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Exempt Organizations Update

The EO Update is a periodic newsletter with information for tax-exempt organizations and tax practitioners who represent them, from Exempt Organizations (Tax-Exempt and Government Entities Division) at the IRS.

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December 11, 2018

IRS issues guidance for determining nondeductible amount of parking fringe expenses and unrelated business taxable income; provides penalty relief to tax-exempt organizations

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service today issued interim guidance regarding the treatment of qualified transportation fringe benefit expenses paid or incurred after Dec. 31, 2017.
 
The new rules assist taxpayers in determining the amount of parking expenses that are no longer tax deductible. They also help tax-exempt organizations determine how these nondeductible parking expenses create or increase unrelated business taxable income (UBTI).
 
The IRS acknowledges that this guidance falls late in the year and taxpayers that own or lease parking facilities may have already adopted reasonable methods in 2018 to determine the amount of their nondeductible parking expenses. Taxpayers may rely on the guidance or, until further guidance is issued, use any reasonable method for determining nondeductible parking expenses related to employer-provided parking.
 
A key part of this guidance is a special rule, enabling many employers to retroactively reduce the amount of their nondeductible parking expenses. Under this rule, employers will have until March 31, 2019, to change their parking arrangements to reduce or eliminate the number of parking spots they reserve for their employees. By making this change, many churches, schools, hospitals and other tax-exempt organizations may be able to reduce their associated UBTI.
 
In some cases, the organization may avoid having to file a Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return, altogether. Such a change made in parking arrangements will apply retroactively to Jan. 1, 2018.
 
The Treasury Department and IRS seek comments for future guidance to clarify the treatment of these qualified transportation fringe expenses.
 
The IRS also announced today that it will provide estimated tax penalty relief in 2018 to tax-exempt organizations that offer these benefits and were not required to file a Form 990-T last filing season. Additionally, some tax-exempt organizations will not exceed the $1,000 threshold below which an organization is not required to file a Form 990-T or pay the unrelated business income tax. 

November 16, 2018

Latest webcasts for charities and nonprofits

Four new presentations are available for 501(c)(3) organizations. Additional charities and nonprofits topics are on IRSvideos.gov.

Recent IRS notices affecting Exempt Organizations

  • Notice 2018-55 Tax reform imposes a 1.4 percent excise tax on the investment income of certain educational institutions.
  • Notice 2018-67 An exempt organization with more than one unrelated trade or business must calculate unrelated business taxable income separately for each trade or business.

Issue snapshots

Issue Snapshots are IRS employee job aids that provide analysis and resources along with audit tips and issue indicators for technical tax issues. Visit Issue Snapshots for a complete listing of issue snapshots for Exempt Organizations.

New procedures for employment tax issues under IRC 7436

This memorandum contains new procedures and guidance for Exempt Organization examination employees conducting audits involving employment tax issues, and the proper forms and letters to use when processing a Substitute for Return.


 

October 26, 2018

November 15 deadline coming up for calendar-year tax-exempt organizations that requested six-month form extensions

If your organization filed Form 8868 for a six-month extension to file its calendar year 2017 Forms 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF, or 990-BL,the extended deadline is November 15. Filers of non-calendar year returns may see initial and extended due dates here. View File Error-Free Forms 990 before filing.

Filing deadline extensions for hurricane impact areas

The IRS extended certain filing deadlines for taxpayers, including exempt organizations, in certain counties in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Georgia. Organizations in affected counties that had an original or extended due date on or after September 7, 2018 and before January 31, 2019 (North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia), October 7, 2018 (Florida), or October 9, 2018 (Georgia), now have until February 28, 2019 to file affected returns, including Form 990-series annual information returns and Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return.

New IRS YouTube video for Tax Exempt Organization Search

The video explains features of the new, mobile friendly Tax Exempt Organization Search launched earlier this year.

Tax-Exempt and Government Entities issues Annual Priority & Program Letters

This report highlights TE/GE’s 2018 accomplishments and explains the compliance programs in fiscal year 2019.

Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT) issues 2018 report of recommendations

The ACT made recommendations regarding incentivizing universal e-filing for Form 990.


May 24, 2018

EP and EO participating in 2018 IRS Nationwide Tax Forums 

Employee Plans and Exempt Organizations will participate in the 2018 IRS Nationwide Tax Forums in five cities starting in July. The forums offer three days of seminars and workshops featuring speakers from both the IRS and tax practitioner organizations. In addition to getting the latest tax information, tax professionals can earn continuing education credits for their attendance.

Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts

Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scammers using regular mail, phone, or email. 

The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Recognize the telltale signs of a scam. See: How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door

Updated forms and publications:

New Issue Snapshots:


May 8, 2018

New IRS online tool offers expanded access to information on tax-exempt organizations; newly-filed data available to public for first time

The IRS introduced a new online tool designed to provide faster, easier access to publicly available information about exempt organizations.

The new Tax Exempt Organization Search (TEOS) replaces EO Select Check, a more limited tool available since 2012 that focused primarily on providing information on an organization’s tax-exempt status. Among the enhancements, the new TEOS tool includes images of newly-filed 990 forms and it’s mobile friendly so you can access it using smartphones or tablets.

"This new tool provides taxpayers an easy way to get information about charitable organizations," said Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter. "Tax-exempt organizations play a critical role in our nation, and this will provide greater insight for people considering donations."

Many tax-exempt organizations must file information returns by May 15; do not include Social Security numbers or personal data

The IRS reminds certain tax-exempt organizations using the calendar year as their tax year of the Tuesday, May 15 filing deadline for Form 990-series information returns. Organizations must not include Social Security numbers or personal data in their filings. Additional information is in the IRS Fact Sheet.

Form 8976 Electronic Notice Registration System Updated

Recently, we added the following functionality to the Form 8976 Electronic Notice Registration System:

  • The registration system now links to Pay.gov to prompt organizations to pay the required Form 8976 fee immediately.
  • A non-payment notice will be generated if the required fee isn’t paid within five days of submitting Form 8976. If not paid within 14 days, the registration will be rejected. 
  • The registration system won’t allow uploads of subsequent documents for the same organization. 

Online study to improve website navigation

Use the link above to visit the Tax Information for Charities & Other Non-Profits page, then click on the “Learn More button.” Your participation will help us improve our navigation menus and labeling. 

If you have a specific question about exempt organizations, call EO Customer Account Services at 877-829-5500.


March 27, 2018

Join the IRS for a National Paycheck Checkup Thunderclap

We invite you or your group to join @IRSnews in support of the IRS Thunderclap effort promoting a national “Paycheck Checkup.” Following major tax law changes, workers should review their withholding to make sure they have the right amount of tax taken out of their paychecks.

Form 990 processing changes

As of January 8, the IRS is returning Form 990 series returns filed on paper – and rejecting electronically filed returns – when they are incomplete or the wrong return. IRS.gov answers the question What happens if my Form 990 is missing information or a schedule, or is the wrong return?

Form 990-EZ reminders

Tax-exempt organizations with annual gross receipts under $200,000 and assets under $500,000 (at the end of the reporting period) can use Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, to meet their annual filing requirement. This means you’ll submit less information and fewer schedules than the “full” Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax.

Form 990-EZ includes “assistive” features designed to make filing easier, quicker, and more accurate. These 29 “help buttons” don’t replace the instructions, but they do alert the filer to traditionally troublesome areas and have decreased the error rate for paper-filed returns.

The IRS encourages exempt organizations to file electronically, noting the error rate for electronically-filed returns was only 1% for 2017. A list of companies providing this service is on IRS.gov.

Form 990-series returns are due on the 15th day of the fifth month after an organization’s tax year ends. For organizations using the calendar year as their tax year, May 15 is the deadline to file for 2017. If you need an extension of time to file, use Form 8868, Application of Extension of Time to File an Exempt Organization Return.

Form 990 series returns filing deadline postponed until June 29 for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands

Form 990 Overview Course

Maintaining 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status is crucial to the success of a charitable organization and most need to submit an annual Form 990-series return. This Form 990 overview course shows you which forms to file and when they are due, and provides tips to help prepare your form.

Refunds Worth $1.1 Billion Waiting to be Claimed

Unclaimed federal income tax refunds totaling $1.1 billion may be waiting for 1 million taxpayers who did not file a 2014 federal income tax return. Time is running out. To collect these refunds, taxpayers must file their 2014 tax return by April 17, 2018.

Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

The IRS reminds you that every year, people fall prey to tax scams. We’re highlighting three of the scams on the list of 2018 Dirty Dozen Tax Scams:

  • Phone Scams: Con artists claiming to be IRS officials threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation if the victim doesn’t pay a bogus tax bill.
  • Phishing: Taxpayers need to be on guard against fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. Criminals may pose as a person in your organization you trust or recognize requesting sensitive information.
  • Identity Theft: Criminals sometimes file fraudulent returns using information from a phishing scam, with a refund being deposited into the taxpayer’s bank account. They then use a phone scam to claim to be the IRS and ask for that money back.

