

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

4 Ways to Reinstate Your Exempt Status with the IRS

Most tax-exempt organizations are required to file either a Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF or 990-N (e-Postcard) each year with the IRS to maintain its tax-exempt status. Organizations that fail to file the appropriate form for three (3) consecutive years are considered automatically revoked and lose its tax-exempt status immediately. An automatic revocation is effective on the original filing due date of the third annual return or notice.

Each month, an “Automatic Revocation of Exemption List” will be updated and made available for public records on the IRS website. This list will include the name, EIN, organization type, last known address that the organization has provided, effective date of revocation and the date the organization was added to the list. Organizations that apply for and receive reinstatement to tax-exempt status are also listed on this list with the date of reinstatement provided also.

How To Reinstate Your Exempt Status

Well since we’ve hit the area of reinstatement...let’s talk about it!

Although the law prohibits the IRS from undoing a proper automatic revocation or an appeal process, an organization that has been revoked can be reinstated. There are four ways an organization can be reinstated:

Streamlined Retroactive Reinstatement

This type of reinstatement is for organizations that usually file Form 990-EZ or 990-N (e-Postcard). Tax-exempt status can be reinstated if they have not previously had their tax-exempt status automatically revoked. Also Form 1023, Form 1023-EZ or Form 1024 must be completed and submitted with the appropriate user fee include no later than 15 months after the date listed on the organization’s Revocation Letter or the date the organization appeared on the IRS Revocation List.  For more information on where to send this form, click here.

Additionally, if an organization is retroactively reinstated, they will not be charged the failure-to-file penalty if this procedure and necessary files are completed correctly.

Retroactive Reinstatement Process

This process is for organizations that are required to file Form 990 or Form 990-PF. Similar to the streamlined retroactive reinstatement process, in order to be reinstated you must do the following:
  • -Complete and submit Form 1023 or Form 1024 with the appropriate user fee not later than 15 months after the date listed on the Revocation Letter or the date in which the organization appeared on the IRS Revocation List. 
  • -Include a statement with the application that establishes that the organization had reasonable cause for its failure to file for at least one of the three consecutive years in which it failed to file. 
  • -Include with the application a statement confirming that it has filed required returns for those three years and for any other applicable taxable years. 
  • -Properly file completed and executed paper annual returns for the three consecutive years that caused the revocation. Organizations should write “Retroactive Reinstatement” on these returns and mail them here
The failure-to-file penalty will not be charged if this procedure and necessary files are completed correctly.

Retroactive Reinstatement (after 15 months)

Any organization that applies for reinstatement more than 15 months after the later of the date on the organization’s revocation letter or the date the organization appeared on the IRS Revocation List may have their tax-exempt status retroactively reinstated by satisfying all of the requirements described under the “Retroactive Reinstatement (within 15 months)” procedure EXCEPT that the reasonable cause statement that the organization includes with the application must establish reasonable cause for its failure to file a required annual return for all three consecutive years.

No failure-to-file penalty will be applied if the organization is retroactively reinstated under this procedure.

Postmark Date Reinstatement

Last but not least, the final way to be reinstated is for organizations that apply for reinstatement effective from the postmark date of their application if they complete and submit Form 1023, Form 1023-EZ or Form 1024 with the appropriate user fee.

When completing the application write on the top of the form “Revenue Procedure 2014-11, Reinstatement Post-Mark Date” and mail the application here.


Filing Form 990 Series Online

Operating your nonprofit organization without tax-exempt status can be extremely challenging and quite difficult. Eliminate the worry and concern of losing your tax status or even regain tax-exempt status by filing your Form 990 series returns with us at ExpressTaxExempt. With affordable pricing and a safe, secure and easy-to-use e-filing system, organizations can quickly and accurately file their forms directly to the IRS. Need help during the filing process? No worries. We’re always here to help! Feel free to contact our support team of e-file experts at 704.839.2321 for any questions or help with the e-filing experience. We’re here to assist you Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST or feel free to reach us 24/7 via email at support@ExpressTaxExempt.com.
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Friday, August 18, 2017

Recruitment Strategies To Help Increase Organization Membership

Increase Organization Membership

Summer is quickly passing us by which means that summer vacations are coming to an end, schools are back in session, and organizations across the country are gearing up to continue reaching their annual goals. Some of these organizations will open their doors for membership intake within the next few weeks and may find that it will be somewhat challenging to not only find, but retain new members. ExpressTaxExempt is here to support your organization by providing some beneficial recruitment strategies and tips that can help your organization as it continues to grow. 

