ExpressTaxExempt Blog

Filing Form 990 with a Fiscal Tax Year

Earlier this month, we had a pretty big deadline for tax-exempt organizations required to file some version of Form 990. Whether you file the original long form, Form 990-EZ, Form 990-N, or Form 990-PF, if you operate on a calendar year tax year, your 2016 return was due to the IRS May 15th of this year.

Now, if you missed the deadline, don’t freak out: you can still file your return with the IRS and the sooner you do, the better.

But what about those folks who don’t follow a calendar year tax year? Whose tax year maybe starts each June 1st and ends each May 31st? Or starts September 1st and ends August 31st? Or any other combination of 365-day cycles?

These organizations have what we call a “fiscal tax year,” because their tax year has been determined for fiscal reasons rather than simply to follow the calendar year. For instance, many school-related tax-exempt organizations will follow an August to July fiscal tax year since the school year generally starts sometime in August. Other organizations may also find it simpler for tax purposes to have their tax year start the same month that the organization was founded.

The IRS is able to allow for this kind of flexibility when it comes to tax-exempt return deadlines. After all, the official deadline for tax-exempt organizations isn’t May 15th, but rather the fifteenth day of the fifth month following the organization’s tax year end date. And so long as your organization’s founding documents on file with the IRS have your fiscal tax year listed, the IRS won’t consider you having filed incorrectly or late for filing on a deadline other than May 15th.

So, if you know your organization operates on a fiscal tax year, but are unsure of your deadline, we can help with that! Just find your tax year on this chart to confirm your Form 990 due date:

Tax Year Begin Date
Tax Year End Date
Form 990 Deadline
January 1
December 31
May 15
February 1
January 31
June 15
March 1
February 28/29
July 15
April 1
March 31
August 15
May 1
April 30
September 15
June 1
May 31
October 15
July 1
June 30
November 15
August 1
July 31
December 15
September 1
August 31
January 15
October 1
September 30
February 15
November 1
October 31
March 15
December 1
November 30
April 15

With ExpressTaxExempt, you can e-file your Form 990 all throughout the year, no matter when your deadline is. Just as you begin your form in the program, we’ll ask you for some organization details, including your tax year to help make sure you’re filing on time. Of course, if you have any questions along the way, you can also get in touch with our all-star support team. Just give us a call or send us a live chat or email and we’ll be happy to help!

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Miss the 990 Deadline? Here's What to Do

In case you missed it, the 990 Form deadline for calendar tax year filers was May 15!

And if you did miss it, you may be wondering, “What now?” Because, while we all know the IRS isn’t really a fan of people missing their deadlines, they are pretty adamant about making sure tax forms are filed anyway. Well we’re here to tell ya:

First, Make Sure This Was Your Deadline
Remember: the Form 990 deadline works a little differently than other IRS information returns. Rather than one set deadline for all tax-exempt organizations each year, your deadline is determined by your organization’s tax year end date. The May 15th deadline is the 990 Form due date for organizations that operate on a calendar tax year, which starts on January 1 and ends December 31 each year.

If your organization does operate on a calendar year tax year, move on to the next section for what to do next. If your organization has a tax year with a different start and end date, your deadline is the fifteenth day of the fifth month following your tax year end date.

If It Was, Complete and File Your Return ASAP
Don’t even think about potential penalties: your mission is to accurately complete your return and file it as soon as you can. Of course, if you’re e-filing the e-Postcard, you don’t need to worry about penalties; there are no immediate monetary penalties for filing Form 990-N late, but if you miss filing it for your organization for 3 years, tax-exempt status is automatically revoked.

Now, for you 990, 990-EZ, and 990-PF filers, the IRS penalty for late filing illustrates why it’s important to file as soon as possible after missing the deadline. For tax-exempt organizations with gross receipts less than $1,000,000, the IRS imposes a penalty of $20 per day for each day the return is late. In other words, the penalty for filing a few days late isn’t nearly as steep as it is for filing a few months late.

And Heads Up: You May Still Be In a Perfection Period
Now we’re going to throw out a slightly different late-filing scenario that may apply to your organization. Let’s say you did file your 990 Form a few days before or on the actual deadline, but it was rejected by the IRS for containing errors.

