ExpressTaxExempt Blog

Nonprofit Showcase (Children’s Attention Home)

It’s 1969, a desperate time in history when abused, neglected, and homeless children had no options other than foster care. These homes were limited, and soon these victimized children were placed in jail cells because of no appropriate emergency shelters. Even still, there wasn’t enough to provide for the impoverished children.

- Rock Hill, South Carolina. 1970 -
In a calm neighborhood near Winthrop University, a house was rented, renovated, and opened its doors to devoid children as a haven of support and shelter. Because of the diligent efforts of the Rock Hill Ministerial Association and countless volunteers, donations of clothes, toys, and essentials were greatly generated for the children in need. The Children’s Attention Home became a beacon of “a strong commitment to community service and a genuine spirit of unity and mutual interest in the welfare of the children.”

Today, the Children’s Attention Home has kept its doors open to over 7,500 children. The objective of this nonprofit organization is to temporarily provide a care shelter, which children - up to age 21 - can experience a family life of love and security until either their previous home is corrected, or a better, permanent home is found.

The Children’s Attention Home has accomplished its objective for the last 45 years along with its mission to give children a stable home setting, opportunities for success, and tools to form their own futures and better the world for others as well as themselves.

Three cottages, licensed by the South Carolina Department of Social Services, make up the main campus of the Children’s Attention Home, which can house up to 42 children at a time. Children stay at the Home for an average of three to six months, though there have been circumstances when children are advised to stay longer. While living at the Home, children are taught basic living skills, job skills, and take part in other physical, educational, and recreational activities.

With the support from local donors and volunteers, the Children’s Attention Home continues to serve victimized children from all counties of South Carolina. And with that, we are proud to present Children’s Attention Home as our nonprofit showcase for the month - Thank You.

More information about Children’s Attention Home can be found through the organization’s website including how you can become involved, and emergency crisis contacts.

There’s no doubt how bountiful the generosity and assistance of nonprofits and charities are. The last thing needed is to have your work limited by paperwork or tax filings. E-filing with ExpressTaxExempt is made quick and easy so you can fulfill your obligations to the IRS and get back to what matters most within your exempt organization. Our services offer support for the 990 filing series, extension Form 8868, and soon Form 1023, which you can file for exemption status.

Just how nonprofits and charities help local communities, our live support team in Rock Hill, South Carolina can help you with your e-file experience. If you have any questions, or need further assistance e-filing your return, give us a call at (704) 839-2321, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. You can also reach us at any time of day with our 24/7 email support at support@expresstaxexempt.com.

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Happy Holidays from ExpressTaxExempt

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”

And it’s definitely been a memorable year for us here at ExpressTaxExempt - all because of you. Now is the time for celebration, a time for family and friends, and a time of reflection; we made it through another amazing year. Christmas Day is this Friday along with New Year’s Day coming within the following week, and while each of you are celebrating in your own unique ways, don’t forget that December 31 is the official end of the 2015 tax year, if your organization operates on a calendar tax year.

Until then, you can still make substantial moves that can be applied to your current tax year. Are you still receiving gifts and contributions for the month? Check out our “Gifts and Contributions” blog about how you can easily list all your received donations with ExpressTaxExempt. Get a head start for the upcoming tax season by uploading your entire list at once with our “Bulk Upload” feature.

Plan on running your holiday campaign up to the final hour of the year? We have some fascinating tips that can help your holiday fundraiser gain some considerable exposure. With our “Promote Holiday Giving” blog, you can find out how to maximize your donations during this gracious time of year. And don’t forget about the IRS e-file blackout that’s on December 26; if you have any tax returns that need to be e-filed this month, make sure they’re completed soon. You can learn more from our recent “IRS MeF Maintenance (Blackout)” blog.

