ExpressTaxExempt Blog

Give Now, Receive Later: Donate & Get Money Back

At ExpressTaxExempt we respect the services that nonprofits, charities, and exempt organizations provide to their community. These groups help so many from day to day, so “now let us help you!”

As expected, most nonprofit organizations and charities aim to receive donations and contributions from generous givers to support their philanthropic endeavors. One may ask, “Why would a tax company be concerned with donations?” To answer that question, all contributions and donations to an organization qualified by the IRS can be deducted from your tax return when filing. For those that are in charge of collecting donations for your organization(s), this is a great interesting fact to share with your potential donors.

We’ve listed some tips here for you and your donors to utilize to ensure that your contributions  will positively pay off during tax filing and tax return season.  

TIP #1: Make donations to a qualified organization. Deductions on your tax return cannot be made to specific individuals, political organizations and candidates.

TIP #2: Must file Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A. (Extension Form Available).

TIP #3: Benefits received from contributions, such as merchandise or tickets to a game, can only deduct the amount which exceeds the market value of the received benefit.

TIP #4: Non-cash property or stock donations are usually valued at fair market value. Clothing and household items should be in good used condition or better in order to be deducted.
    • Fair Market Value: The agreed price at which property would change hands between a willing buyer and seller.

TIP #5: Regardless the amount, a bank record or payroll deduction record must be maintained for a contribution of cash, check, or other monetary gift. Written communication from the organization [that received the donation] with the name of the organization stated along with the date and amount of the contribution will also suffice for verification purposes.

TIP #6: For contributions of cash or property equaling $250 or more the following must be provided to claim a deduction:
  • Bank record
  • Payroll deduction record
  • Written acknowledgement from organization
  • **One document may satisfy these requirements**

TIP #7: If the total deduction for all non-cash contributions for the year is over $500, an
IRS Form 8283 must be completed and attached to your return.

TIP #8: Donating items or a group of similar items valued at more than $5,000 must also complete Section B of Form 8283, which will more than likely require an appraisal by a qualified appraiser.

Whether you are responsible for collecting donations for your charitable or nonprofit organization or considering to make a donation, ExpressTaxExempt is here to help you each step of the way and provide beneficial content for you and your organization. Also, be sure to visit ExpressTaxFilings for your personal e-filing needs as well as ExpressExtension to be granted extra time to gather all necessary information. If you need any help at all with the filing process, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 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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How to Get Premium Support to File Your 990 Form

E-filing for the first time?
Do you find yourself having multiple questions while filing?
Do you consider yourself to be non “tech-savvy?”

As the premier hub for everything tax exempt, ExpressTaxExempt continues to provide you with easy-to-use e-filing for 990 Forms and extensions for your organization to submit its tax return to the IRS. Although we’ve designed our program to be completed smoothly, we still realize that reporting to the IRS can be rather intimidating, to say the least, which is why we offer all users the option to take advantage of our exclusive ExpressTaxExempt Premium Support service.

Headquartered in beautiful Rock Hill, South Carolina, our premium support team will provide you with the following incentives during your session:
  • Assistance from a live professional
  • Help you fill out & complete your tax return from start to finish
  • Fix any filing errors
  • Provide step-by-step instructions

Make life and the e-filing process much easier by taking advantage of our Premium Support feature and scheduling a session today at ExpressTaxExempt. Upon logging into your account,  simply click “Premium Support” under the “My Account” tab in the top-right corner, select an appointment date using the calendar, and choose an available appointment time.

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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Anytime Filing is Right Here with ExpressTaxExempt!

Form 990 is long, huh? And while Form 990-EZ is shorter, it’s not that much of a breeze either. And don’t even get us started on Form 990-PF. Plus the schedules! Basically, if you aren’t e-filing Form 990-N (the e-Postcard), you’re going to be putting in quite a bit of time completing the yearly IRS information return for your tax-exempt organization.

Of course, if you find you’re running out of time, there’s always Form 8868, the tax-exempt extension form which will get you 6 extra months to e-file your 990 Form. But why not start a little earlier than you normally would, do a little of your form at a time, then send it off knowing that it’s accurate and error-free? With ExpressTaxExempt, you can!

