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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