ExpressTaxExempt Blog

Scare-Free Tax Season

They say it’s the most frightful time of year. No matter how hard you try, it’s impossible to avoid. And if things don’t go through as expected, you’re hit with probably the worst fear ever conceived by the human mind. No, we’re not talking about Halloween, but something most would consider even more sinister - Tax Season!! *cue lighting and thunderclap*

The thought of having to file tax forms could send a cold shiver down the spines of even the mightiest of men, or women. However, there’s no need for you to hold your breath like when walking past a cemetery at the stroke of midnight. As scary as filing taxes may be, you can conquer your tax filing fears with ExpressTaxExempt.

ExpressTaxExempt offers the quickest and simplest way to e-file your exempt organization tax return. We offer support for the following exempt tax forms:
  • Form 990-N (e-Postcard) - For exempt organizations with less than $50,000 in gross receipts.
  • Form 990-EZ - For exempt organizations with gross receipts over $50,000, but less than $200,000 and total assets less than $500,000.
  • Form 990 (Long) - For exempt organizations with gross receipts equal to or greater than $200,000, and total assets equal to or greater than $500,000.
  • Extension Form 8868 - An extension of time for exempt organizations; support is available for Part I and Part II.
And our newest service is so awesome, it’s like walking through a traditional, slasher horror film and coming out unscathed. With ExpressTaxExempt, you can now completely fill out a Form 1023 for tax-exempt recognition using the same highly-rated features including interview-style questioning, built-in error checking, accessibility with cloud computing, and, of course, our live, US-based technical support.

In a scary world full of ghouls, monsters, and taxes, let ExpressTaxExempt be that warm, comforting light that dispels the darkness. And while a scare-free Halloween may not be as welcoming as a scare-free tax season, the goal is to be well protected in both situations.

And just as there are many tips available on how to be safe on Halloween night, ExpressTaxExempt also offers a number of security protocols to keep your tax information secure. Our site is encrypted, McAfee secure certified, and protected by SSL (Secure Sockets Layer); your information goes strictly to the IRS and no one else.

Even the most enthusiastic Halloween fans go out with a group, and never alone; so don’t ever think that you have to face down these IRS tax-exempt forms by yourself. We have our live, US-based support teams located in Rock Hill, South Carolina that are more than happy to assist you. Give us a “howl” Monday through Friday at (704) 839-2321 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. We’re also available through email (support@expressextension.com) and live chat (www.expresstaxexempt.com).

ExpressTaxExempt wishes you all a safe and happy Halloween weekend!

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Section 501(c)(3) Applications

Even if you have a successful nonprofit operation going on within your community, you just can’t proclaim yourself as a tax-exempt organization. Like many other things leading to a classification or a title, there is a process that has to occur. Think about it… your nonprofit didn’t spring up overnight; it took a process and is probably still in progress. 

The success of your organization definitely is a process; one of the things you have to figure out is what works and what doesn’t work. To begin the process of becoming a tax-exempt organization, you have to complete and a file a section 501(c)(3) application.

A section 501(c)(3) application, also known as Form 1023, is required from organizations that are applying for exempt recognition from federal income tax. If your organization is approved, the IRS sends you written confirmation of your tax-exempt status, and its qualifications for tax-deductible, charitable contributions.

A Form 1023 is listed as the Application for Recognition of Exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. You can obtain tax exemption by filing a Form 1023. Your organization must follow the two key requirements in order to be exempt from federal income tax.

Requirement #1
Your organization must be organized as a corporation, trust, or an unincorporated association with documents specifying your purpose, and assets that are permanently dedicated to exempt purposes.

Requirement #2
Your organization must operate to fulfill one or more exempt purposes that’s listed in its documents.

If you’re tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3), you’re normally recognized as a charitable organization. And your organization will be classified further as either a public charity or a private foundation.

Make the process of becoming tax-exempt as quick and easy as possible by preparing your section 501(c)(3) application with the all-new service from ExpressTaxExempt. Your exempt application is filled with our simple “Q&A” format, reviewed by our automated error checks, and you can access your information at any time with our convenient cloud computing.

Once your Form 1023 has been completed, you can download and print your application to mail to the IRS. ExpressTaxExempt even has you covered if you need further assistance. Our live, support experts are available to help Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. Give us a call at (704) 839-2321, or send us an email to support@expresstaxexempt.com. You can even live chat with us at www.expresstaxexempt.com.