Cloud-Based E-filing
ExpressTaxExempt is a unique option for e-filing your 990 Form because it’s an entirely cloud-based program. Everything you do in your account is saved for the next time you log in. We know you’re busy, so if you need to go in, do a little 990-ing, then go do something else, you can!

Do a Little or Do a Lot!
We’ve streamlined the process of completing Form 990! That means you go straight through your form rather than jumping between parts and schedules to complete your return. This makes it even easier to do a little of your return - or a lot of it! - at a time. Once you complete a section and click “Continue,” that section is automatically saved in your account so if you need to log off for a bit, you can pick right back up where you left when you come back.

File Anytime, Anywhere…
We say “Anytime Filing” because we mean ANYTIME filing. And that cloud-based e-filing part means you can file anywhere too, so long as you have an internet connection. You can e-file at your computer or with a tablet using the ExpressTaxExempt mobile site, optimized for tablet use.

…And We’ll Be Here to Help!
Not only do we have error checks built into our program, but our US-based customer support is available anytime you need it too! If you have any questions while you’re working through your 990 Form, we’re available by phone, live chat, and email and are happy to help in any way we can!

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Does Your Charity Qualify for 501(c)(3) Tax-Exemption?

You’ve been busy putting a lot of work into your charity and your community is improving by the day as a result! Now, it’s time to take the next big step and establish your charity as a tax-exempt organization with the IRS.

What Makes a Charity?
A charity, you may know, is an organization set up to provide help or raise money for those in need. Charities that can apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status through the IRS are considered to be public charities. These charities typically include ones that
  • -Are churches, hospitals, or are qualified medical research organizations associated with hospitals or schools
  • -Have an active fundraising program and receive contributions from multiple sources
  • -Receive income from activities related to or that further the organization’s exempt purpose(s)
  • -Actively function in a supporting relationship to at least one existing public charity

How Do I Know If My Charity Qualifies for Tax-Exempt Status?
To qualify for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status as a public charity, there are two key requirements:
  1. 1. Your group must be organized as a corporation, trust, or unincorporated association. 
  2. 2. Your group must permanently dedicate its assets to its exempt purposes while furthering one or more of those purposes, which must be stated in your organization document.
Basically, in order to qualify for tax-exempt status, your charity needs to be organized and operating solely for the exempt purposes outlined in your organization’s documentation. Nothing that the organization earns can go to a private shareholder or individual. Additionally, for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, your organization must not act for or as a political organization to influence legislation.

How Do I Apply for Tax-Exempt Status?
You can apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status with the IRS by filing Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption. And all applicants, unless otherwise directed by the application or IRS, must complete Parts I through XI of Form 1023 and include an additional schedules or attachments required. Once you’ve applied for 501(c)(3) status and the IRS has assessed your application, they’ll send you a letter telling you whether your application was approved and what your next steps as a tax-exempt organization are!

What Form Do I Need to File When My Charity is Tax-Exempt?
You are still required to report to the IRS each year some financial details, even as a tax-exempt status, to ensure your funds are still being used to further your tax-exempt purpose(s). Depending on your total gross receipts for the year, as a public charity you’ll file one of the following 990 Forms:
  • -990 Long Form, filed by organizations that receive at least $200,000 in gross receipts or have total assets equalling or exceeding $500,000
  • -990-EZ Form, filed by organizations that receive between $50,000 and $200,000 in gross receipts or whose total assets are fewer than $500,000
  • -990-N Form, or the e-Postcard, filed by organizations that receive less than $50,000 in gross receipts

And if you’re at the point in your tax-exempt journey where you need to file Form 990, we can help! ExpressTaxExempt has helped e-file more than 100,000 990 Forms easily and efficiently! Click here to get started creating your very own account or contact our all-star, US-based support team to answer any nonprofit questions you may have!

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An IRS E-Services Blackout is Coming Up

From the IRS Quick Alerts: Mark your calendars for Thursday, June 15 through Monday, June 19!

Beginning at 6:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, June 15, and running through 6:00 a.m. on Monday, June 19, the IRS will be shutting down all e-Services while it moves them to a different platform as part of a technology upgrade. This means all e-Service applications, including e-filing and ACA applications, as well as Transcript Delivery System and TIN Matching, will be offline and unavailable during this time.

So how does that affect you?