Luckily, even if you end up filing your corrected return after the deadline, your return may still be considered filed on time if you’ve filed within the IRS’s Perfection Period. You see, when you file a return and it’s rejected for errors, you have a Perfection Period of 10 days (5 days for Form 8868) to correct and re-transmit your return. If everything is correctly filed during that Perfection Period and your return is accepted by the IRS, they’ll consider it having been filed correctly on the date you initially filed. So if your form was rejected Friday before the deadline, you’re still within the 10-day Perfection Period and can file without receiving a late-filing penalty.

Whatever the Case, We’re Here For You
Just remember in the hustle and bustle of it all that, if things get a little too hectic, ExpressTaxExempt is here for you! We’ve got tons of information all around our site for tax-exempt organizations, and our support team is always ready to answer any questions you may have about tax-exempt e-filing or your 990 Form. So if you need us, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us a live chat or email!

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Calendar Year Filers: Today's Your Last Day to Submit Form 990!

Today’s the big day: May 15 is finally here!

If you’re filing the 990 Form for your organization that operates on a calendar tax year, there’s a chance you’ve been preparing for this day all year! Well, maybe not if you’re e-filing Form 990-N, but it’s just as important to make sure you file that one on time as well.

To clarify: calendar year filers are those organizations that operate on a fiscal year that follows the calendar year, January 1 to December 31. So if your yearly financial obligations are grouped starting on January 1 and ending on December 31 each year, this means you.

Now, those of you paper filing a 990 Form, make sure to have that bad boy complete, stamped, and mailed TODAY to the following address:
Internal Revenue Service Center
Ogden, UT 84201-0027

Or this address if you’re using a private delivery service:
201 West Rivercenter Blvd.
Attn: Extracting Stop 312
Covington, KY 41011

But those of you who have jumped on the e-filing wagon, you’re in for a real treat: you have until 11:59 p.m. (your time) to securely transmit your 990 Form with an IRS-authorized e-filing option. Luckily, you’ve got one right here with ExpressTaxExempt!

990-N (e-Postcard) filers, you can use our new site, epostcard.expresstaxexempt.com to complete your return in just three steps! And for those of you filing longer 990 Forms, like the 990-EZ, 990-PF, or the actual 990 Long Form, you can get your return done just as easily - but, of course, in a few more steps - with your ExpressTaxExempt account. We’ve broken down the forms into an interview-style, Q & A format so completing your 990 Form is easier than ever. We’ve also got built-in error checks to make sure no box is left incomplete and no “t” is left uncrossed.

Not to mention, we’ve got the 990 extension form, Form 8868, on hand that you can e-file right from your ETE account if you think you’re going to need more time to complete your form. And if you have any questions at all during the process, we’re here to help! Our customer support team is available via phone, live chat, and email to help make sure your form gets e-filed, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

So what are you waiting for? Time’s running out to file your Form 990!

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Final Reminder for May 15 Filing Deadline

Alright, guys, here it is. Big breath. Your final reminder that the May 15th deadline is literally right around the corner and, if your tax-exempt organization operates on a calendar tax year, that means you need to file a Form 990 by then!

Got it? Good. Because now you’re on your own!

Okay, don’t worry: we wouldn’t really leave you all on your own.

While it is up to you to make sure that 990 Form gets filed on time, ExpressTaxExempt is here to help you every step of the way, from “Start New Form” to “Transmit My Return”! Whether you need to file Form 990, 990-EZ, the 990-N, or 990-PF, you can complete your return just by signing up for an account, answering a few questions about your tax-exempt organization, and securely transmitting it to the IRS.

This year, we even have a fancy-pants new site just for the 990-N filers! It’s epostcard.expresstaxexempt.com, and you can use it to check the tax-exempt status of your organization, your organization’s filing history, and, yes, securely e-file that e-Postcard. There’s no need to sign up again; if you already have an ExpressTaxExempt account, you can use it to e-file on ePostcard!

And if you get in there and get started on your 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF and realize that you’re still going to need more time to complete your return, you can take a break and e-file the 8868 Extension Form right from your account. You’ll get an automatic six-month extension of time to file and can come back to your account to complete your return sometime before your new November deadline.

