Form 990 FAQs


Are all nonprofit charitable organizations required to file a tax return?

Yes, all charitable organizations must file a form 990 informational tax return with the IRS.  If your organization does not have any income or expenses, the organization still must file a form 990. 

If your organization has not yet been approved as a 501c3 tax exempt organization, you are still required to file a form 990 tax return.  You must indicate on the tax return that the 501c3 status is pending IRS approval.


Which tax return should the 501c3 or tax exempt organization file?

Your organization must file one of the versions of the form 990 (Form 990-N, Form 990EZ, Form 990 or Form 990PF).  The form that your organization files depends primarily on the gross revenues of the organization.

  • Form 990N – Organizations with gross revenues $50,000 or less.
  • Form 990EZ – Organizations with gross revenues greater than $50,000 and less than $200,000; also, total assets must be less than $500,000 to be eligible to file form 990EZ.
  • Form 990 – Organization with gross revenues $200,000 or greater; or total assets which are $500,000 or greater.
  • Form 990PF – Private foundations only.

Note:  The organization’s form 990 tax return must be filed totally separately from the founder’s personal tax return.


Is there a deadline for filing the annual tax return?

Yes, there is a deadline for filing.  The organization’s tax year end is used to determine the organization’s filing deadline.  The deadline for filing the annual form 990 is the 15th day of the fifth month following the organization’s fiscal year end.

For instance, most organizations will have a year end of December 31st.  As a result, the deadline for these organizations to file form 990 is May 15th of the following year.  On the other hand, if the organization’s year end was July 31st, the tax return would be due by December 15th

If you are not sure of your tax year end, you can check the 501c3 application submitted to the IRS when applying for 501c3 status. 


If I cannot meet the tax deadline, can I file for an extension?

Yes, you can file for an extension of time to file the form 990.  The 1st extension is required to be filed with the IRS prior to the tax filing deadline.  This 1st extension is usually automatically granted without providing a reason to the IRS.  This 1st extension gives you an additional 3 months to file the form 990.

You can apply for a 2nd extension also.  This 2nd extension is not automatic and requires that you provide the IRS with a reason why you need a 2nd extension.


Will the IRS penalize my organization for late or no filing?

Yes, you will be penalized by the IRS if your organization fails to file a form 990 or files the return late.  You will incur penalties and interest and you should expect to incur penalties of approximately $20 per day until the form 990 is filed.

When a tax exempt organization fails to file the annual form 990 for 3 consecutive years, the IRS automatically revokes the organization’s tax exempt status.  The IRS database currently shows approximately 600,000 organizations which have had their 501c3 status revoked. 

If your 501c3 status is revoked for failure to file the form 990s, you will have to be go back through the 501c3 application and approval process to have the tax exempt status reinstated. 


What financial records do I need to have in order to prepare the form 990?

To have your form 990 properly prepared and filed, you will need a profit and loss statement and balance sheet.  Alternatively, you will need the following:

  • Itemized list of cash and noncash donations
  • Revenues and income categorized as grants, contributions, dues, sales of merchandise, etc.
  • Donations by board of director members
  • Itemized list of expenses
  • Itemized list of assets purchased


Other than financial information, what other information is needed for the 990 preparation?

You will need the following:

  • Board of directors names, addresses and working hours
  • Mailing address of the organization
  • Organization’s purpose and accomplishments
  • Address of contributors who donated greater than $5,000 to the organization


Who can assist me with my form 990 tax return?

The team at Floyd Green CPA can prepare and file your form 990 informational tax returns.  We can also answer all of your questions regarding the form 990.  You can call us at 877-457-2550 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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