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Tax Deadlines Can Be Taxing
By Brian J. Wagner
NAPS Immediate Past President
My column in the February issue addressed the IRS’ new online filing process for branches seeking nonprofit/tax-exempt status. However, I avoided the idea of marching into March with the madness of another branch-related tax article or showering you in April with the same.
Therefore, I figured May would be a good time to sound the May-Day alarm regarding the timely filing of 990-tax returns for those NAPS branches officially designated as a nonprofit/tax-exempt organization. Here’s the scoop:
The deadline for all nonprofit/tax-exempt NAPS branches to file their IRS Form 990 tax return is on or before the 15th day of the fifth month after the close of their fiscal year (FY). For example, if a branch has a calendar fiscal year (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31), their respective 990 must be filed on or before May 15 of the new year.
Sound the May Day, nonprofit tax-filing alarm as May 15 is just around the corner at the time of this writing. However, if a branch’s FY does not end on Dec. 31, then it’s best to get a calendar out and count the 15th day of the fifth month from the close of the branch’s FY. For example, if a branch’s FY ends on May 31, the 990 nonprofit tax filing deadline is on or before Oct. 15 of that same year.
Please note, depending on how much income a branch receives during its fiscal year, there are three different versions of the 990 a branch may be required to file. For NAPS branches having less than $50,000 of annual income (membership dues, capital gains, interest income, etc.) the correct filing is an Form 990-N (ePostcard).
The ePostcard is filed online only. Once the branch has registered on the IRS website—www.irs.gov—it only should take the branch officer approximately 10 minutes to complete the ePostcard. A PowerPoint presentation on the NAPS website at www.naps.org, under the “Training” tab, provides guidance on completing the ePostcard.
If a branch’s annual fiscal year income is at least $50,000, but less than $200,000, the branch files a 990-EZ. NAPS branches with annual income over $200,000 must file the standard 990. Unlike the online ePostcard, the 990-EZ and standard 990 are manual forms mailed to the IRS.
However, if the branch is willing to pay a fee, they may seek a tax professional who can electronically file the respective 990-EZ or standard 990 for the branch. For the record, NAPS Headquarters files a standard 990 via the company that conducts NAPS’ annual audit.
With all this tax talk, don’t let the filing of an IRS 990-N, 990-EZ or 990 drive you crazy. The reality for most local and state branches is their annual income is under the $50,000 threshold. Therefore, filing the 990-N (ePostcard) is very simple.
I have assisted many local, state and auxiliary branches with their ePostcard filings and haven’t lost my mind, yet. Except, when there is no celebratory ice cream after completing the 990-N filing. Just joking.
However, it’s no joke that this tax-related column is important in protecting branch finances in accordance with a branch’s respective Constitution and Bylaws and IRS rules. Although this column is for information purposes only, if a branch has any questions related to filing a 990-N (ePostcard) tax return, review the branch tax training material on the NAPS website or contact me or a local tax professional.
Until then, don’t forget the old adage, “There are two things certain in life—well, let’s make that three—Death, taxes and my ice-cream-fla-vor-of-the-month recommendation: death by chocolate.