With a few exceptions, any organization recognized as exempt from Federal income tax must file an annual information return (Form 990, 990-EZ or 990-N) if it has averaged more than $50,000 in gross receipts for tax years 2010 and later over the past three tax years.
That means your organization could have a Form 990 or 990-EZ filing requirement one year and then not have it the next. It all depends on your gross receipt average over the previous three tax years.
*NOTE: Beginning with the 2008 tax year, a new filing requirement was imposed on most small tax-exempt organizations. The new filing requirement is Form 990-N, Electronic Notice (e-Postcard) for Tax-Exempt Organizations Not Required to File Form 990 or 990-EZ, and applies to tax periods beginning after December 31, 2006. The information you’ll need to report on Form 990-N is much less extensive than that required on Forms 990 or 990-EZ. For more information on filing Form 990-N, visit the Charities and Non-Profits page at http://www.irs.gov.
Due Date of the e-Postcard
The e-Postcard is due every year by the 15th day of the 5th month after the close of your tax year. For example, if your tax year ended on December 31, the e-Postcard is due May 15 of the following year. If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the due date is the next business day. You cannot file the e-Postcard until after your tax year ends.
Need an Extension? No Problem
Use Form 8868, Application for Extension of Time to File an Exempt Organization Return , to request an automatic 90-day extension of time to file Forms 990 or 990-EZ.
If you need even more time, state why on a second Form 8868 and request another 90-day extension. This second extension is not automatic, but may be granted at the discretion of the IRS if it determines reasonable cause exists.
As long as you file an extension in a timely fashion, you will not receive a late penalty.
But remember, the IRS never grants an extension of more than six months to a domestic organization!