IRS 990-N down until January 6 2017

The IRS has announced that their Form 990-N, the ePostcard, online filing system will be will be down from December 26, 2016 at 11:59 a.m. until January 6, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. EST due to an annual planned maintenance.

The IRS apologizes for any inconvenience.

The Form 990-N is due 4 1/2 months after the end of your organization’s fiscal year. Many homeschool groups have fiscal years that end on June 30 or July 31, so their 990-Ns were due November 15 and December 15, respectively.


Don’t know what I’m talking about or what an Form 990-N is? Read my 990-N FAQ page.

What’s a 990-N?

Since 2010, the IRS has required all nonprofit organizations file an annual information return. (All means all except churches) The IRS Form 990-N is a simple, online form that all nonprofit organizations with annual gross revenues of less than $50,000 must file every year. That means your homeschool group (unless you are under the ministry of a church).


 

If you are uncertain about your homeschool organizations tax exempt status, please contact me  for a private phone consultation.

My book The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization will also explain your options to become tax exempt and the required reports for tax exempt organizations.

 

 

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA increased my fees, but you’ll get more!

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I don’t do this often, but I recently increased some of my fees.

My popular phone consultation fee is the same at $60/hour.

My fee preparing the IRS Form 1023-EZ application for 501(c)(3) status for small organizations has increased from $150 to $250.

But starting July 1, 2016 the IRS fee for Form 1023-EZ drops from $400 to $275, so overall your total fee will be less than before. Gotta like that.

Additionally, I used to charge separately for reviewing your Articles of Incorporation  for compliance with the IRS 501(c)(3) rules. Now that will be included in the $250 fee.

And I will also include a letter explaining what your state filing requirements will be for your newly formed 501(c)(3) organization. I used to charge separately for that as well, but it’s now included.

So, your homeschool group can apply for 501(c)(3) status (or get reinstated if your tax exempt status was revoked because you failed to file the annual Form 990-Ns) for less money and get more services!

What’s not to like about that?

Helping homeschool leaders,

 

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

 

 

 

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Trouble filing your 990-N?

Having Trouble Filing 990-Ns?

Some non-profit organizations have reported trouble trying to file the 990-N ePostcard using the new IRS system.

If you’re using Google Chrome or Firefox, try using Internet Explorer (IE) to see if that helps.  I know that IE is old-fashioned, but it seems to work.

By the way, if your organization operates on a calendar year (with your year ending December 31), then you Form 990-N is typically due May 15. Since May 15 is a Sunday the IRS has extended the due date for the 990-N to Monday, May 16, 2016.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

 

New website for filing IRS Annual ePostcard Form 990-N

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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is changing the website to file the Form 990-N. The Form 990-N used to be hosted by the Urban Institute, but starting February 29, 2016, the IRS will host the Form 990-N submission website.

The new website is www.IRS.gov/990N

The Form 990-N is a short,  annual filing that small (those normally with annual gross receipts up to $50,000) tax-exempt organizations file in place of the lengthier Form 990-EZ or Form 990. In order to file the Form 990-N, all nonprofits will be required to complete a one-time registration and file Form 990-N submissions through the IRS’s website at www.IRS.gov/990N.

Who must file
Most small tax-exempt organizations whose annual gross receipts are normally $50,000 or less can satisfy their annual reporting requirement by electronically submitting Form 990-N if they choose not to file Form 990 or Form 990-EZ instead.

Exceptions to this requirement include:

Form 990-N is easy to complete. You’ll need only eight items of basic information about your organization.

IRS reports your homeschool group needs to file every year

IRS reports for homeschool groups

Your homeschool group should be filing some reports every year with the IRS. Did you know that?

Carol Topp, the HomeschoolCPA, explains what forms homeschool groups should be filing with the IRS in this episode of the Dollars and Sense Show podcast.

