With the filing deadline just around the corner, here are some important updates on IRS processing of and access to annual reporting forms.
- Processing inaccurate Form 990 series returns. The IRS has announced that it will return form 990 or 990 EZ if it is incomplete or if you filed the wrong return. If you file an incomplete or inaccurate return, they will send you one of 3 letters outlining that the return is incomplete. You will have 10 days from the date on the notice to file the return and provide a reasonable cause explanation of why the return was inaccurate or incomplete.
- IRS provides new tool or access to information on tax-exempt organizations. The IRS has introduced a new online tool to provide easier access to information available on tax-exempt organizations. It is called Tax Exempt Organization Search and will replace the EO Select Check that focused primarily on information regarding the organizations tax-exempt status. The new tool will provide images of newly filed 990 forms and is mobile friendly, so people can use it on mobile devices.
- Filing deadline is May 15 for calendar year organizations. If you are a calendar year organization, your form 990 series return is due by Tuesday, May 15, 2018. If you cannot complete the return by then you cannot attain a six-month extension using form 8868. The request for extension, however, must be filed no later than and postmarked no later than May 15. Also, the IRS reminds organizations not to include Social Security numbers or personal data in their filings.
These changes make it more important that you tell the best story you can about your activities, and that you do a careful review of the form. If you are pressed for time, we recommend that you file for an extension of time and take the time to review it carefully.
Remember also that the form 990 provides you with an opportunity to tell your story to funders and the public. Use the form as much as possible to tell others about the good work you are doing. People will be able to more easily search for your form 990.