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Non-Profit Returns and the IRS

Most nonprofit tax-exempt organizations are required to file annual tax returns with the IRS. Even though most tax-exempt nonprofit organizations do not pay federal taxes (that is what “tax-exempt” means), most do have to file an informational return with the IRS. This annual reporting return is called a Form 990.

The non-profits Form 990 are due on the 15th day of the 5th month after the end of the organization's taxable year. This means that if your organization follows the calendar year (January 1 – December 31), your Form 990 would be due on May 15th of each year. If an organization does not file as required for three consecutive years, it automatically loses its tax-exempt status.

Non-profits are also exempt from paying sales tax and property taxes. While the income of a nonprofit organization may not be subject to federal taxes, nonprofit organizations do pay employee taxes (Social Security and Medicare) just like any for-profit company.

If you are unsure about any aspect of the 990 or filing returns with the IRS please reach out to Catherine Kellogg at

If you’d like to learn more about compliance, the IRS has a great guide. Check out IRS Publication 4221 PC.

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