Listen to the podcast here

In the podcast, Carol answers common questions from homeschool leaders such as:

  • We were told if our income is under $25,000 a year, we don’t have to file anything with the IRS. Is that true?
  • What changed? We never had to file anything with the IRS before!
  • But we’re not a 501c3 organizations (or don’t want to be), so why do we need to file anything with the IRS?
  • We don’t like government intervention. Why do we need to have anything to do with the IRS?
  • Our homeschool group doesn’t make any profit, so why do we have to file a tax return?
  • We’ve never filed anything with the IRS? We didn’t know we had to! Now what? Will be owe back taxes?

Here’s a helpful FAQ page explaining the IRS Form 990-N.

How to get added to the IRS database to file the Form 990-N.

If all this is new to you, don’t panic!

We can arrange a phone consultation with your homeschool leaders. Together we can sort out what needs to be done.

Contact me here.

Carol Topp, CPA

 

How to get added to the IRS database and file the Form 990N

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Carol,
We’re a newly organized homeschool support group. Is there anything we need to do with the IRS to establish ourselves as a 501c7 social club, or do we just need to get our EIN and start filing the 990N?

Thanks again! I really appreciate your help. 🙂

Melissa

 

After you get your EIN (Employer Identification Number), you won’t be able to file the 990Ns just yet.

Since you have not applied on paper for 501(c)(7) status  (you can “self declare” 501c7 status and don’t have to file the paperwork), you are not in the IRS database (yet), so you need to call the IRS Customer Account Services at 1-877-829-5500 and be added to their database so you can begin filing the Form 990Ns.

It typically takes 6 weeks after you call to be added to the IRS database.

Say something like this,

“We’re a brand new 501c7 Social Club and my CPA said I needed to get added to the IRS exempt organization database, so we could start filing the 990Ns.”


Or if your homeschool group has an educational purpose, you’re most likely a 501c3 tax exempt organization. Read about the difference between 501c7 Social clubs and 501c3 organizations. In that case, you’ll say:

“We’re a brand new 501c3 educational organization and my CPA said I needed to get added to the IRS exempt organization database so we could start filing our 990-Ns.”

**Note that only 501c3 organizations with less than $5,000 annual gross revenues can “self-declare” their tax exempt status. 501c3s with more than $5,000/year in revenues must apply for 501c3 status using Form 1023 or the new, shorter Form 1023-EZ.


They will ask for your EIN and organization’s name, address, and probably a contact name.

They may also ask what date your fiscal year ends. Many support groups operate on a calendar year, but some operate on a school year with a year end of June 30 or July 31. Look at the form you filed when you applied for your EIN to see what you chose as your fiscal year end.

They may ask if you have “organizing documents.” They mean bylaws or Articles of Association (or Articles of Incorporation). So tell them if you have bylaws or Articles of Association/Articles of Incorporation. Samples can be found here.

Finally, if they tell you you must file a Form 1024 to obtain 501(c)(7) tax exempt status, tell them (with confidence) your CPA informed you that you can “self declare” tax exempt status as a social club and do not have to file the Form 1024.

Call the IRS early in the morning. They open at 8 am ET and you can usually get through pretty quickly of you call then, Record the date you call, the IRS employee name and their identification number.

Be sure you go online to file the Form 990N anytime after your fiscal year ends and before its due date which is 4 1/2 months after the end of your fiscal year. So if you operate on a calendar year, the 990N is due May 15.

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Do You Know About IRS Required Filings for Homeschool Groups?

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Homeschool leaders frequently wonder, “Is my group supposed to be paying taxes to the IRS?” They ask if there is anything they should be reporting to the IRS, if so what and when.

Homeschool Contact With The IRS
There are several situations when a homeschool organization will be in contact with the IRS:

1. Your homeschool group opens a checking account and needs a tax identification number.

Usually, the first contact a homeschool organization has with the IRS is getting an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Most banks now request an EIN when a group opens a checking account. An EIN is similar to a Social Security Number for a business or nonprofit organization. They are available from the IRS at no charge at www.IRS.gov. Search for Form SS-4, the application for an EIN.

