Nonprofits Must File by Oct. 15 to Maintain Status

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Small tax-exempt, nonprofit groups are now required to file a tax form with IRS, or risk losing their tax-exempt status. Many should have filed in May, but the IRS has granted a one-time relief program that extended the filing deadline to Oct. 15.

Congress passed legislation in 2006 that requires all tax-exempt organizations, except churches and religious organizations, to file an informational 990-N return annually with the IRS starting in 2007. Before that legislation, organizations that collected $25,000 or less in a year were not required to file. For the first time those that didn’t file for three consecutive years are at risk of losing their tax-exempt status. That three-year window hit in 2010.

Even though the IRS sent out one million letters to inform these groups of the new regulation, many still didn’t file and are in jeopardy. Wisconsin has an estimated 6,000 small, tax-exempt organizations affected by this legislation. Close to 1,000 organizations In Milwaukee are on the list.

The form is short and takes just a few minutes to fill out. It contains eight questions, such as the employer identification number, name of organization, address, principal officer, etc. It can be found on the IRS website and can be filled out electronically.

Requiring this has given the IRS a means of creating an accurate, updated list of charitable organizations so people can determine whether an organization is tax-exempt and their contribution is deductible.

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