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Introducing ExpressTaxExempt

Your most reliable e-filing service for exempt organizations has just received an extensive makeover. The realm of tax-exempt filing will never be the same again as we are overly ecstatic to unveil a revision of one of the greatest e-filing services within the ExpressTaxZone family. It is with an enormous honor that we introduce ExpressTaxExempt!

ExpressTaxExempt retains all of the features and services that you have come to expect from Express990. You can still e-file your Form 990-N (e-Postcard), Form 990-EZ, Form 990 (Long), and Extension Form 8868 with the same velocity and ease as before. Everything you would ever need to stay in compliance with the IRS, and maintain your tax-exempt status, can be accessed with the all-new ExpressTaxExempt.

But why stop there?

We understand that many organizations are going through unnecessary hoops and hurdles, and are given the runaround when attempting to become tax-exempt. We also want to present a new, intuitive user interface that can streamline the process of organizations filing for tax-exempt status. That service has now arrived with ExpressTaxExempt.

As an all-inclusive feature of ExpressTaxExempt, we can now serve as your leading solution for preparing and submitting your Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. With our service, you can directly download your completed Form 1023 and mail it to the IRS. Once your organization receives exemption status, why not remain within our family and e-file your yearly required tax-exempt returns as well? Everything you need can be found under the ExpressTaxExempt umbrella.
Among the proud rankings of our other products, ExpressTaxExempt also boasts the best in live, US-based technical and support teams. Located in Rock Hill, South Carolina, our expert professionals are ready to assist you with the best help available. We know the in’s and out’s of the e-filing process and offer the most comprehensive help in the industry.

Nothing has been taken away, only enhanced. We still offer our claim-to-fame features:
  • Simple “Q&A” Formatting
  • Cloud Computing
  • Built-In Error Checks
  • Worry-Free Security
  • Mobility
With ExpressTaxExempt, you’re not just e-filing, you’re sharing an e-xperience.

Never e-file alone; we have a dedicated support team of live professionals ready to assist, or answer any questions you may have about e-filing with our services. Give us a call at (704) 839-2321; we’re available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. Send us an email at support@expresstaxexempt.com, or live chat with us at www.expresstaxexempt.com.

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I Spy Some Changes with Express990

How were you at Where’s Waldo as a kid? What about those giant I Spy books? Or the game on which those books are based? What we’re trying to ask is… how’s your attention to detail?

If it’s pretty good, this might not come as a surprise: Express990 is no more. Well, in essence it is, but it might look a little different. To accommodate all the filing needs for tax exempt organizations, we’ve been working to transform Express990, an industry leader for e-filing versions of Form 990, into ExpressTaxExempt.

Aahhh, so now do you notice now how our logo has changed and how the URL might not be exactly as you originally typed it? And if you’re exceptionally perceptive, you might have even noticed how the tabs at the top of your screen have changed.

That’s because in addition to the variations of Form 990 that you’ve already been able to access with Express990 (now under the Tax Exempt Return tab), we now offer Form 1023, the form used to apply for tax exempt status with the IRS. So you really can take ExpressTaxExempt on your entire tax exempt journey, which means we can help every step of the way.

The quality content and service you’ve come to expect with Express990 is still alive and well with ExpressTaxExempt. And there’s proof! Just take a look around the new site or get in touch with us! We’re still available by phone and live chat Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at (704) 839-2321 and by email 24/7 at support@ExpressTaxExempt.com.

But before you go, in the spirit of the season, here’s alittle Halloween I Spy from scrapgirls.net:

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Unrelated Business Income Tax

When filing either a Form 990 (Long) or a Form 990-EZ, you’ll come across reporting any income that was received outside the normal activities of your organization. Even though your organization may be tax-exempt, income from unrelated business activity can be taxed at corporate income tax rates.

Before you try to discontinue any activities that could bring in taxed income, you should understand that tax-exempt organizations are allowed to participate in a regulated amount of business activities that are unrelated to its exempt purposes. Unrelated Business Income becomes taxable if it meets the following qualifications:

Income is From Trade or Business: Trade or business includes any activity done for the creation of income either from selling goods, or from the completion of services. Generally, the IRS sees it as any endeavor motivated by making a profit; therefore, unrelated business income tax can be broadly applied and could cover many activities done through your exempt organization.

Trade or Business is Regularly Carried On: “Regularly carried on” basically means how often and in what method the business is conducted. Even if your activity is not done year round, it could still be considered as “regularly carried on” if the activity is common to the frequency and method of for-profit organizations.