Well, if your organization has a fiscal tax year that runs from February 1 to January 31, this mini e-Service blackout could affect your Form 990 return filing. Since your Form 990 deadline is June 15, if you plan to e-file, you’ll need to make sure to do so before 6:00 p.m. EST this coming Thursday.

Now, if you don’t believe you’ll be able to get your Form 990 e-filed by then, you’ve got a couple of options: you can e-file Form 8868 instead for an automatic 6-month extension of time to file your 990 return. It’s super short and takes no time to fill out so it’s a great option if you’ve found yourself down to the wire with your 990 reporting.
Your other option, if you think you’ll have your Form 990 complete by June 15, just not by 6:00 p.m. EST on June 15, is to e-file with us, ExpressTaxExempt, an IRS-authorized e-file provider. Since we’ve got all the technical stuff covered with the IRS, you don’t have to have the extras that are required to e-file directly with the IRS’s system. That also means when you submit a Form 990 through our program, it’s timestamped when you hit the “Transmit to the IRS” button. So if you e-file after 6:00 p.m. Thursday, and the IRS doesn’t see your return til the system is back up next Monday, they’ll still see that you submitted your return on the due date and won’t count it as late.

Of course, either way, we recommend e-filing with us! ExpressTaxExempt has Form 8868 available as well as a series of 990 Forms, including 990-N, 990-EZ, 990-PF, and the original 990 Long Form. And we do our best to make e-filing as simple and efficient as possible for you! So if you have any questions along the way, we’re here to help; just give us a call or send us an email or live chat.

Need to file the e-Postcard? Check out our new site exclusively for Form 990-N, guaranteed to have you e-filing your nonprofit’s return faster than ever before!

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Lost Your Tax-Exempt Status? Here's How to Get it Back

Once you’ve gotten that coveted tax-exempt status for your nonprofit organization, it can be quite the job maintaining it. For some, it can even become a full-time job to ensure their organization remains tax-exempt, which is why it can be so devastating to learn that the IRS has revoked that status.

Losing Tax-Exempt Status
The most common reason organizations lose their tax-exempt status is failing to file a Form 990 return for three consecutive years. Of course, there are more insidious ways organizations can forfeit their status, but not filing for three years in a row can be indicative of these. And so organizations will automatically lose tax-exempt status, effective beginning the original due date of the third missed annual return.

When you lose tax-exempt status, the first thing the IRS will do is send a letter explaining the situation and how your organization is no longer exempt from federal income tax. Your organization will be added to the Automatic Revocation of Exemption List, which the IRS updates monthly.

During this time, your organization is no longer considered tax-exempt so normal federal income tax laws apply. Also during this time period, you’re no longer eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions however your donors can deduct contributions made before your organization is listed on the Automatic Revocation list. Keep in mind that there may also be separate repercussions with your state after your tax-exempt status is revoked.

If your organization is still operating while its tax-exempt status is revoked, you may also be required to file a federal income tax return and pay any applicable taxes with one of these forms:
  • -Form 1120, US Corporation Income Tax Return, due the 15th day of the 3rd month following your tax year end date
  • -Form 1041, US Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts, due the 15th day of the 4th month following your tax year end date

And Getting it Back!
The most important thing to getting your tax-exempt status back is to act fast and thoroughly when going through the IRS’s reinstatement steps. It will really help here if you’ve been keeping detailed records of your organization’s revenue and expenses. So, first things first: to reinstate your tax-exempt status, you’re going to need to file another Form 1023 if applying under section 501(c)(3). If you’re applying under a different Code section, file Form 1024. Regardless of whether your organization was originally required to file one of these forms for tax-exempt status, you’ll need to file one again now.

You’ll also be required to pay the appropriate user fee the IRS will charge for your status reinstatement. The specifics of the amounts you owe will be explained in the letter the IRS sends to alert you of your status being revoked.

If needed, you can also petition for a retroactive reinstatement as part of your application. This is an important step to take if you believe your organization’s tax-exempt status being revoked was an error or unwarranted. If you don’t need retroactive reinstatement, pending your application’s approval, your organization’s new tax-exempt effective date will most likely be the date you submit Form 1023 or 1024 to the IRS.