As the current tax year comes to a close, another is right over the horizon along with another exciting tax season. ExpressTaxExempt supports these tax-exempt return forms:
  • Form 990-N (e-Postcard) - Exempt organizations with gross receipts less than $50,000.
  • Form 990-EZ - Exempt organizations with gross receipts greater than $50,000, but less than $200,000 and total assets less than $500,000.
  • Form 990 (Long) - Exempt organizations with gross receipts greater than $200,000 and total assets greater than $500,000.
  • Extension Form 8868 - Part I (Automatic 3-Month Extension) Part II (Additional, Non-Automatic 3-Month Extension.

Coming soon is our support for Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, for organizations that are seeking tax-exemption status. With our new service, you can fully complete your Form 1023, download, print, and mail to the IRS.

During this joyous season, we will also properly observe the holidays, and be with friends and family as well. Our office will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day with only limited email support through support@expresstaxexempt.com. Other than those days, you can expect our office to remain operational during our normal business hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.

If you have questions, or need assistance with the e-filing process, give our bells a ring at (704) 839-2321. We wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a safe and happy New Year.

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IRS MeF Maintenance (Blackout)

In a world bursting with conveniences, even the most automated processes need to be unplugged and regularly checked. And with the upcoming IRS Modernized e-File (MeF) maintenance schedule, this is the same situation. Affectionately known as the “IRS Blackout,” this is a routine shutdown of the IRS e-filing system for maintenance, and it’s done every year.

This year, the IRS Business MeF Production Shutdown is scheduled for December 26 at 11:59 a.m. Currently, there is no date listed when their system will be operational again, but it usually goes back online in early or mid January.

What It Means
During this time you won’t be able to e-file any of the tax returns, or extensions, for exempt organizations. If you have any tax returns that need to be filed this month, you should have it done before the 26th. Fortunately, you can still paper file, if you choose to, and avoid any potential late fees.

Why A Shutdown
As mentioned earlier, the MeF system goes offline every year around this time for routine maintenance. Not only that - the shutdown is also to prepare the system for next year’s tax filings.
Example: This year you’ve been e-filing for the 2014 tax year. After maintenance is complete, you can e-file for the 2015 tax year.

What About ExpressTaxExempt
You can still log into your account with us, and you can continue to fill out your tax return as normal. Once you get to the end of the e-filing process, you can click “Authorize & Transmit to the IRS.” However, your completed form will be held until the MeF system is up and running again. When the system is operational again, your completed form will automatically be sent to the IRS with the electronic postmark date being the same as the day you first transmit it.

For more information or updates about the MeF shutdown, you can check out the Modernized e-File Status Page on the IRS website.

While the IRS e-filing system is momentarily out of commission, your friendly, courteous ExpressTaxExempt support team is still on the job! Our live professionals from Rock Hill, South Carolina can assist you in any way necessary to ensure you have a pleasant e-filing experience.

If you have any questions or need further help, we can be reached at (704) 839-2321 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. You can also get in contact with us at anytime with our 24/7 email at support@expresstaxexempt.com.

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Maintaining Tax-Exempt Status

Remember the holiday song “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town?” There’s a line there that goes, “He’s making a list, He’s checking it twice…” With exempt organizations, your list may not necessarily be about being naughty or nice - especially nonprofits or charities. You all are always on the nice list, right? But your organization should have some sort of checklist about sustaining your tax-exempt status that is verified on a regular basis.

We understand that running a successful nonprofit is hard work - and that’s just to make sure you’re achieving your mission goals and community objectives. The last thing you need is legal issues because you fell out of compliance with what the IRS, or your state, has in place. Here are some tips that can help maintain your exemption status:
  • Prepare written receipts for contributions from individuals, and then register and file your annual reports that are required by your state. To make a tax deduction, a donor must have a written acknowledgement from your organization of any gift worth at least $250. You should also keep a record of the fair market value of goods and services provided by your organization. You can check your state’s official website for more information about state-specific requirements.
  • Evaluate the compensation of top-tier members and contracts annually. If payment is excessively beyond industry guidelines, it could be viewed as a conflict towards your organization’s mission and ultimately lead to losing your exemption status. Any business arrangements should be formally approved, reasonable, and not in excess.
  • Become familiar with the restrictions on lobbying activities. A substantial amount of lobbying can also cost you your tax-exempt status. Both the federal and state have restrictions and requirements for lobbying, which can include keeping a detailed record of such activities and expenses. For more information about lobby activities, check out one of our favorite blogs: Lobby Party.
  • Pay taxes on unrelated business income, if necessary. Unrelated business income is from a regularly done service or activity that doesn’t necessarily work within your organization’s mission goal. Like lobbying, unrelated business income should be limited; if the unrelated business becomes the primary focus of your organization, you could lose your status. Take a look at our blog, Unrelated Business Income, for more information.
  • Last, but certainly not least, file your required tax return to the IRS every year. Depending on your tax year, your filing deadline will always be on the 15th day of the 5th month after your tax end date. And depending on your gross receipts, you’ll either have to file the 990-N (e-Postcard), 990-EZ, or the 990 (Long).