Example: If a for-profit company normally does an activity seasonally, and your exempt organization does that same or similar seasonal activity, then it would be classified as “regularly carried on.” On the other hand, something like a one-time only sale of property wouldn’t fall in this category.

Trade or Business isn’t Substantially Related: Of course, for any activity to be considered as unrelated business, it must not be substantially related to the main purpose of your exempt organization. Regulations state that business activities must essentially contribute to the execution of your exempt organization’s purpose. If not, it’s considered unrelated, and any income made can be taxed.

As with any other tax stipulations or rules, there are some exceptions and modifications. Contact your local tax professional if you find yourself in an unspecified situation with unrelated business income.

Important: Just because your exempt organization can participate in unrelated business activity doesn’t necessarily mean it always should. As mentioned earlier, authorization of unrelated activities should be limited. If operating an unrelated business becomes the primary purpose of your exempt organization, you would risk losing your tax-exempt status.

Report any Unrelated Business Income through your Form 990 or Form 990-EZ with Express990. We work closely with the IRS to provide you the most secure, easy, and accurate tax e-filing experience. Our servers are encrypted, McAfee secure certified, and protected by SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). Your information goes directly to the IRS and no one else.

For any assistance or questions about e-filing our available 990 forms, you can contact our live professionals by phone (704-839-2321, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Eastern Standard Time), by email (support@expresstaxexempt.com), or by live chat (www.expresstaxexempt.com).

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There's a 990 Deadline Coming Up!

*Ahem* Attention! Calling all procrasti-- uh… deadline extenders!

We know this may fall on some deaf ears as we just called on the attention of those of you who filed for not one, but two 3-month extensions of time to file your tax return, but here’s a heads up: the LAST day for organizations with their fiscal year as the calendar year to file their 990 form is in exactly one month, November 15.

Okay, it’s not exactly one month away; November 15 is on a Sunday this year so your last day to file is technically the 16th. Either way this is your month warning that you’ve got a deadline coming up. And if you’re supposed to be doing that 990 long form, you might really want to pay attention to that.

So here are some things to keep in mind as you go into your last month to prepare your tax-exempt organization’s return:
  • Form 8868 cannot be used to extend the due date of Form 990-N (ePostcard). But, don’t fret: you can e-file this form at any time during the year without penalty (just don’t go three years without doing so - you’ll lose your tax-exempt status). And with Express990, you can still file your 2014 Form 990-N ePostcard for free!
  • The last extended filing deadline is in ONE month, on November 16.
  • Only Part I of Form 8868 automatically extended your deadline for filing, and it did so for 3 months. If you didn’t file Part II or if your Form 8868 Part II was rejected for the non-automatic 3-month extension of time, you might have only had one 3-month extension. You can contact the IRS Tax Exempt Hotline about penalties and instructions for filing late, (877) 829-5500.
  • The last extended filing deadline, November 16, is in ONE month!
  • If you have any questions or run into any bumps in your e-filing process while you’re filing your 990 form, the Express990 support team is here for you. You can reach us by phone, Monday - Friday, from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. EST at (803) 514-5155 or by email 24/7 at support@expresstaxexempt.com.
  • November 16, the last extended filing deadline, is in ONE month!!

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Current Year or Prior Year

Here, at Express990, we enjoy receiving feedback from you all, and the suggestions that you inspire. We understand that filing taxes can be difficult and stressful, and our goal is to provide you with the most user-friendly, e-filing experience so you can quickly and easily get your taxes done. Our most recent user response involves e-filing for either the current tax year, or a prior tax year based on the organization’s tax year period.

If you know your organization’s tax year period, then that’s half the battle. If not, check out the following blog about how you can find your tax dates:

For organizations with a Calendar Tax Year, it’s pretty easy to determine whether you’re e-filing for a current or prior tax year. If the current tax year is 2014, and your tax period is from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014, then you’re e-filing for the current tax year. However, if the current tax year is 2014, but you’re e-filing for a year when your tax dates are from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013, then you are e-filing for a prior (2013) tax year.

For those of you with organizations operating with a Fiscal Tax Year, it seems to be a bit confusing to decide if you’re e-filing for your current year, or your prior year. But we are here to help.
If the current tax year is 2014, and your tax period is from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015, then you are e-filing for the current (2014) tax year. It doesn’t matter about the year end date, but the year beginning date. We understand how confusing it can be, but think about it… If a regular year is from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014, and your tax date begins in the middle (July 1, 2014), it’s still considered as a date within the year 2014.