Know and Understand Your Organization

Leaders should have a clear understand of the organization’s goals, objectives, mission, and purpose prior to recruiting others to join. Have leaders in your group come up with an “elevator speech” (clear, brief message/commercial about the organization) that can be shared with those interested in joining your organization. These speeches can be shared first in a role playing activity during a monthly leadership meeting. 

Develop a Target Audience

If your organization is looking for specific types of individuals to carry out the work of the group, market and cater your recruitment efforts to the type of people that you need. For example, if you are recruiting for a college campus ministry, gear your recruitment efforts towards millennials with innovative and intriguing materials that incorporate scriptures or inspirational quotes. 


Set Realistic Membership Goals

Once you can identify who your target audience will be, then determine a realistic number of new members that you would like to have join your organization. 

How many new members can your organization reasonably assimilate into the group? Knowing the answer to this question will greatly impact the outcome of your recruitment efforts. 


Creative Marketing & Advertising

When marketing and/or advertising for your organization, be sure to use creative and strong visual elements. These visual elements will attract the attention of potential members. Utilize the talents of those within your organization and have those members with artistic talents design your flyers, posters, promotional videos, and marketing materials. Be strategic with your marketing. Do a social media blast and have the members of your organization repost a flyer or promotion at a specific time & date. Post printed flyers in “high traffic” areas where people seem to walk by or gather to fellowship which will increase the overall reach of your marketing. 

Be Authentic

When seeking others to become a part of your group it is important to be genuine. Prospective members can easily tell if your efforts are to simply just increase the size of your membership roster. Be real and let them be real. Also, remember that personal contact is always better than tons of flyers and advertisements. People tend to join an organization because of the people they will be associated with. Take time to get to know your new members. 


Ask for Input

Members of organizations want to feel a part and know that their presence in your group is valued and that they are appreciated. Throughout the year, have conversations and open discussions with members to let them voice their opinions and provide ideas as to how to make the organization become even stronger and more effective. 

By implementing these strategies into your annual recruiting efforts, you will be able to see a positive enhancement to your organization. As always, ExpressTaxExempt is here to help you in any way that we can. Be sure to e-file your Form 990 series tax forms with us each year to maintain your tax exempt status and remain in good standing with the IRS. Feel free to contact our support team of e-file experts at 704.839.2321 for any questions or help with your e-filing experience. We’re here to assist you Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST or feel free to reach us 24/7 via email at support@ExpressTaxExempt.com

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Time is Winding Up: Get 6 Extra Months to File

Both Form 990 & 990-EZ are due by the fifteenth day of the fifth month following the organization’s tax year end date. Depending on the type of tax year that an organization operates on, the due date will vary. For example, if the organization operates on a fiscal tax year of April 1 to March 31 then its due date annually to file is August 15, while standard calendar tax year organizations (January 1 to December 31) would file on May 15 of each year.

Failing to file your Form 990/990-EZ can be very detrimental to your beloved tax-exempt organization. If an organization fails to file their annual information return with the IRS, a penalty of $20 is charged each day the return is late. Although this penalty increases daily, it cannot exceed 5% of the organization’s gross receipts or $10,000, whichever is less. For larger groups, if the organization’s annual receipts exceed $1,020,000, the per diem penalty increases to $100, with a maximum penalty of $51,000 per return.

