Taxpayers know the date when personal tax returns are due each year: April 15. Partnerships, sole proprietorships, S corporations, and other legal structures are also bound to the normal tax day deadline.

But for nonprofits, the rules are different.

In fact, different nonprofits will file at different times of the year depending on when their fiscal year ends. For that reason, there’s not one simple answer—it depends on your nonprofit and how your fiscal year is structured. This is an added benefit the Internal Revenue Service allows nonprofits to assist them in managing their funds in the best way for each individual organization.

The easiest way to know your 990 filing deadline is this: for Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF, the filing deadline is the 15thday of the fifth month, after the end of your fiscal year.

For a nonprofit working on a calendar year that files Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF, the deadline is May 15th of the following year.

Many nonprofits end their fiscal year in June, making for a filing deadline on the 15th of November. When your fiscal year ends will depend on many factors that are unique to your organization. Some factors that contribute to when your organization ends its fiscal year could be:

· grant cycles
· programmatic year
· audit evidence
· debt covenants

For example, if the grants that fund your programs have specific deadlines and begin and end at the same time each year, it may make your 990 filing easier if your fiscal year aligns with the grant cycle.

Why Would a Nonprofit Change its Fiscal Year-End?

While most nonprofits may align their year-end with the calendar or with a June 30th year-end, there are many reasons why a fiscal year might be changed to suit an individual nonprofit organization.

If your nonprofit’s fundraising focus is zeroed in on key programs like an annual fundraising event, filing your 990 paperwork in an off month could be advantageous. For example, if your primary event is held in late May, changing your fiscal year-end to July 31 could be the key to maximizing December through February fundraising efforts while also allowing for fees and payments related to the fundraiser to be closed out in June and July. This programmatic switch could maximize your donations and expenditures in the same year.

Where do I get help with filing my Form 990?

Tax preparers can be bogged down during tax season–that’s a known fact. They can also change premiums for last-minute filings that stretch their capabilities. That’s why non-profit tax software like File990can be more valuable than you can imagine. It’s there for you when you need it, regardless of your fiscal end and filing deadline. File990 can also manage the complexities of nonprofits with multiple chapters, and multiple deadlines. They can take care of sending reminders for you, so that a tax a deadline is never missed.

If you have questions, get in touch with File 990 here.
Or get started e-filing your non-profit tax forms with us today.

What if I Need a Filing Extension?

Although no one plans to fail to file their non-profit organization’s taxes on time, let’s face it—it happens. Requesting an automatic six-month extension of time to file a Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF is as simple as filing Form 8868. However, you cannot request an extension of Form 990-N, or the e-Postcard. There are no penalties for filing the e-Postcard late unless it’s the third, (and only) year. Questions? File990 can help you get back on track.

How to Stay in Good Standing

It’s a mistake to think that just because you’re not paying taxes for your non-profit organization you don’t have to file taxes for your nonprofit. Form 990 is a public document, and it’s also a way that donors and granters can evaluate the health of a 501(c)(3). Having your 990 return posted on your website and easily accessible to donors is a sign of your organization’s diligence and fiscal health. However, if your nonprofit has never filed, you can call the IRS Exempt Organizations Hotline at 1-877-829-5500 to determine your next steps.

From there, you’ll need to establish your small charity as a non-profit organization, so that you can file an e-Postcard or seek software help for guidance and instruction. If a non-profit organization fails to file an exempt organization annual return, it may be subject to penalties. In addition, an organization that fails to file the required return or electronic notice for three consecutive tax years will automatically lose its tax-exempt status.
Avoiding penalties is critical to the health of your nonprofit. If your organization can’t provide proper documentation regarding its reason for a late filing, you can be fined up to $20 per day for each day your filing is late, with a maximum penalty of $10,000 or five percent of the organization’s gross receipts, whichever is less. If you’re a larger organization with receipts over $1,000,000, the penalty can increase to $100 per day.
Remember, any 501(c)(3) that fails to file taxes for three consecutive years will automatically lose its non-profit status.

If you have questions, get in touch with File 990 here.
Or get started e-filing your nonprofit tax forms with us today.

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