It’s like your New Year’s Day isn’t on January 1, 2014, but on July 1, 2014. And a year has to consist of 12 full months so your 2014 year doesn’t end on December 31, 2014, but on June 30, 2015.

Remember: The year your tax date begins on is the same year that you’re e-filing your tax for.

Current (2014) Tax Year:
  • Beginning Tax Date: October 1, 2013 / Ending Tax Date: September 30, 2014 - E-file for the prior (2013) tax year.
  • Beginning Tax Date: April 1, 2012 / Ending Tax Date: March 31, 2013 - E-file for the prior (2012) tax year.

E-file for your correct tax year with Express990. We support the Form 990-N (e-Postcard) for the current tax year, and the two most prior tax years; the Form 990-EZ for the current tax year, and the most previous tax year; and the Form 990 (Long) for the current tax year only. You can also e-file your e-Postcard at anytime from anywhere with our FREE Express990 App for iOS/Android devices, or mobile site.

For any questions or assistance with e-filing, we have expert help available with live professionals at our office in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Contact us at (704) 839-2321, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time; or, email us anytime, 24/7 at support@expresstaxexempt.com.

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Help End the Violence

One of the most important things for tax-exempt organizations is awareness. At Express990, we assist all kinds of tax-exempt organizations that depend on awareness of their organization and it’s purpose in order to perform necessary charitable duties. Last week, we shed some light on National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this week we’re here to remind you that October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Looking at the facts compiled by the CDC, the Domestic Violence Statistics website, and the American Psychological Association on domestic violence in the United States, things start to get really dark really quickly:
  • More than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the US have experienced domestic violence
  • 74% of all murder-suicides involved an intimate partner
  • 1 in 5 female high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner
  • 20 people per minute are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women, more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined
  • The costs of intimate partner violence in the US exceed $5.8 billion per year:
    • $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services
    • Nearly $1.8 billion account for productivity losses

Domestic violence is ongoing, purposeful behavior that is aimed at dominating one’s partner, and often one’s children as well. It involves intentional control tactics that may be physical, sexual, economic, psychological, legal, institutional, or all of the above. These tactics can include unreasonable demands, stalking, coercion, threats, sexual abuse, economic control, extreme jealousy, and destroying the partner’s other relationships, among others.
Victims are often shamed and controlled by their abuser, making them feel as though they can’t leave or even that they deserve the abuse. Thinking that domestic violence is something that is deserved or could be caused by the victim’s actions can lead us to grossly underestimate the dangers they’re in. Victims need domestic violence services, safety planning, orders of protection, and most importantly, support. No victim should have to deal with their partner’s domestic abuse alone.

For more general information about domestic violence, including potential warning signs for emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s information page: Is This Abuse? In addition to 24/7 call services at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), The National Domestic Violence Hotline also has one-on-one online chat services. Break the Cycle provides more information about patterns of abuse and behaviors commonly experienced by youth in dating relationships. If you’re seeking help from these sites, remember that computer use can be monitored, and your browser history can be accessed even if you clear it. Always use a safe computer when accessing the internet.

Domestic violence is something we can work together to end. If you or a loved one is in an abusive relationship, please seek help. By bringing awareness to such heinous acts we can eradicate them completely.

For any questions or assistance about our e-filing service, feel free to contact our live, expert help at our headquarters in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Phone: (704) 839-2321, M-F 9 a.m.-6 p.m. EST
Email: support@expresstaxexempt.com
Live Chat: www.expresstaxexempt.com

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Find Your Tax Year Dates

One of the most common reasons we see a Form 990-N (e-Postcard) rejected is because of incorrect tax year periods. It’s a rejection with a fairly simple fix, but we understand why it happens, especially if you’re filing your organization’s tax return for the very first time. You may not be aware of your organization’s tax year period, also known as accounting period, or the fact that such a thing exists.

Usually, you would have to get in contact with the IRS Tax-Exempt Hotline to inquire about your exemption status, Employer Identification Number (EIN), and things of that nature. But the IRS also has what they call their EO Select Check; the “EO” stands for Exempt Organization. The page allows you to look up your tax-exempt organization and view whether you:
  • Are eligible to receive tax-deductible, charitable contributions
  • Were automatically revoked
  • Have filed Form 990-N (e-Postcard)
If you been placed to file your exempt organization’s tax return for the first time, and you don’t happen to know your tax period, you should select the third option (Have Filed Form 990-N (e-Postcard)) and search using your organization’s EIN. If your organization has filed a Form 990-N (e-Postcard) before, you’ll see a list of each year it was filed. Click on your organization’s name, and it’ll show details about the filing. And at the very top, you’ll see the correct tax period for your organization.