March 19 EO Update

Use Form 1024-A to Apply for Recognition of Exemption under IRC Section 501(c)(4)

Organizations that choose to apply for recognition of exempt status under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501(a) as an organization described in Section 501(c)(4) should use the new Form 1024-A, Application for Recognition of Exemption under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Organizations seeking recognition of exempt status under Section 501(a) as an organization described in Section 501(c)(2), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), (10), (12), (13), (15), (17), (19) or (25) will continue to use Form 1024, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(a).

Form 1024-A doesn’t satisfy an organization’s separate requirement to notify the IRS that it’s operating under Section 501(c)(4). Instead, use Form 8976, Notice of Intent to Operate Under Section 501(c)(4).

Revenue Procedure 2018-5

Revenue Procedure 2018-5 simplifies the user fee structure for tax exemption applications.

Revenue Procedure 2018-15

Under Revenue Procedure 2018-15, the IRS doesn’t require a new exemption application from a domestic Section 501(c) organization that changes its form or place of organization. Rev. Rul. 67-390 and Rev. Rul. 77-469 are obsoleted.

Processing Form 1023-EZ – 2018 updates

The IRS issued a memorandum updating procedures for processing Form 1023-EZ as set forth in Rev. Proc. 2018-5. Form 1023-EZ applicants should review the Instructions to Form 1023-EZ before completing and submitting their application as these processing changes coincide with the revisions to Form 1023-EZ.

EO Issue Snapshots

Issue Snapshots are IRS employee job aids that provide analysis, resources and audit tips (or issue indicators) on technical tax issues.

Recent Issue Snapshots:


March 6, 2018

File current versions of exemption applications

The IRS reminds people seeking tax-exempt status to use the current version of forms to avoid processing delays. The current version of Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, is dated December 2017, and Form 1024, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(a), is dated January 2018.

If you use a prior version of one of these forms, the IRS will return your application and ask you to resubmit using the current version of the form.

User fees

Revenue Procedure 2018-5 announces the following user fees:

Application Type User Fee
Form 1023 $600
Form 1024
Form 1024-A
Form 1023-EZ $275
Group exemption letter $2,000

Please submit Form 8718, User Fee for Exempt Organization Determination Letter Request, with group exemption letter requests and exemption applications, other than those filed on Forms 1023 and 1023-EZ.

The IRS announces user fees annually in updates to Rev. Proc. 2018-5 and posts them to IRS.gov.

Form 1023 revisions

The IRS revised Form 1023 and its instructions. Highlights include:

  • Added a new public charity status for agricultural research organizations (Section 170(B)(1)(a)(ix))
  • Eliminated a question about the advance ruling process
  • Eliminated an outdated question about organizations applying for 501(c)(3) recognition more than 27 months after formation
  • Increased financial data reporting requirements for organizations older than one year

If you have a technical or procedural question about Exempt Organizations, visit the Charities and Nonprofits homepage.


January 19, 2018

Form 1023-EZ Revisions

The IRS revised Form 1023-EZ, Streamlined Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and its instructions to help small charities apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. These revisions don’t change the Form 1023-EZ user fee. Here’s a summary of the revisions we made to the Form 1023-EZ.

  • A text box was added to Part III requesting a brief description of the organization’s mission or most significant activities. This change was recommended by the IRS National Taxpayer Advocate and is designed to provide a better understanding of the most significant activities that an organization engages in to further its exempt purposes.
  • Questions about annual gross receipts, total assets and public charity classification were added to the Form 1023-EZ. These questions are also on the Form 1023-EZ Eligibility Worksheet in the Instructions for Form 1023-EZ that organizations must certify they have completed.
  • Question 29 on the Form 1023-EZ Eligibility Worksheet now requires that an automatically revoked organization applying for reinstatement must seek the same foundation classification they had at the time of automatic revocation to be eligible to use the Form 1023-EZ. Organizations that are not seeking that same foundation classification must file a full Form 1023.

These revisions make it easier for organizations to select the correct form when applying for tax-exempt status and help the IRS make the correct determinations on tax-exempt status.

Early Due Dates for W-2, W-3 and Form 1099-MISC

Employers face a January 31, 2018, due date for filing 2017 Forms W-2 and W-3 with the Social Security Administration. This date applies to both electronic and paper filers.

Form 1099-MISC is due to the IRS and individuals by January 31 when reporting non-employee compensation payments in box 7.

