The IRS announced today the release of an updated Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, that will help tax-exempt organizations avoid common mistakes when filing their annual return.

The new version of Form 990-EZ includes 29 “help” icons describing key information needed to complete many of the fields within the form. The icons also provide links to additional helpful information available on IRS.gov. These “pop-up” boxes share information to help small and mid-size exempt organizations avoid common mistakes when filling out the form and filing their return.

As a reminder, there are three different versions of Form 990 and virtually all nonprofit organizations (churches being a notable exception) are required to file the applicable version, depending on the organization’s assets and annual revenue.  Exempt organizations with less than $500,000 in assets and between $50,000 and $200,000 in annual receipts should file Form 990-EZ.  Smaller nonprofits with under $50,000 in annual revenue are eligible to file the shorter, simpler Form 990-N (also known as the e-postcard because it is filed electronically and takes a about as much time to complete as writing a postcard).

Also, don’t forget the deadline for filing Form 990 is the 15th day of the fifth month after an organization’s tax year end (i.e., May 15 for calendar-year organizations).  Not to end on a negative note, but also remember that an exempt organization neglecting to file Form 990 for three consecutive years automatically loses its tax-exempt status.  Mark your calendars!

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