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May I file Form 990-N if we get over $50,000 this year?

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May I file Form 990-N if we get over $50,000 this year?

I am a treasurer of a small 501(c)(3) public charity.  In the past six years, I filed a 990-N Postcard form of annual report with the IRS because we have never had more than $10,000 in gross receipts for any of the past few years. But this year we will have over $50,000.  What form should I file for our current fiscal year?

It depends on how much more than $50,000 you receive this year and what you want to disclose.  A small charity can continue to file the Form 990-N electronic postcard so long as its gross receipts “normally” do not exceed $50,000.  But the IRS has defined what it means by “normally” that can be more generous than $50,000 in any single year.

For an organization in its first year, it can file the 990-N if it has received, or donors have pledged to give, not more than $75,000 for the first year.  An organization that has been in existence between 1 and 3 years and has averaged $60,000 or less for each of the first two years can still file a 990-N. 

For an organization like yours that has been in existence at least three years, you can file the 990-N if your gross receipts for the most recent three years (including the year for which you are filing) have averaged $50,000 or less. Therefore, if you received exactly $10,000 in each of the prior two years, you could receive $130,000 this year and you would still average only $50,000 a year.  You could file the 990-N.  If you received more than $130,000 this year, you can’t do it and would have to file the full 990 or the 990-EZ.

You can always file a full Form 990 or a 990-EZ (if you have gross receipts of less than $200,000 and total assets at the end of the year of less than $500,000) if you wish. The forms are available on the IRS website. What you choose depends on how much you want to disclose and whether you want to be considered one of the big guys.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024


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