Before you know it, it will be time for you to file with the IRS. We understand how hectic things can become when running an effective organization, so ExpressTaxExempt offers a quick and affordable extension for organizations to file their Form 990/990-EZ. Filing extension Form 8868 by the original filing deadline will grant an organization an additional six months to file, upon approval of the extension.

Filing Form 8868 with ExpressTaxExempt can be done within minutes. Simply register or sign in with ExpressTaxExempt to get started, enter basic information about your organization (name, EIN, address, and contact number) and submit your extension form in no time! You will be notified instantly by email with the status of your submitted form once we hear back from the IRS.

Are you on the go and not near your computer? No problem! Conveniently e-file with our downloadable mobile app. With our ExpressTaxExempt - Form 8868 Mobile App, you can quickly apply for an automatic extension on the go using your iPad or Android tablet. Just download, sign in, and choose the appropriate IRS form to apply for an extension.

As always, feel free to contact our support team of e-file experts at 704.839.2321 for any questions or help with your e-filing experience. We’re here to assist you Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST or feel free to reach us 24/7 via email at support@ExpressTaxExempt.com.
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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Scheduling Conflicts: Which Schedule Should I File?

If you’ve ever filed a Form 990 or Form 990-EZ before, you know there’s a neat little thing called “Schedules” that are attached to your return which provide necessary additional information when filing. There are a total of 16 Schedules available for Form 990 and 8 for Form 990-EZ in which the correct Schedules are filed by a respective organization depending on its activities.

ExpressTaxExempt supports many of the Schedules for both Form 990 & 990-EZ. To make the e-filing process easier for all of our clients, these Schedules are automatically generated for you once you provide answers to prompted questions when preparing your form with our software.  

If you’re unsure of what Schedules are available or which one to include on your tax return, here’s a list of each schedule for both 990 & 990-EZ Forms: 

Form 990 Schedules


Schedule APublic Charity Status and Public Support
Schedule BSchedule of Contributors
Schedule CPolitical Campaign and Lobbying Activities
Schedule DSupplemental Financial Statements
Schedule ESchools
Schedule FStatement of Activities Outside of the United States
Schedule GSupplemental Information Regarding Fundraising or Gaming Activities
Schedule HHospitals
Schedule IGrants and Other Assistance to Organizations, Governments and Individuals in the U.S.
Schedule JCompensation Information
Schedule KSupplemental Information on Tax Exempt Bonds
Schedule LTransactions with Interested Persons
Schedule MNoncash Contributions
Schedule NLiquidation, Termination, Dissolution, or Significant Disposition of Assets
Schedule OSupplemental Information of Form 990
Schedule RRelated Organizations and Unrelated Partnerships
Click Here for Form 990 Schedule Detailed Descriptions

NOTE: Generally, Schedules A (Public Charity Status and Public Support) and O (Supplemental Information to Form 990) are the most common schedules filed with Form 990. 

Form 990-EZ Schedules


Schedule APublic Charity Status and Public Support
Schedule BSchedule of Contributors
Schedule CPolitical Campaign and Lobbying Activities

Schedule ESchools

Schedule GSupplemental Information Regarding Fundraising or Gaming Activities

Schedule LTransactions with Interested Persons

Schedule NLiquidation, Termination, Dissolution, or Significant Disposition of Assets

Schedule OSupplemental Information of Form 990

If your organization operates on a fiscal tax year from April 1 to March 31 and files Form 990 or 990-EZ your filing deadline is quickly approaching and due this Friday, August 15th. Additionally, any organization that filed an extension in February 2017 (fiscal year of October 1 - September 30) must file by August 15th as well.

Filing with ExpressTaxExempt is very simple and can be done in 5 intuitive steps. Simply create a free account or sign in, add your organization’s details, complete the form interview, review the provided summary of your organization’s information, pay and transmit directly to the IRS. And just like that, you’ve completed your e-filing process, included the necessary required Schedules, and remain in good standing with the IRS. As always, feel free to contact our support team of e-file experts at 704.839.2321 for any questions or help with your e-filing experience. We’re here to assist you Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST or feel free to reach us 24/7 via email at support@ExpressTaxExempt.com
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Monday, August 7, 2017

Upcoming Form 990 & Form 990-EZ Deadline: Is It My Time to File?