For more information about the IRS EO Select Check, be sure to check out the following blog:

All About the EO Select Check

IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that there are two types of tax year periods, or accounting periods.

If your tax period is listed as from January 1 to December 31, then your organization operates on what is called a Calendar Tax Year; many exempt organizations have this type of tax year.
If your tax period begins or ends any date other than January 1 or December 31, like from October 1 to September 30 for instance, your tax period is considered as a Fiscal Tax Year.

Be sure to select the most appropriate tax year when e-filing a Form 990-N (e-Postcard), or any 990 form, for your organization.

For more information about accounting periods, you should consider reading

What Is A Fiscal Year?
What is an Accounting Period?

Once you know what your exempt organization’s tax period is, you can e-file your Form 990-N (e-Postcard) quickly and easily with Express990. Simply enter your organization’s details, select your tax period, indicate gross receipts are less than $50,000, authorize, and transmit to the IRS; it takes less than 10 minutes.

You can also e-file from anywhere you may be with our FREE Express990 App for iOS/Android tablets, or our mobile site designed for any web-enabled mobile phone.

For any questions or assistance with our e-filing service, feel free to contact our live, expert help at our headquarters in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Phone: (704) 839-2321 (Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., Eastern Standard Time)
Email: support@expresstaxexempt.com
Live Chat: www.expresstaxexempt.com

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Bring Out the Pink Ribbons!

Aaahh October. Fall is officially here, Halloween is just around the corner, and everything is decorated in autumnal colors of orange, red, yellow, brown, and….pink? That’s right -- pink!

Since 1985, October 1st has marked the beginning of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual international health campaign organized to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure. In 2009, male breast cancer advocacy groups joined together to globally establish the third week of October as Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week.

The goal of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month from the start has been to promote mammography as the most effective weapon in the fight against breast cancer. This still rings true thirty years later, when it’s estimated that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Most doctors still acknowledge that early detection tests for breast cancer save thousands of lives each year, and that many more lives could be saved if even more women and their health care providers took advantage of these tests.

So, what’s with the pink?

The pink ribbon represents fear of breast cancer, hope for the future, and the charitable goodness of people and businesses who publicly support the breast cancer movement. Derived from the popular red ribbon for AIDS awareness, the first known use of the pink ribbon in connection with breast cancer awareness was in the fall of 1991 when the Susan G. Komen Foundation handed out pink ribbons to participants in it’s New York City race for breast cancer survivors. It was adopted as the official symbol of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month the following year. In 1993, Evelyn Lauder, Senior Corporate Vice President of the Estée Lauder Companies and breast cancer survivor, founded The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. When choosing the foundation’s symbol, she decided to use the pink ribbon, giving it national recognition. In 1996, a pink and blue ribbon was designed by Nancy Nick, president and founder of the John W. Nick Foundation, to symbolize awareness for breast cancer in men.

Today, it’s hard to think of Breast Cancer Awareness Month without imagining the pink ribbon. So this October, think of the pink ribbon as reminder: every time you see it, remember that many people can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early. Talk to your doctor about your risk for breast cancer, especially if a close family member of yours has or had breast cancer. If you’re 40-49 years old, your doctor can tell you when and how often you should receive breast cancer screenings; if you’re 50-74 years old, you should be getting screened every 2 years, or more often if necessary.

But wait...what’s that got to do with Express990? Well, to be honest, not much. Unless, that is, you’re a tax-exempt breast cancer awareness organization looking to e-file your Form 990-N, Form 990-EZ, or Form 990 Long Form with us (in which case, you probably already knew all of this). But that’s one of the beauties of the internet: a variety of information, sometimes where you least expect it, to help battle the “ignorance is bliss” mentality. Especially in the case of breast cancer, ignorance is most certainly NOT bliss. At Express990, we want you to take care of yourself so that you can continue to help others through the charitable organization that brought you to our site.

We’re not doctors, but we’re here to help any way we can with your tax-exempt filing needs. Give us a call Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 704-839-2321, or live chat us at www.expresstaxexempt.com; and you can always email us, day or night, 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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