Automatic Revocation of Tax-Exempt Status to Start Monday

Monday, May 17, is the deadline for calendar-year tax-exempt organizations to file a Form 990 for 2009. It also marks the third filing deadline under the mandatory filing requirement instituted by the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PL 109-280).


Under the terms of that mandatory filing requirement, tax-exempt organizations that fail to file an information return in the Form 990 series for three consecutive years automatically lose their tax-exempt status (IRC § 6033(j)). Therefore, Monday marks the day when any organizations that have not filed for 2007, 2008 and 2009 will lose their exempt status. If an organization loses its exemption, it will have to reapply with the IRS to regain its tax-exempt status. Any income received between the revocation date and renewed exemption may be taxable.

Generally, tax-exempt organizations are required to file either a Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, or the shorter Form 990-EZ annually. However, the Pension Protection Act introduced a new notification requirement for small tax-exempt organizations that are not required to file an annual Form 990 or Form 990-EZ. Organizations with annual gross receipts that are normally $25,000 or less must file an e-postcard (Form 990-N, Electronic Notice (e-Postcard) for Tax-Exempt Organizations Not Required to File Form 990 or 990-EZ).


Form 990 series information returns are due on the fifteenth day of the fifth month after an organization’s fiscal year-end. Organizations can request an extension of their filing date by filing Form 8868, Application for Extension of Time To File an Exempt Organization Return, by the original due date. This year, the due date for calendar-year organizations is May 17 because May 15 falls on a Saturday.


The IRS cautions organizations that it has no discretion in this matter—the revocation of exempt status is automatic. The IRS has also said that it will make available a list of revoked organizations on its website (IR-2010-59).



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