As the May 15 Filing Deadline for tax-exempt organizations filing Form 990-series information returns and notices quickly approaches, here are two important reminders for protecting personal information:
- First, make sure you file Form 990 if you are required to file. Filing the form is very important for many groups who are at risk of losing their tax exemption.
- Second, do not include Social Security numbers on Form 990 when you file the form. Including unnecessary personally identifiable information such as SSNs or other unrequested personal information could lead to identity theft.
In addition, here are seven tips to protect your exempt status and the information of your donors, clients, benefactors and administrators:
1. Certain organizations must file Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. The annual form reports information about the mission, programs and finances of the filer. The due date for many groups to file their form is May 15.
2. Most groups must file a Form 990-series return or notice with the IRS. If they fail to file their annual report for three consecutive years, the law automatically revokes their federal tax exemption.
3. The law also requires that the IRS and most organizations make most parts of their filed forms available to the public. This includes schedules and attachments filed with the form.
4. Forms made available to the public include Forms 990, 990-EZ and 990-PF. All are marked “Open to Public Inspection” in the top right hand corner of the first page.
5. Generally, the IRS does not ask for SSNs on these forms. The forms’ instructions have a caution to filers not to include them on the form.
6. Don’t include personal information that’s not needed on Form 990. For example, including a person’s mailing address may put them at risk.
7. Organizations should e-file their tax forms. E-file lowers the risk of including SSNs or other unneeded personal information.
For more information on filing Form 990-series information returns and notices, please give us a call. We’re happy to answer any questions you have regarding charities and non-profit organizations.