In general, exempt organizations are required to file annual returns, although there are exceptions. If an organization does not file a required return or files late, the IRS may assess penalties. In addition, if an organization does not file as required for three consecutive years, it automatically loses its tax-exempt status.
Effective for tax years beginning after July 1, 2019, the Taxpayer First Act, Pub. L. No. 116-25 Section 2301, requires organizations exempt from taxation under section 501(a) to file their annual Form 990 and Form 990-PF returns electronically, unless covered by one of the exceptions listed in the form instructions. Form 990-EZ filers are required to file electronically for tax years ending July 31, 2021, and later. This IRS News Release contains a summary of e-filing requirements.
The IRS sends back Form 990 series returns filed on paper – and rejects electronically filed returns – when they are materially incomplete or the wrong return. If we send back your organization’s return, follow the instructions in the accompanying letter and on this page.
The most common errors causing the return of a Form 990 series returns are missing or incomplete schedules .
Review these pages for Form 990, 990-EZ, and 990-PF filing tips:
- 990-series forms and schedules
- Filing thresholds - which 990-series return to file
- Table of due dates for exempt organizations annual returns
- Which form should I use?
- Annual electronic notice (e-Postcard) for small exempt organizations
- Filing tips
- Annual Reporting Requirements FAQs
- Form 990 Resources and Tools
- Electronically Submit Your Form 8976, Notice of Intent to Operate Under Section 501(c)(4)