As always, if you need any questions while you’re filing or need help getting started, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! Just give us a call at (704) 839-2321, live chat with us, or send us an email to support@ExpressTaxExempt.com and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Happy filing everyone!

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Last Minute Form 990 Filing Tips

The deadline for organizations to file 990 Forms is quickly approaching! If you’re filing for an organization that operates on a calendar year tax year, we want to make sure you have everything you need to be fully prepared for the deadline. And since we’ve already established e-filing is the best route at this point, here are a few tips for last minute Form 990 e-filing!

Know Which Form You Need to File
Before we even get started, you’ll need to know which form in the 990 series your organization’s required to file. Typically, you can go determine this based on the form you’ve filed for previous years. However, if this is your first year filing or you’re just not sure which form to file, here’s a simple guide:
  • -Form 990-N, the e-Postcard, is filed by organizations with gross receipts (income) of $50,000 or less during the tax year.
  • -Form 990-EZ is filed by organizations with gross receipts less than $200,000 or total assets less than $500,000.
  • -Form 990, the long form, is filed by organizations with gross receipts greater than $200,000 during the tax year or with total assets greater than or equal to $500,000.
  • -Form 990-PF is filed by all tax-exempt organizations considered to be Private Foundations, regardless of total gross receipts.

E-file the e-Postcard Faster than Ever
Not to brag, but we’ve made e-filing the e-Postcard an easier and faster process than ever before! You can use our new website, epostcard.expresstaxexempt.com, to e-file your 990-N in just THREE steps. Or, if you’re constantly on the go, working and non-profiting, you can download our free Form 990-N app for iPhones, Androids, and tablets, which can also have your 990-N filed in just a few minutes. Oh, and psst: we’ve also got a free extension Form 8868 mobile app you can download as well, which may be good to know because…

You Can Extend Your Deadline and Get More Time to File
If it really gets down to the wire and you know you’re not going to make the deadline, just extend it. This year, it’s easier than ever since the IRS condensed the once 2-part 8868 Form into one automatic extension form. Now, all you have to do is complete one form - you don’t even need a reason why you need more time to file - and send it off and you’ll automatically receive a 6-month extension to file.

Give Us a Call If It Gets to Be Too Much
Like your organization is there for others, we’re here for you. If you need any help at all in your 990 filing process, don’t hesitate to give us a call! We’re available Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST, at (704) 839-2321 and through live chat on our site. We also offer 24/7 email assistance at support@ExpressTaxExempt.com!

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Missing the May 15th Deadline

Brace yourselves: for this post, we’re going into (dun, dun, duuunnn) Nightmare Mode!

Mwa ha ha ha!

Our story begins early on the morning of May 16, 2017. Outside it’s still dark and somewhere in America, in a bedroom, a fan lazily blows cool air while an alarm clock in the corner blinks a red 5:55. 5:55. 5:55.

You awake with a start, cold sweat dripping down your face. There’s something you’ve forgotten, something important.

Your tax-exempt organization’s 990 Form! It was due yesterday!

You jump out of bed and speed to the IRS office. This being Nightmare Mode, you arrive just as the office is filling with other tax filers and just in time to realize you’ve forgotten your pants. But you’ve got a mission. Grabbing a folder and using it as a shield, you make your way to the desk of one of the agents and tell him that you need to file a 990 for your tax-exempt organization as soon as possible because you’re running late.

Hearing you’re late, he gives you a stern look and quietly says, “Come with me.”

Moments later, you’re in the IRS dungeons. Your organization’s tax-exempt status has been revoked and the guards are demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties from you before you can go anywhere. When they’ve finally gotten all they can, they drop you back on your doorstep, defeated and penniless.

For the record, this is a completely fabricated exaggeration of what happens if you miss the May 15th deadline* for filing Form 990 (or whichever day your 990 deadline falls on). Just as you never failed a final you took naked, this nightmare scenario is but a dream.

If you do miss the May 15th deadline, your main goal is to file your completed 990 Form - whether it’s the 990 Long Form, the 990-EZ, 990-PF, or 990-N - as soon as possible. Of course, any IRS office will have agents to help accommodate you as best they can (without the dungeons), but your best bet is with ExpressTaxExempt.

