What You Can do if Your IRS Form 990 is Filed Late

We have not filed our IRS Form 990 and its going to be late. What can we do?

All three returns — Form 990, Form 990-EZ and Form 990— are due by the 15th day of the 5th month after your organization's accounting period ends. When your organization was setup you selected a fiscal or calendar tax year. For example, if your organization selected a calendar tax year, the filing deadline is May 15.

If you think you may be late, it's important to file an extension. IRS Form 8868, Application for Extension of Time to File and Exempt Organization Return, may be used to request an automatic 90-day extension of time to file IRS Forms 990 or 990-EZ. If you need more time, provide the IRS with a reason before the expiration of your first filing; the second extension is not automatic, but may be granted at the discretion of the IRS if it determines reasonable cause exists. However, in no event will the IRS provide an extension exceeding 6-months.

What if I forget to file an extension and our 990 is filed late?

For most 990-filers, the penalty for late filings is $20 for each day a return is overdue. Total penalties for a late-filed return can reach up to the lesser of $10,000 or 5 percent of the filer's gross receipts for the tax year. But, if your annual gross receipts exceed one-million dollars, the penalty is $100.00 per day that the return is overdue, with a maximum penalty of $50,000 per return.

Remember, as long as you file a timely extension request, you will not be accessed a late penalty. However, if all else fails, don't despair - contact an experienced non-profit tax attorney. You may yet avoid penalties depending on the reasons for not filing in a timely manner.

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