Once you’ve been reinstated, it’s important to make every effort not to lose that status again! Be sure to file your 990 Form each year, keep meticulous records, and, of course, only use the benefits of your tax-exempt status for tax-exempt operations. And don’t forget that ExpressTaxExempt can help - like the Jackson 5, just call our name and we’ll be there!

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The Nonprofit Summer Checklist

Summertime is here! But here in the nonprofit game, that hardly means it’s time for a vacation. You know better than anybody that, even if you’re not actively bringing in donations, doing service work, or holding fundraisers, there’s still plenty of nonprofit work to be done! Liiike…

Boosting Your Social Media Presence
A great time to launch, re-launch, or rebrand yourself on social media is during the summer. School’s out, people are taking more vacations, and with all that extra time, traffic to social media sites increases. So now is the perfect time to put your best virtual face forward!

Developing a Personal Work Plan
You’re a big reason your organization’s charitable work gets done. So it’s especially beneficial to make sure you take some time this summer to review your own personal goals for what you want to achieve during the second half of the year. Think about how you’ll be able to manage your time, workloads, and other specific duties.

Doing Some Summer Cleaning
Like spring cleaning except a season later! Based on everything that’s happened so far this year, you should have an idea of what you’ll need for the second half of 2017. So now’s the time to get organized: sort your inboxes, file donor letters, and update your contributor relationships.

Filing Your Return (If You Need To)
Some of you may have gotten this out of the way in May, but others may have due dates this month! Organizations with certain fiscal tax years will need to file June, July, or August 15 this year for the 2016 tax year. Additionally, if you filed Form 8868 to extend your Form 990 May 15th deadline, you may have until November to actually file, but it wouldn’t hurt to go ahead and get a jump start on it this summer!

Preparing for Fall & Winter 2017
A lot of fundraising is done in the later months of the year and now’s the time to go ahead and plan for that. Get your holiday cards printed, write “Thank You” cards for your guaranteed contributors, and make outlines for any seasonal fundraising campaigns.

Reviewing Your Prospects
Go over your organization’s prospects - maybe pull your top 100, or however many you have. Check to see if you need to remove any of them that happen to have moved beyond consideration. You can also verify which ones have officially been added to your organization.

Taking a Look at Your Yearly Plan
Make sure your organization is on track with its proposed plan for this year. Take notes on whether or not your organization is reaching its goals. Also, pay close attention to your donor investments impact and what needs funding in the upcoming months.

Talking with Your Nonprofit’s Leaders
Don’t forget to keep the lines of communication open with your organization’s board members and principal officers this summer. If necessary, develop a board meeting calendar to confirm everything’s up to date and let them know the organization’s progress and plans for the year.

Updating Your Database
People move, phone numbers change, and the world spins madly on. So take some time this summer to make sure that you’ve got your organization’s contacts up-to-date and in order.

Of course, there are many, many more things you can do this summer to make sure everything for your nonprofit is organized, up-to-date, and readily available when you need it. But this checklist will certainly help get you and your organization on track for a successful second half of 2017!

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Have You Seen Our New e-Postcard Site Yet??

Did ya hear? Did ya hear?!

We’ve officially launched our super-special, super-simplified site just for 990-N e-filers!

It’s epostcard.expresstaxexempt.com and it truly is the easiest, quickest, and safest way to e-file your tax-exempt organization’s Form 990-N. You see that search bar up there? Entering your organization’s EIN (Employer Identification Number) is the first of just three steps to e-filing your return with the IRS.

Once you enter your organization’s EIN, our new little site will pull up your organization’s information as the IRS has it to confirm that your organization name and EIN match, as well as your tax year and whether or not it’s time to file Form 990-N for the current tax year. From this page, you’ll also be able to see a brief summary of your 990-N filing history with the IRS.

Once you’ve selected the tax year for which you’d like to file, you’ll either be taken to your ExpressTaxExempt account or be prompted to create one so you can e-file your return. You can also take this time to update any organizational information you need to. Then, simply pay the one-time fee to transmit your return and send it off to the IRS!

Don’t need to file? There’s plenty of other stuff to do on our e-Postcard site! You can check your organization’s tax-exempt status, view our pricing and customer testimonials, and learn more about nonprofit e-filing by browsing our FAQ section.

So go check it out! And if you have any questions, you can give us a call, email us, or live chat us right from the new site!

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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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