Quick Review of 990 Filing Responsibilities

With all this talk about the policies inquired about on the Form 990 – I figured I should remind everyone why I have the 990 on the brain.  The Form 990/990-EZ (or a valid request for an extension on Form 8868) is due by the 15th day of the 5th month following the conclusion of an organization’s fiscal year.  For organizations that are calendar year organizations (tax year ending on 12/31), that due date is May 15th and is fast approaching.

Which Form do you have to file?

For the 2011 tax year, the filing thresholds are as follows:

  • The Form 990-N can be filed by organizations whose gross receipts are normally less than $50,000.  Click here for an explanation of what the IRS means by “normally less than $50,000.”  Click here for other questions about filing the 990-N.
  • The Form 990-EZ can be filed by organizations with gross receipts of $200,000 or less, as long as they also have total assets of less than $500,000.
  • The Form 990 is filed by organizations whose gross receipts are greater than $200,000, or whose total assets are greater than $500,000.

Before filing, please remember that the Forms 990/990-EZ are much more than a tax return.  These are public relations documents.  They are widely available for public view on Guidestar.  The majority of the return is not about the organization’s financials – it is about the organization’s activities and overall operations.  These portions should be reviewed to make sure that the organization is putting its best foot forward (while, of course, still describing its activities and operations completely and accurately).

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