IRS Announces Two Month Suspension of IRS Modernized e-File Operations for 990 Filers
In order to facilitate systems and programming changes, the IRS today notified tax-exempt organizations that the IRS Modernized e-file (MEF) system will not be available from January 1, 2012 through February 29, 2012 for electronic filing of Forms 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF and 1120-POL information returns. The IRS is suspending the availability of the system to implement changes to IRS programs and systems for the 2011 tax year. The 990-N e-Postcard filing system will not be affected by the temporary suspension of the MeF system
To minimize the impact on affected organizations, the IRS is granting an extension of time to file to March 30, 2012 to organizations whose due date or first extended due date for returns is January 17, 2012 or February 15, 2012. Affected organizations required to file electronically may file electronically prior to January 1, 2012 or between March 1, 2012 and March 30, 2012. Organizations that are not required to file electronically may do the same and, alternatively, may file a paper return anytime before March 30, 2012. In addition, as described in Notice 2012-4, certain affected organizations normally required to file electronically will have the option to file a paper return during the suspension period.
An affected organization that has not previously received an extension and wishes to extend its filing due date until after March 30, 2012 may request an automatic 3-month extension by filing Form 8868, Extension of Time to File an Exempt Organization Return, by its original due date. If an affected organization has already obtained an automatic 3-month extension, the IRS will grant the organization an additional 3-month extension if the organization properly completes and files Form 8868 by its first extended due date. Organizations that have already been granted two extensions for a total of six months may not request a further extension.
Organizations are reminded that an extension of the time to file, including the automatic extension to March 30, 2012 provided in the Announcement, is not an extension of time to pay any tax liabilities that may be due for the year.
Organizations with a filing due date (or first extended due date) between January 1, 2012 and February 29, 2012 that file their returns by March 30, 2012 will be considered to have timely filed. In the case of an organization with a second extended due date that falls during the suspension period, the organization will have reasonable cause for late filing and will not be subject to the late filing penalties if it files by March 30, 2012. The organization should attach a Reasonable Cause Statement to its return referencing Notice 2012-4 , in order to avoid receiving a system-generated penalty notice for late filing. Some organizations generally required to file electronically that have already obtained two three-month filing extensions may be uncomfortable with taking advantage of the late filing penalty relief provided in this notice. In that circumstance the organization may file its return on paper during the suspension.