Penalties for failure to file correct information returns or furnish correct payee statements have increased and are now subject to inflationary adjustments. These increased penalties are effective for information returns required to be filed after December 31, 2015.

Form 1098-T Reporting Changes and Limited Penalty Relief for 2017 Returns

Eligible educational institutions are required to report the total amount of payments received for qualified tuition and related expenses from all sources during the calendar year on Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement.

Announcement 2016-42 provides relief from penalties under Section 6721 and 6722 to 2017 Forms 1098-T. The IRS will not impose penalties on eligible education institutions that report the aggregate amount billed (instead of amount received) for qualified tuition and related expenses on 2017 Form 1098-T.

New presentations

Review these informative StayExempt videos:

  • Reasonable Cause - Focuses on reasonable cause for abating first-tier excise taxes imposed on private foundations. Examples included.
  • Self-Dealing Exemption - Discusses self-dealing under Code Section 4941 and the exception for compensation to disqualified persons.
  • Disqualified Persons: Private Foundations - Covers Section 4946, which addresses disqualified persons with respect to a private foundation.
  • Disaster Relief: Existing Organizations - Discusses requirements for established disaster-relief organizations.

November 7, 2017

New presentations on StayExempt

Employment Tax podcasts

EO Issue Snapshots

Fee for Form 8976

Form 8976, Notice of Intent to Operate Under Section 501(c)(4) – Organizations must pay a $50 fee at Pay.gov within 14 days of submitting the form.

Podcast on maximum loans in retirement plans

Podcast – computation of maximum loan amount from retirement plans – describes how the IRS will review multiple loans to a participant during an audit.


October 13, 2017

Audit Technique Guides for Exempt Organizations

Examiners use these guides during audits of specific types of exempt organizations.

The Enduring Relevance of Rev. Proc. 71-17 on IRC Section 501(c)(7) Organizations

Read the IRS issue snapshot on the effect of a 501(c)(7) club’s non-member income on its unrelated business taxable income and exemption.


September 1, 2017

IRS provides help for Hurricane Harvey victims

The IRS is providing a variety of tax relief for those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Check our webpage for the latest updates.
Read News Release.

Beware of Hurricane Harvey fake charity scams

The IRS issued a warning about possible fake charity scams emerging due to Hurricane Harvey and encouraged taxpayers to seek out recognized charitable groups for their donations.
Read News Release.

More IRS disaster relief information available

Additional information about IRS help for Hurricane Harvey victims is available on IRS social media sites, including the Twitter handle @IRSnews, following the hashtag #Harvey.


February 24, 2017

Two new Issue Podcasts available for viewing

Go to the Stay Exempt Issue Podcast page on irs.gov to see Issue Podcasts on:

  • When are Commercial-Type Activities a Substantial Nonexempt Purpose for an IRC 501(c)(3) Organization?
    Learn about determining when commercial-type activities further a substantial nonexempt purpose for an IRC 501(c)(3) organization
  • IRC 501(c)(3) Proposing Denial
    Learn about the five-step roadmap the IRS uses to determine whether proposing denial is appropriate for an organization requesting recognition of tax exemption under IRC 501(c)(3)

What is an Issue Podcast?

An Issue Podcast is a resource the IRS uses for sharing technical knowledge.
An Issue Podcast is a short (approximately 15 minute), on-demand audio and visual presentation that includes:

  • A brief summary and analysis of an issue
  • References to key resource materials

February 22, 2017

IRS makes approved Form 1023-EZ data available online

The IRS announced today that publicly available information from approved applications for tax-exemption using Form 1023-EZ, Streamlined Application for Recognition of Exemption, is now available electronically for the first time.
Read news release.


February 2, 2017

Dangerous W-2 Phishing Scam Evolving; Targeting Schools, Restaurants, Hospitals, Tribal Groups and Others

The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry issued an urgent alert today to all employers that the Form W-2 email phishing scam has evolved beyond the corporate world and is spreading to other sectors.
Read news release.


December 20, 2016

Form 990-N e-Postcard page unavailable 12/26/16 to 1/6/17

The Annual Electronic Filing Requirement for Small Exempt Organizations — Form 990-N (e-Postcard) page will be down from December 26, 2016 at 11:59 a.m. until January 6, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. EST due to an annual planned maintenance. We apologize for this inconvenience.

Tax Preparedness Series: Remember donations may cut tax bills

As tax filing season approaches, the IRS reminds taxpayers who give money or goods to a charity by December 31, 2016 that they may be able to claim a deduction on their 2016 federal income tax return and reduce their taxes.

Helpful tax tips

Review these helpful tax tips.