Penalties for filing your tax return late can cost your nonprofit or charity thousands of dollars, and if you fail to file for three consecutive years, your organization loses its exemption status - no questions asked.

With ExpressTaxExempt, we support the exempt tax forms you need including the 990 series and Extension Form 8868. Our service offers impeccable features such as site encryption, McAfee secure certification, cloud computing, error checking, and interview-style questioning so you’re not just filling in a blank form on a screen.

And all of it is backed up by our live, tech-savvy support team in Rock Hill, South Carolina who is ready to assist you with the e-filing process. If you have questions about e-filing any of our available forms, dial us up at (704) 839-2321 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, or drop us a line anytime through our 24/7 email support at support@expresstaxexempt.com.

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Promote Holiday Giving

The holiday season is upon us, and with it, the upsurge of generosity to give. For nonprofits and charities, this is quite possibly the best time of year as studies have shown that donations are substantially increased during the holiday season. But no matter how much more people are giving, your organization can’t take full advantage unless it attracts attention from donors.

Your nonprofit or charity may have a holiday fundraising campaign in place, and that’s a step in right direction. However, you also need to properly promote your holiday campaign in order to get it seen by your audience. Here are some helpful and easy tips you can use right now to further promote your holiday campaign.

Call-To-Action Display
Like the majority of nonprofit and charity organizations, you should have a website that details everything about your organization including its mission, major board members, events, etc. And with this website, you have a homepage that displays current events or services within your organization.

You’ll want to create a large call-to-action banner or display on your homepage that links to your main campaign website. The display should be the center of attention as soon as people enter your site. Make sure your banner is near the top of your homepage, and that it isn’t hidden underneath other banners or links.

Email Campaign
A great way to promote your holiday campaign is to set up a strict email schedule that regularly reminds people to donate towards your cause. You can start off with an email that explains your fundraising campaign and goals, followed by another email stating any incentives to encourage giving.
Further emails can include updates on fundraising status, ideas for gifts, or a countdown of the days left within your campaign. You can schedule these emails to go out once or twice a week; the objective is to constantly remind people to give to your organization. If you can, try to personalize each email with the recipient's name for a more casual approach.

If your organization regularly sends out a newsletter, be sure to use it as a platform to promote your holiday campaign. The newsletter doesn’t have to be exclusively about participating in the fundraiser, but much like the call-to-action display, it should bring attention to your campaign and how people can participate.

Social Media
Everyone is on social media nowadays, and it’s a great platform to reach multiple audiences at once. To promote using social media, you can create a holiday campaign hashtag to include in your posts. You may also want to include common hashtags associated with your organization, mission, or audience so when users search these hashtags they can find posts from your profile.

You can change your profile and cover picture to a branded image of your holiday campaign along with links in the description area to your website. Another helpful feature within social media is pinning a message about your campaign at the top of your timeline - no matter how many posts you make afterwards, that pinned message will always remain at the top and will be the first thing people see on your profile.

