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Three Tips to Help You File a More Complete Form 990-Series Return

Tax forms with pen and clips on top of them in the foreground, with a slightly unfocused view of hands typing on a laptop computer in the backgroundA tax-exempt organization using the calendar-year as its tax year must file a Form 990-series return by May 15th, unless it has filed Form 8868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File an Exempt Organization Return.

The IRS suggests organizations consider these three tips to help ensure a complete return and reduce the chances we’ll send your return back or need to request additional information:

Issue 1: Report your organization’s correct organization type. Many organizations report the incorrect organization type in Part I of Schedule A, Public Charity Status and Public Support, which all 501(c)(3) organizations must file with Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Solution: Look at the letter we sent your organization recognizing you as exempt (your “determination” letter) to verify your correct organizational type.

Issue 2: Employment taxes. Many organizations forget to file required employment tax returns, such as Forms W-2, 940, 941 or 945.

Solution: Learn about employment tax filing requirements for exempt organizations. The Employment Issues Course explains how to report employee wages, payments to independent contractors and other reportable payments.

Issue 3: Missing attachments and schedules: Organizations often forget to attach the schedules that may be required of Form 990 or Form 990-EZ filers.

Solution: Carefully review Form 990—Part IV, Checklist of Required Schedules, or Form 990-EZ—Part V, Other Information, and Part  VI, Section 501(c)(3) Organizations Only, to ensure that your organization has completed and attached all required schedules.

The Form 990 Overview Course discusses which forms to file, when they are due, public disclosure of your return and tips to help prepare your Form 990-series return.

Electronic filing can help you file a complete return

Electronic filing provides you with fast acknowledgement that the IRS has received your return. It also reduces normal processing time, making compliance with reporting and disclosure requirements easier. To ensure you are ready to file electronically, check your Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN) to ensure it is active.

In August 2018, EFINs were deactivated (dropped) if the system showed no usage for two years. For some filers, the system erroneously deactivated the account if the only returns filed using the EFIN were Form 990 series returns. Log into your existing IRS e-File application to check your EFIN status. If the status is not listed as “Active,” you will need to reapply for a new EFIN by choosing the “Reapply” link on the “Application Details” page. If you encounter any problems when reapplying, you may contact the e-help Desk on 1-866-255-0654.

Reprinted from EO Update, May 6, 2019.

Topics: IRS Form 990 Form 990 IRS 990 IRS regulations E-filing IRS Form 990 IRS Form 990-EZ Grant Applicants