What forms must be filed by a nonprofit each year?

You’re busy starting and running your nonprofit and the last thing you want to think about is filing. But the IRS and the Franchise Tax Board take filing very seriously, so you should too.

All tax-exempt organizations must file a federal return or returns. In California, all tax-exempt organizations must also file a state return or returns. Failure to do so for three consecutive years will cause your tax-exempt status to be automatically revoked by the Franchise Tax Board and the IRS.

For tax years ending on or after December 31, 2010, exempt organizations that normally have more than $50,000 in gross receipts must file either:

Exempt organizations that normally have less than $50,000 in gross receipts are eligible to file a Form 990-N (e-postcard) or they may elect to file a full return (Form 990 or 990-EZ).

“Normal” receipts are established based on an average over three years. Prior to December 31, 2010, the threshold for filing the 990-N (e-postcard) was normal gross receipts of less than $25,000. This means that there is a phase-in period to reach the current $50,000 threshold. For assistance on which forms to file, visit the IRS website (www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=184445,00.html).

In the state of California, common forms required of tax-exempt organizations include:

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