If your organization operates on a fiscal tax year and files Form 990 or Form 990-EZ, you may have a tax return deadline coming up soon. Organizations that function fiscally from April 1 to March 31 should e-file their Form 990/990-EZ by the upcoming August 15th due date. Additionally, any organization that filed an extension in February 2017 (fiscal year of October 1 - September 30) must file by August 15th as well.

Not sure what the difference is between Form 990 and 990-EZ or if your organization should file either one? Here’s some information on both forms that might be beneficial to you:

Most organizations exempt from income tax must file an annual information return, which is commonly known as a Form 990 or Form 990-EZ. Form 990 is typically filed by organizations with gross receipts that are more than or equal to $200,000 in gross receipts or total assets more than or equal to $500,000. Form 990-EZ is for very similar but for organizations that have less than $200,000 in gross receipts and $500,000 in total assets.

NOTE: Gross receipts are the total amounts the organization received from all sources during its annual accounting period.

Groups and organizations that usually file Form 990 or 990-EZ include: hospitals, schools, churches, charities, sports clubs, parent teachers associations, public libraries and facilities, cultural organizations and associations, employee associations, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and more.

Organizations that fail to file either form by its due date will incur a penalty against the organization. A penalty of $20 a day, not to exceed the lesser of $10,000 or 5% of the gross receipts of the organization for the year can be charged unless it can be shown the organization filed late due to a reasonable cause. Organizations with annual gross receipts exceeding $1,000,000 are subject to a penalty of $100 for each day with a maximum of $51,000 for any one return.

Organizations worldwide can easily stay in compliance and good standing with the IRS by filing online annually with ExpressTaxExempt. As the #1 authorized IRS e-file provider, we provide all users with our recently reduced filing rates, 100% US-based customer support service, and simplistic e-filing process which allow each organization to e-file IRS Form 990 & 990-EZ securely with the IRS.

We encourage you to contact us via phone at 704.839.2321 on Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST or reach out to us 24/7 via email at support@ExpressTaxExempt.com if you have any questions about the e-filing process.
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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Filing for the Wrong Tax Year: What Should You Do Next?


If you ever want to see someone raise their eyebrow or look stunned when checking their mailbox, let them receive a letter from the IRS. Although millions of letters and notices are mailed to taxpayers each year, there is still that worry and concern that immediately comes over you when you first see that sealed envelope from the IRS with your name on it. Fortunately, all letters from the IRS are not negative and many may be very easy to resolve.

Organizations that file a 990 Series or 1120-POL tax form must file each year by the due date that correlates with the selected form. If not, the IRS will contact you by mail, informing you that you have missed your filing deadline. When receiving letters like this, the first thing you need to do is BREATHE! There’s no need to panic. Read the letter thoroughly and follow the instructions that the IRS has listed in the correspondence. Any notice sent from the IRS usually covers a specific issue about your tax return or account, so be sure to handle that issue as soon as possible.

From various conversations with many of our awesome ExpressTaxExempt customers, we have noticed that we receive quite a bit of calls yearly inquiring about a letter received from the IRS stating that their organization did not file for a previous tax year ending on a specific date. For example, you may receive a letter stating that “XYZ Organization failed to file its 990-N return for the tax year ending on June 30, 2016…” Initially, the solution to this dilemma would be to e-file online within minutes at www.expresstaxexempt.com; but what tax year should you technically be filing for?

A “tax year” is an annual accounting period for keeping records and reporting income and expenses. There are two types of tax years that you can follow, those being a Calendar Year (12 consecutive months beginning January 1 and ending December 31) or a Fiscal Year (12 consecutive months ending the last day of any month except December).

So if you receive a letter that’s referring to a tax year ending in 2016, that means you need to submit a return for the 2015 tax year (which ended in 2016).