The possibilities of promoting your holiday campaign are virtually limitless, and you can find plenty more simply by using your favorite internet search engine. Once the donations and gifts start to flood in, you may have to report these contributions with your tax return. ExpressTaxExempt can make reporting gifts and contributions quick and simple. For more details, check out the following blog: Gifts and Contributions

As your #1 online hub for everything tax-exempt, ExpressTaxExempt offers e-filing support for Form 990-N (e-Postcard), Form 990-EZ, and Form 990 (Long). You can also e-file an Extension Form 8868 for an automatic 3-month extension, or an additional, non-automatic 3-month extension. Our dedicated support team in Rock Hill, South Carolina can efficiently help you throughout the e-filing process.

Don’t hesitate to give us a call at (704) 839-2321 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. We can also be reached 24/7 with our email support at support@expresstaxexempt.com, or live chat with us at www.expresstaxexempt.com.

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End of the Year Tips

The end of the year is just a mere three weeks away. And just like Santa checks his list twice, you should also double-check and make sure your exempt organization is well within regulation before the year is at an end. A new year means new beginnings and there’s nothing worse than attempting a fresh start with old baggage.

So what we have prepared are a few blogs that detail a number of tax responsibilities that should be accomplished around this time of year. Feel free to give each a read, make note to what’s already been done or what needs to be done, and have your exempt organization end the year on the nice list rather than naughty.

By Year’s End

The pressure is on to get everything in order before the new year, and time is quickly ticking away. You probably have even less time than most people, if you’re operating a nonprofit or charity organization. With this season geared towards gift-giving and donations, your load might be heavier than ever.

However, you can’t allow yourself to get lost in this seasonal wave of generosity. This blog offers seven tasks that experts agree should be completed by tax-exempt organizations before the year is over. From annual Board of Directors meetings to updating current solicitation registrations, and even thanking your donors with proper gift receipts, the information here will have your exempt organization ending the year as strong as possible.

End of Year Tax Tips For Nonprofit Organizations

If the title wasn’t self-explanatory enough, the information in this blog explains the annual renewal of an exempt organization’s Articles of Incorporation with the state. With organizations that solicit charitable contributions locally, you are required to register your nonprofit in that one state; however, if your contributions are solicited nationally, you need to register within each state’s jurisdiction.

It also goes into a little interest piece of information about how your nonprofit can make money from its intellectual properties without it being considered as unrelated business income.

Things To Know: Gift Acceptance Policy

Quite possibly one of the most important issues within nonprofits this time of year, this blog demonstrates the importance of having a gift acceptance policy in place. ‘Tis the season of abundant giving, but if the liquidation of a gift requires an inordinate amount time, or consumes way too much of your organization’s resources, then it may do more harm than good.

Above everything else, you definitely want to make sure that your exempt organization is compliant with the IRS tax filings. If your nonprofit operates on a fiscal tax year, and your tax deadline is in December, ExpressTaxExempt can help you e-file your tax return quickly and easily. We offer support for Form 990-N (e-Postcard), Form 990-EZ, and Form 990 (Long). And coming soon, you can use our amazing features to complete Form 1023 for tax-exempt recognition.
If you have any questions, or need any assistance with e-filing one of our available tax forms, don’t hesitate to contact our live support team in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, and we can be reached at (704) 839-2321. We also offer 24/7 email support (support@expresstaxexempt.com), and you can live chat with us from the ExpressTaxExempt website.

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Gifts and Contributions

Isn’t the holiday season the most special time of year? The streets and houses are adorned with festive decorations, holiday music plays through the radio, or through your streaming music service, and the television airs the annual list of holiday specials. While it may be a couple more weeks before we are all back around family and friends, these things are our first glimpse of the holiday season, and as the song pronounces, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”

One of the most common trends of this time of year is giving donations, and with the #GivingTuesday kickoff earlier this week, the act of giving is now in full effect. For those of you operating nonprofits and charities, it has to be an exciting time with all the contributions you’re receiving. In most cases, you’ll have to report those contributions when you file a tax return for your exempt organization.

With ExpressTaxExempt, reporting your contributions is as simple as waking up on Christmas morning.

After you’ve completed entering your organization details, prior year information, and your organization’s program service, you can begin to enter your contributions and gifts from the “Statement of Revenue” page.

