New Form 990-EZ has help icons to aid exempt organizations in filing

By Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.

The IRS has added 29 "help icons" to the PDF version of Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, to help taxpayers complete the form. The help icons, which appear on the form as blue boxes with question marks next to various lines on the form, pop open short IRS explanations and then link to form instructions and other IRS resources.

The icons work on any device with Adobe Acrobat Reader and internet access, the IRS said. Users may have to download the form and open it in Adobe Acrobat Reader, rather than in a web browser, for the help icons to work. The IRS posted the updated version of the form to its website on Monday.

The IRS determined which items to include by reviewing Forms 990-EZ for the most common errors filers make. According to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, "One out of three paper filers has an error on their form." The IRS also cautioned exempt organizations that the help icons do not replace the Form 990-EZ instructions.

Forms 990-EZ are filed by smaller exempt organizations with gross receipts of less than $200,000 and assets of less than $500,000 at the end of the year. The IRS also reminded tax-exempt organizations that Form 990-EZ is due the 15th day of the fifth month after the end of an organization's tax year, which for calendar-year tax-exempt organizations is May 15, 2017.

—Sally P. Schreiber (Sally.Schreiber@aicpa-cima.com) is a JofA senior editor.

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