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ExpressTaxExempt Blog

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Principal Officer’s Role with Filing Form 990

When an exempt organization files its annual tax return, it’s typically the responsibility of the principal or primary officer to complete the filing. The officer can either finish and submit the 990 form on their own or outsource the work to a tax professional or CPA.

Whatever the principal officer decides to do, it’s important for that person to provide their signature to the tax return before it gets sent to the IRS. Here is some general information about principal officers and their role in filing the form 990 series.

Who is a Principal Officer?
A principal or primary officer can have many different titles within tax-exempt groups. It can be your organization’s current President, Vice-President, Director, Treasurer, Secretary, Chief Accounting Officer, or other corporate officers - for instance, a tax or financial administrator. People who are not officers are your regular employees or volunteers.

Does a Principal Officer have Authority to Transmit 990 Form?
With a small tax-exempt organization, the principal officer is usually the President or a Director, so that person does have supreme authority to submit to the IRS once finishing the return. For larger organizations, the officer may need approval from the President or other board members before completing the filing.

With ExpressTaxExempt.com, you can use our unique “Manage Approvers and Reviewers” feature which allows you to invite prominent members to a secure web portal via email. While there, they can review your 990 form, add comments or corrections, and e-verify with their signature. Have your entire board approve without managing multiple copies or wasting precious paper.

What Filing Details are Required About the Principal Officer?
IRS Form 990 and Form 990-EZ only ask for the officer’s name, title within the organization, and a daytime phone number. The IRS Form 990-N (e-Postcard) and Extension Form 8868 requests the same information with the addition of a mailing address.

If the primary officer is using a tax professional or a paid preparer to file the 990 series electronically, the officer is required to sign IRS Form 8453-EO. The form states that you are indeed an officer from a tax-exempt group and that you approve the return, and you give authorization for the preparer to file the form. It only requires the officer’s signature, date, and title within the organization.

Can an Officer File for Multiple Organizations?
If an officer is a primary member of each organization getting filed, then there shouldn’t be any issues. But if a principal officer of one group is filing on behalf of a different group without membership, then a signed Form 8453-EO is required from a primary officer of the different group.

ExpressTaxExempt.com lets you e-file for as many organizations as you need from just one account. We even generate your 8453-EO so you can print it, get the signature needed, and then upload the form into your account.

Call our U.S. - based, customer support team for any assistance needed with e-filing the form 990 series. You can reach us at 704.839.2321, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. We also over email support with support@ExpressTaxExempt.com.


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