1. Click the “Start” link for “Contributions, Gifts, Grants.”

2. Click “Start” if you need to list “Contributions from Fundraising Events” or “Contributions, Gifts, Grants, and Similar Amounts Received.”

Let’s say your organization has a holiday fundraiser, and it received contributions and donations from that fundraiser. Here, you can…

3. Enter the required income and contribution amount, and any expenses, from the fundraising event, then click the “Add” link.

If you didn’t host a fundraising event, and your organization accepted contributions as they were given, you can…

4. Click “Yes” for “Did you receive any contributions, gifts, grants and similar amounts received?”

5. Enter the required contribution details and click “Add Another” to list another contribution, or click “Add” to list only what you’ve just entered. That’s all there is to it.

“Do I have to list every individual contribution? I don’t have to with the paper form.”
We hear this quite often, and we understand that entering every single contribution can be tedious. While you might not have to do that with the paper form, please keep in mind that, with e-filing, you’re using sophisticated software with automated calculations and algorithms. The program even states the contribution will be factored into your public support percentage.

So if you tell a program that your organization receives at least 33% of its support from contributions, memberships fees, etc., then the program is going to automatically attempt to factor 33% from your list of contributions. If you list them as one large donation, that’s going to prompt an improper calculation, which will fail your public support test.

Bulk Upload
To compensate for having to sit within the program, and list contributions one by one, we do offer a bulk upload feature, which can list all your contributions at once.

All you need to do is
  • Step 1 - Download our pre-set Excel template.
  • Step 2 - Enter your contributions within the template and save.
  • Step 3 - Upload your saved template from your computer.

In this merry time of year, as well as anytime of year, our jolly support team in Rock Hill, South Carolina is more than happy to answer any questions, or help with any assistance you may need with e-filing your tax return. Give us a call at (704) 839-2321 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. Email us anytime, 24/7 at support@expresstaxexempt.com, or live chat with us at www.expresstaxexempt.com.

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We spend Thanksgiving reflecting upon what we’re thankful for, we have Black Friday and Cyber Monday to participate in some of the best shopping deals of the year, and now the consecutive day tradition continues on with #GivingTuesday - a dedicated, global day to giving back. Since 2012, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving has committed the world coming together to promote generosity, and to give back to communities and those less fortunate.

Humble Beginnings
#GivingTuesday began with the charitable organization, 92nd Street Y, as a way to connect diverse groups of people, organizations, and businesses worldwide to honor and support the act of giving. The movement utilizes the limitless capabilities of social media as a platform for donors, no matter how big or small, to encourage donations of resources, talents, or even just time towards local challenges.

Anyone, anywhere can become involved with #GivingTuesday. All it takes is just coming up with some way you, your family, your organization, or your business can give back to your community. While you are giving, inform as many as you can about how you’re giving through various social media channels. You can post text, a photo, or even a video with the #GivingTuesday in your post.
You can give as much or as little as your heart deems necessary; however, remember that if you’re giving considerably, you can deduct the amount during tax season. For more information about tax deductions from giving to charity, check out the following blog:
Year-End Gifts for Charity

Nonprofits & Charities
#GivingTuesday serves as the grand kickoff for the charitable season, when people have their attention set on holiday and end-of-year giving. On your end, your nonprofit or charity organization may have to report contributions and gifts received if they exceed a certain amount. With ExpressTaxExempt, you can report those amounts as simple as listing the name of donor, the type of donation, and the monetary value of the donation.

ExpressTaxExempt also offers a bulk upload feature so you can list all your received contributions at once. All you need is to have your contributions listed on a spreadsheet, and then upload that spreadsheet within the program. We even provide a pre-made spreadsheet that you can download directly from us.

It truly is the start of the giving season, and our live support team in Rock Hill, South Carolina is available to give any assistance you may need to e-file a tax return for your exempt organization. Contact us at (704) 839-2321, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. We also offer 24/7 email support through support@expresstaxexempt.com, or feel free to live chat us at our website.

Don’t forget to share with us your acts of giving in the comment section below!

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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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