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Updated Form 990-EZ Helps Exempt Organizations Avoid Filing Errors

March 09, 2017

The recently released and revised Form 990-EZ is designed to help tax exempt organizations have an easier time filling out their returns.

Tax exempt organizations in 2017 and beyond can more easily avoid common mistakes when filing their annual returns. The IRS has released an updated Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, that will achieve this, and make filing a whole lot easier for nonprofit organizations.

What’s new on the updated form?

As an extension to the existing instructions, the new Form 990-EZ includes 29 “help” icons describing key information needed to complete many of the fields within the form. These “pop-up” boxes share information to help small and mid-size exempt organizations evade widespread errors when filling out the form and filing their return.

These new help icons are marked in boxes with a blue question mark. The icons and underlying links work on any device with Adobe Acrobat Reader and Internet access. Filers can print completed Form 990-EZ and mail it to the IRS.

Why filing electronically is beneficial

The IRS encourages all exempt organizations to consider filing electronically. Although many large exempt organizations are required to file Form 990-series information returns electronically already, it is a good idea for all organizations to do so. In 2016, the IRS saw an error rate of 33 percent in paper-filed returns, as opposed to the mere 1% error rate for electronically-filed 990-EZ returns.

Do the help icons replace the old form’s instructions?

No--filers should continue to review the Form’s instructions when completing a return and use the help icons as an additional tool.

May 15th 2017 Deadline

Exempt organizations that are required to file Form 990-series returns are due on the 15th day of the fifth month after an organization’s tax year ends. Most establishments use the calendar year as their tax year, making May 15, 2017, the deadline to file for tax year 2016.

Questions? Contact any member of our Not-for-Profit Services Team.

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