The IRS blitzed the media in the past week about getting the 990 (particularly the on-line 990N) filed by the May 17 deadline.  Dire consequences of losing your §501(c)(3) status have been promised.

The IRS 990N website was clogged for the few days before, and the day of, the deadline.  If you couldn’t get online during that time, or if you forgot, entirely, or if you were living under a rock for the past few weeks, all is not lost.  Here are a few tips to protect your nonprofits exempt status:

1.  File NOW.  Do it.  Really – right now!  Don’t read any further in this post, just click on the link below and submit the 990N (if you qualify – only nonprofits earning less than $25K per year are eligible to file the 990N).   File even if you are late – as long as the IRS website will accept your information, you aren’t too late (you might get a letter assessing penalties for late filing, but that’s better than losing exempt status).

IRS 990N Portal

2.  Did you do it?  GoodNow – make sure all your other reporting requirements are current.  In Indiana, there is an NP-20 form that also is required by May 17, this year.  Here’s a link:

Indiana NP-20

3.  Monitor your status.  The IRS has a searchable database of all current exempt corporations.  You can access it, here:

Search for Charities

4.  Also, you can check out the IRS list of recent exempt status revocations.  Search here to see whether your nonprofit is listed:

IRS Recent Revocations

5.  Check your mailbox! The IRS may send you a notice of revocation of exempt status.  Many nonprofits don’t regularly check their PO Box (if they have one), or they don’t know what address is on the “official records.”  If you have an incorrect address on record, change it – but monitor both the old and new addresses for correspondence from the IRS.

Form 8822 Change of Address (PDF file)

6.  Follow up promptly.  If you learn that your nonprofit has lost its exempt status, take action immediately.  The sooner you respond, the less hassle you will endure to get reinstated.  However, if you find that your organization is outside an “appeal” window, you will have to start over to apply for IRS exemption.

While there is no guarantee that these tips will keep a delinquent nonprofit from losing tax exempt status, prompt action following this path should give you the best chance to save your nonprofit from the “List of Lost Exemptions.”

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