IRS Announces Two-Month Suspension of E-Filing for Form 990 Filers and Offers Automatic Extension

Drew Cheney and Nicholas Porto, Tax Principals

The IRS recently released Notice 2012-4, “Certain Filing Changes for Tax-Exempt Organizations,” http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-12-04.pdf, that provides an opportunity for certain tax exempt organizations filing Forms 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF, and 1120-POL to take advantage of an additional extension of time in which to file their returns. The genesis of this notice is that the IRS Modernized eFile (MeF) System will be unavailable from January 1, 2012 through February 29, 2012 (the suspension period), so that all tax exempt organizations filing one of the above referenced returns will be unable to electronically file the returns during this period. However, the relief offered by this notice applies to returns that are filed both electronically and on paper.

Essentially, for all of the above types of returns that have a due date during the suspension period, the IRS has granted an automatic extension of time until March 30, 2012 to file these returns.  The Notice sets forth various procedural rules regarding how to take advantage of the exemption, for which no separate fling is needed.

Please be aware of the following:

  • The relief offer by the Notice does not apply to Form 990-T.
  • The additional extension is not an extension of time in which to pay any tax that may be due with the filing.
  • If an organization wishes to extend a return due during the suspension period for the usual three month period, a Form 8868 must still be properly and timely filed by the original or extended filing due date.  Thus, for example, if your organization has a September 30. 2011 fiscal year end, its normal filing deadline is automatically extended from February 15, 2012 to March 30, 2012. However, if you wish to obtain an extension beyond March 30, 2012 (typically to May 15, 2012), you will need to file Form 8868 on or before February 15, 2012.
  • Organizations that normally are required to file electronically may file on paper during the suspension period.
  • Form 990-N (E-postcard) can continue to be file electronically during the suspension period.

For more information regarding the Notice and how it may affect your organization, please do not hesitate to contact us.

This article is provided for information purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal or financial advice. We would be happy to discuss how this information impacts your business.  For more details about this matter, please contact your BNN tax professional at 800.244.7444.