EXAMPLE: Tax Year of June 1, 2016 to July 31, 2017 | File for 2016 Tax Year
      Tax Year of February 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016 | File for 2015 Tax Year
        Tax Year of March 1, 2014 to February 28, 2015 | File for 2014 Tax Year

As expected, it is very important for Form 990, 990-EZ or 990-N users to file the appropriate returns yearly. Although there is no penalty assessment for Filing Form 990-N late, all organizations that fail to file the required 990, 990-EZ, or 990-N forms for three consecutive years will automatically be revoked and lose their tax-exempt status, which can be detrimental to the long-term success of an organization. Avoid finding yourself in this predicament by quickly, safely, and easily e-filing your form with ExpressTaxExempt. Our newly reduced filing rates will help your organization save funds as well. So feel free to contact us via phone at 704.839.2321 on Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST or reach out to us 24/7 via email at support@ExpressTaxExempt.com if you have any questions about the e-filing process.
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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Reclaiming My Taxes: Tax Free Weekends are on the Horizon


If you’re a fan of politics or keep up with social media, you may be aware of a recent procedural interruption that has now gone viral. “RECLAIMING MY TIME” are the three words Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) used when confronting Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin during a House Financial Services Committee hearing last Thursday--we've included footage of the hearing at the end of this blog for you to watch if you haven't seen it already. 

The simple yet catchy refrain, “reclaiming my time,” a phrase rooted in House floor procedure, has become a social media sensation, sweeping the internet and highlighting Representative Waters stern ways of handling business. 

While Rep. Waters has recently been reclaiming her time, taxpayers can also plan to reclaim their taxes! Several states have a Tax Free Weekend coming up soon in which taxpayers could benefit from greatly. 

Each year a number of states participate in an annual Sales Tax Holiday/Tax-Free Weekend, allowing various items in stores across the country to be purchased without any local or state sales tax being charged, saving shoppers millions of dollars during the holiday weekend. During these tax free weekends, shoppers pay no sales tax on items ranging from school supplies, dorm room and home supplies, clothing and shoes, to bookbags and computers. However, items such as jewelry, cosmetics, eyewear, furniture, and any layaway purchases are not exempt from taxes. 

Upcoming Tax Free Weekends


State
Dates
Eligible Items / Max Cost
August 5 - 6
School supplies: No limit
Clothing: $100
Clothing accessories and equipment: $50
August 20 - 26
Clothing and footwear: $100
August 4 - 6
School supplies: $15
Clothing: $60
August 4 - 5
Clothing and footwear: $100
August 13 - 19
Clothing and footwear: $100
TBD
Clothing and footwear: $100
August 4 - 6
Clothing: $100
School supplies: $50
Computer software: $350
Computers: $1,500
Computer peripherals: $1,500
Graphing calculators: $150
August 4 - 6
School supplies: $30
Clothing: $100
Computers: $1,000
Computer equipment: $500
August 4 - 6
Clothing: $75
School supplies: $20
School instructional material: $20
August 4 - 6
Clothing: $100
August 4 - 6
Clothing and accessories: No limit
School supplies: No limit
Computers and accessories: No limit
Bed and bath items: No limit
August 11 - 13
Clothing and footwear: $100
Backpacks: $100
School supplies: $100
August 4 - 6
Clothing and footwear: $100
School supplies: $20


Whether you’re preparing to wrap up those summer vacations and send the kids back to school with great tax-free school supplies, or just want a couple of new items and appliances for around the house, be sure to catch all of the great deals offered during your state tax-free weekend. 

As always, ExpressTaxExempt is here to be a consistent resource for all things tax exempt! Visit our website for any tax forms that your tax-exempt organization may need throughout this year and save even more when you e-file with our recently reduced filing rates! We’re available to assist you via phone at 704.839.2321 on Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST or reach out to us 24/7 via email at support@ExpressTaxExempt.com


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Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers related to e-filing IRS Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF, 990-N (e-Postcard), Form 1120-POL and Extension Form 8868 with our Frequently Asked Questions.

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