2. Your homeschool group pays a worker.

Your worker may be an independent contractor or an employee. Either way, there are forms to file with the IRS at the end of the calendar year (typically a 1099MISC or W-2, respectively). Additionally, there are employer taxes, such as Social Security or Medicare taxes, to pay in addition to employee wages. My books Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization and Money Management in a Homeschool Organization will walk you through the details of hiring and paying workers.

3. Your group makes money from fund raisers, selling T-shirts and other merchandise, or selling advertising on your website.

Homeschool groups often make money from activities not related to homeschooling. The IRS calls income from these activities “unrelated business income (UBI)” and will tax the profit from these activities. Usually homeschool groups avoid the UBI tax by using one of the IRS exemptions which include using all volunteer labor, selling donated merchandise or having unrelated business income of less than $1,000 annually.

4. Your homeschool co-op brings in income of more than $5,000 in a year.

If your co-op’s gross revenues are more than $5,000 a year, your organization should file an application (Form 1023 or the new, shorter Form 1023-EZ) with the IRS for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. Approval of tax exempt status by the IRS means that your co-op will not pay income tax on its financial surplus. Your organization is also eligible to receive tax deductible donations and may participate in fundraisers only open to 501(c)(3) organizations, such as Box Tops for Education.

If your organization’s gross revenues are under $5,000 a year, you are granted an exception from filing the application paperwork for 501(c)(3) status. You can “self-declare” your tax exempt status without applying. But you will still have annual reporting requirements, the Form 990N (see below).

5. Your homeschool support group wishes to avoid taxes on their surplus.

If your homeschool organization is a support group, then you may be eligible for tax exempt status as a 501(c)(7) social club with the IRS. Social clubs can “self-declare” tax exempt status but some file an application (Form 1024) with the IRS. Read more about eligibility for 501(c)(7) social club status at HomeschoolCPA.com/SocialClub. Even if you self-declare tax exempt status for your support group, the IRS still requires an annual report (see below).

New IRS Filing Requirement for All Nonprofit Organizations

As of 2006, the IRS requires all nonprofit organizations (except churches) to begin filing an annual information return called a Form 990/990EZ or 990N, even if they have not yet applied for tax exempt status or are eligible to self-declare tax exempt status. The short, online Form 990N is for nonprofit organizations with annual gross revenues under $50,000. It is a very simple online form with only six questions. No financial information is given.

A. Calendar year or tax year dates
B. Check if gross revenue is $50,000 or less
C. Name and address of the organization
D. Employer Identification Number (EIN)
E. Website
F. One officer’s name and address

The Form 990N is filed online at Epostcard.form990.org and is due due 4 1/2 months after the end of your fiscal year (May 15 for groups that run on a calendar year).

Your organization may have difficulty in filing the Form 990N if you have not applied for tax exempt status. You will have to call the IRS Customer Account Services at 1-877-829-5500 and ask to be added to their exempt organizations database so you can begin filing the Form 990Ns. It typically takes 6 weeks to be added to the IRS database.

 

What Happens if Your Organization Doesn’t File the Form 990N?

There is no financial penalty for late filing, but failure to file the Form 990N for three consecutive years means automatic revocation of tax exempt status. Lately, I have helped several homeschool organizations that did not file their 990Ns for several years (most did not know about the requirement) and had their tax exempt status automatically revoked.

If all this seems confusing or overwhelming, please visit HomeschoolCPA.com. On the blog page, type “990N” into the search box and read the blog posts about this IRS filing requirement.  Additionally, my book The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization can give you details on applying for tax exempt status.

 

Carol Topp, CPA is an author, accountant and retired homeschool mom. She is the author of Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out, The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization and Money Management in a Homeschool Organization: A Guide for Treasurers. She shares her experience as a CPA, homeschool mom and co-op treasurer in her books, at homeschool conventions and on her podcast DollarsAndSenseShow.com. Carol offers consulting services to homeschool leaders. Contact her on her website HomeschooCPA.com.

 

Please share! You have permission and are encouraged to share this article in full on your websites, blogs, publications and via email. I do ask that your share the full article (no deletions) and credit me as author, include a link to HomeschoolCPA.com and include my biography at the end of the article. Thank you!