We’ve been around for a few years now, and we’re leading the pack among the IRS-authorized e-file providers for the 990 Forms. We break down each form into a simplified, Q & A style interview and run error checks to ensure you’ve completed every part of the form needed. And we don’t mind if you file late. The IRS may still charge you a late-filing penalty, but the sooner you submit your 990 Form, the lesser these penalties will be.

You’ve still got a couple more weeks to submit your 990 Form, so there’s still a pretty good chance you can make the deadline. If, however, you start thinking you’ll need more time, you can always get an automatic 6-month extension by e-filing Form 8868 from your ETE account. Then you won’t even have to worry about May 15!

And if you have any questions about e-filing your 990 Form or need help getting started, please don’t hesitate to give us a ring!

*The May 15th deadline is for tax-exempt organizations that follow a calendar year tax year, which runs from January 1 to December 31. The official deadline for 990 Forms is the 15th day of the fifth month after your tax year ends so you may not be required to file May 15.

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The May 15th Deadline Approaches

May day! May day!

The May 15th deadline is almost upon us!

For those of you new to the tax-exempt game, May 15 is a major deadline for 990 Forms because it’s the 15th day of the fifth month following the end of the calendar tax year. You may remember in all that paperwork to become a tax-exempt organization, it told you that you’d need to file a 990 Form by the 15th day of the fifth month after your tax year ends. And since the calendar tax year, which runs from January 1 to December 31, is used by a lot of tax-exempt organizations (“a lot” as in “most of them”), May 15 is the official unofficial 990 Form deadline!

Now, if you have a tax year that runs from, say, July 1 to June 30 (deadline: November 15) or September 1 to August 31 (deadline: January 15) or any other set of 365 consecutive days, you can disregard this deadline. But make sure you know when your tax year end date is so you can determine your actual due date for Form 990.

What Happens If I File Form 990 Late?
Ah, a good question, to be sure! If you’re required to e-file Form 990-N (the e-Postcard), there aren’t really any immediate penalties for filing late. Just be sure to get it in as soon as you can if you realize a little too late that you’ve missed the deadline. Keep in mind, though, that if you go more than three consecutive years without e-filing a 990-N (or any 990 form), your tax-exempt status will be automatically revoked by the IRS and you’ll need to apply again for it.

However, if you have to file the 990 Long Form, Form 990-EZ, or Form 990-PF, the IRS does impose penalties for filing your form late. You may be able to get out of these penalties if the organization can provide reasonable cause for why the 990 Form was filed late. If not though, the IRS will charge you $20 for each day the return is late, with the maximum penalty being $10,000 or 5% of your organization’s gross receipts, whichever is less.

And that’s just if your organization earned fewer than $1,000,000 in gross receipts for the tax year you’re reporting. If your organization had gross receipts of more than $1 million, the penalty increases to $100 per day late, with a maximum penalty of $50,000.

Can I Extend the May 15 Deadline?
If you file Form 990-N, no. But that’s just because it’s so easy: all you do is confirm your organization’s identifying information (name, EIN, address), confirm you made fewer than $50,000 in gross receipts by checking a box, and e-file.

If you file Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF, yes! You can use Form 8868 to get an automatic 6-month extension of time to file your 990 Form.

What’s the Best Way to File Form 990 On Time?
Why, with ExpressTaxExempt, of course! This year, we’ve launched a simplified, streamlined version of ETE for the 990-N Form. Just go to epostcard.expresstaxexempt.com and use the information from your ETE account to e-file Form 990-N in three steps!

If you need to file one of the longer forms, it’s still easiest to e-file with ExpressTaxExempt! We’ve broken down the 990 Form into a question and answer style interview to help you more accurately and easily complete your form. And if at any point you think you’ll need more time, you can e-file Form 8868 right from your account before getting back to work.
We also offer top-notch customer support right here from our headquarters in Rock Hill, South Carolina. You can call us at (704) 839-2321, send us a live chat through our website, or email us at support@ExpressTaxExempt.com and we’ll help however we can!

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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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