Can’t we just call the IRS and get on the list to file Form 990Ns?

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My leadership team is freaking out. We are one of those groups in the 990N discussion. We got our EIN in June 2010 and opened a checking account in December 2010. We always have under $5,000 pass through our books every year.

We have never called the IRS to be added to the 990N list because of lack of knowledge. You mentioned at the homeschool convention in Cincinnati fixing this problem by filing 20-some odd-pages to be reinstated.

Since we have never called to be on the list in the first place could it be, I pray, as simple for us to just call and get on the list and start filing the 990N form?

Sorry this has upset your leadership team.

Wouldn’t have been nice if the IRS had made it easier to comply when you learn about the 990N?

But unfortunately, they revoked your status automatically after 3 years of failing to file the Form 990N, even though you never officially applied.

Then to make things worse, the IRS requires you to file the 26 page Form 1023 to get reinstated, even though you never had to file that  application form in the first place (because your gross income is under $5,000/year).

Here’s my flowchart of the process to get tax exempt status reinstated.

This has made a lot of work for the IRS and they were back logged to begin with!

Fortunately, the IRS is considering a Form 1023EZ which is only 2-3 pages and a lot simpler to fill out than the longer 26-page Form 1023. They hope to have the Form 1023EZ ready by the summer of 2014.

But I wouldn’t hold my breath. The IRS has received some negative feedback  about their proposed Form 1023EZ, saying it is too simple! I agree that it does not go far enough in helping the IRS separate legitimate nonprofits from scammers. I doubt the Form 1023EZ will be ready by this summer.

But maybe you can wait until the fall and the IRS might have a Form 1023EZ by then.

I find that each homeschool group is unique. Some have to go though the IRS process, some are within the time frame and can get tax exemption reinstated easily. I do provide a phone consultation to help organizations figure out what is best for them.

Contact me to arrange a phone call and give your leadership team some peace of mind.

Carol Topp, CPA

Comments

  1. Carol,

    My organization is in an identical situation. What would happen if I were to call the IRS, have them enable my EIN to file a 990-N (we’re under $5k/year in gross receipts), and then file a 990-N at the end of the year? Perhaps they would flag my e-postcard since we have never filed one, but the EIN has existed for many years? Would they follow-up? Can my org apply for a new EIN?

  2. Carol Topp says:

    Since your organization has existed for many years, but has not filed any annual information returns (990/990EZ, 990-N), the IRS will look back and revoke your tax exempt status. You will need to apply for tax exempt status, even though you never had to before. 🙁

    Your current organization could dissolve and some of your leaders could form a new organization with a new name and new EIN. But the former head of the IRS Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner has said,

    “I don’t know if it’s purposeful, but I do know that it’s important for people to understand getting a new EIN is not the answer. It’s like getting a Social Security number, they’re very easy to get. You can get one, we’ll enter it in our system but when we actually start looking and you’ve got two EINs, and one of them is revoked, unless you came back in, the other is not going to be legitimate in terms of your status. So keep that in mind.”

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