File 990N for prior years

Did you miss filing your IRS Annual report, the Form 990N in prior years?

Here are a few online services that let your file prior year 990Ns.

 

990N Providers

 

Here’s a full list of IRS approved providers for the Form 990N.

Do not use these services for your current Form 990N.

The current Form 990N is filed for no charge at http://irs.gov/990n

 

Remember, tax exempt organizations must file the Form 990, 990EZ or 990-N with the IRS every year. Failure to file for 3 consecutive years will mean your tax exempt status will be automatically revoked.

If you believe your tax exempt status was revoked, I can help your organization get reinstated. Contact me.

Carol Topp, CPA

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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

How come we never had to file anything with the IRS before?

Dear homeschool leader,

Did you just hear the shocking news that all nonprofit organizations have to start filing annual returns with the IRS?

You may be wondering, “What changed? We never had to file anything before!” And you’d be right.

For many years the IRS had a problem: nonprofit organizations were not giving them annual information returns (Form 990EZ or Form 990). The IRS let small organizations (under $25,000 per year was considered small) get by without doing any annual filings, but the IRS couldn’t tell if an organization failed to file an annual return because

  1. The organization had died or
  2. The organization had less than $25,000 in income and wasn’t required to file a return or
  3. The organization was large and just not filing a return with the IRS. IOW, they were not playing nice and the IRS didn’t like that!

The IRS found some nonprofits are not following the rules and (gasp!) complained to Congress.

Congress passes the Pension Protection Act in 2006.

Photo credit: kakisky from morguefile.com

So the IRS got Congress to pass the Pension Protection Act in 2006. It required two things from nonprofits:

1. All small organizations (revenues of less than $25,000 per year) had to start filing an electronic form to the IRS every year. What the IRS called the 990N or their “e-postcard.”

and

2. All tax-exempt organizations that didn’t file an information return for three consecutive years will automatically lose their tax-exempt status. I call it the “3 strikes and you’re out” rule.

 

So here’s the timeline:

2006: Pension Protection Act requires annual electronic notice from all small nonprofits.
2007, 2008, 2009 were the first years that the annual notification requirement was in place.
2010: The first automatic revocations take place. The “3 strikes, you’re out” rule.

Word about the new required annual filing has been slow to get out. After all the IRS doesn’t have a big marketing budget. They sent letters, created press releases and even created a YouTube video, but a lot of small nonprofits were still in the dark.

Slowly, a lot of small organizations learned that their tax exempt status had been revoked and they didn’t even know about it! I guess the IRS got an earful of complaints because they (finally) created a system where small nonprofits could get their tax exempt status reinstated.

IRS created a “streamlined” reinstatement process for nonprofits

The process is outlined in IRS Revenue Procedure 2014-11 that came out in January 2014. Yes, that’s 2014. Eight years after the whole reporting requirement was enacted by Congress. We never claimed the IRS was speedy, did we?

The IRS loves paper and so the Rev Proc 2014-11 requires nonprofits to send the IRS a lot of paper. They have to file the rather long Application for Tax Exemption (Form 1023 or 1024) and probably file their annual information returns (Form 990) way back to 2008.

I’m not quite sure what’s streamlined about this, but I guess to a turtle, a snail is speedy!

So that’s why you are wondering if the IRS has some sort of new reporting requirement. It’s not really new, it’s 8 years old, but maybe you’re just now hearing about it.

What to do now

  • Brush up on the Form 990N and start filing it now!
  • Search the IRS list of revoked organizations to see if your nonprofit is listed there.
  • Read Rev Proc 2014-11 if you like reading IRS jargon to see what paperwork you need to file with the IRS to get your tax exempt status reinstated.
  • Or better yet, arrange a phone call to talk over your situation with me, HomeschoolCPA, Carol Topp. I’m pretty good at understanding homeschool organizations and can help you know where you stand with the IRS and what to do next.

Thanks to Peter B. Nagel over at  http://www.cobar.org/index.cfm/ID/20108/subID/26452/CORP for providing the history of the IRS rules.

Carol Topp, CPA