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e-file for Charities and Non-Profits

Electronic filing provides fast acknowledgement that the IRS has received the return and reduces normal processing time, making compliance with reporting and disclosure requirements easier. Charities and non-profits can file the following forms electronically through an IRS Authorized e-File Provider.

  • Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax
  • Form 990-EZ, Short Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax
  • Form 990-PF, Return of Private Foundation
  • Form 990-N (e-Postcard)
  • Form 8868, Application for Extension of Time To File an Exempt Organization Return
  • Form 1120-POL, U.S. Income Tax Return of Political Organizations
  • Form 7004, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File Certain Business Income Tax, Information, and Other Returns (extension form for Form 1120-POL)

e-Postcard (Form 990-N) - Electronic Filing Requirement for Small Tax-Exempt Organizations - Annual Electronic Notice: Small tax-exempt organizations (those normally with annual gross receipts up to $25,000 ($50,000 for tax years ending on or after December 31, 2010) may be required to file an annual electronic notice, Form 990-N, Electronic Notice (e-Postcard) for Tax-Exempt Organizations not Required To File Form 990 or 990-EZ. This filing requirement applies to tax periods beginning after December 31, 2006, and may apply to organizations that previously were not required to file returns.

See e-Postcard (Form 990-N) for more information about this requirement and a link to the filing system.

Required e-filing of Forms 990 and 990-PF for certain large tax-exempt organizations - For tax years ending on or after December 31, 2006, exempt organizations with $10 million or more in total assets may be required to e-file if the organization files at least 250 returns in a calendar year, including income, excise, employment tax and information returns. (See the example below.) Private foundations and non-exempt charitable trusts are required to file Forms 990-PF electronically regardless of their asset size, if they file at least 250 returns annually. The electronic filing requirement does not apply to Form 8868.

Example of an organization meeting the electronic filing requirement: If a tax-exempt organization having $10 million in total assets has 245 employees, it must file Form 990 electronically because each Form W-2 and quarterly Form 941 is considered a separate return. Therefore, the organization in this example would file a total of 250 returns (245 W-2's, four 941's, and one 990).

Large tax-exempt organizations that prepare their own returns can be authorized by the IRS as "Large Taxpayers" to file their own return electronically, or use a tax professional who is an IRS Authorized e-File Provider. Publication 4163, Modernized e-File (MeF) Information for Authorized IRS e-File Providers for Business Returns, contains an addendum section for the Large Taxpayer filing its own return.  The addendum contains important information and includes step-by-step instructions on how to complete the necessary registration and IRS e-file application.

Requesting a Waiver from Required e-filing

Notice 2010-13 establishes criteria under which tax-exempt organizations can request waivers from the electronic filing requirement:

  • Where the exempt-organization can not meet electronic filing requirements due to technology constraints; or
  • Where compliance with the requirements would result in undue financial burden on the filer.

Electronic filing through the Modernized e-File (MeF) system also supports a Fed/State program that consists of a single point of submission and retrieval for all registered transmitters and State agencies. This Fed/State initiative includes Corporations, Partnerships and Exempt Organizations. Additional MeF information can be found in Publication 4163 and Publication 4164.

DVD Images of Electronically Filed Returns:  The IRS provides electronic copies (images) of Forms 990, 990-EZ, and 990-PF to the public on DVD.  On occasion, we receive taxpayer inquiries regarding discrepancies between the printed copy of their return and the IRS generated image contained on the DVD (or website of an organization that purchases the DVDs and publishes the images).  We have provided a listing of known DVD image issues  for electronically filed returns.  Please note that the problems identified on this list do not affect data captured by the IRS for the taxpayer.  Only the display of the data is affected.

Filing schemas, publications, and user guides for software developers and transmitters and others interested in technical details are also available.

Information for Tax Professionals

Tax professionals who plan to file Forms 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF or 1120-POL electronically must submit a new or revised electronic IRS e-file application using the electronic e-services application. This is a one-time registration process and you must apply at least 45 days before you plan to file electronically.

 

Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS)

Pay all of your taxes electronically using EFTPS. Once you are enrolled, you can pay all types of taxes year-round. EFTPS is a free electronic payment option available to pay all Federal taxes electronically. Log on to eftps.gov or call 1-800-555-4477.
 

Additional Resources & Links

Contact IRS for More Information

The following toll-free numbers are provided for Charities and Non-Profits having account, tax law, or technical questions.

  • Have tax law questions or need help completing Forms 990/990-EZ? Call 1-877-829-5500.
  • Have e-file technical questions? Call the IRS e-Help Desk at 1-866-255-0654.
Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 30-Apr-2014