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Can returns of tax-exempt organizations be e-filed?
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Can returns of tax-exempt organizations be e-filed?

Electronic filing provides fast acknowledgment that the IRS has received the return and reduces normal processing time, making compliance with reporting and disclosure requirements easier. Charities and non-profits can file the following forms electronically through an Approved IRS 990-efile Provider.

  • Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax
  • Form 990-EZ, Short Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax
  • Form 990-PF, Return of Private Foundation
  • Form 990-N (e-Postcard)
  • Form 8868, Application for Extension of Time To File an Exempt Organization Return
  • Form 1120-POL, U.S. Income Tax Return of Political Organizations
  • Form 7004, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File Certain Business Income Tax, Information, and Other Returns (extension form for Form 1120-POL)

e-Postcard (Form 990-N) – Electronic Filing Requirement for Small Tax-Exempt Organizations – Annual Electronic Notice: Small tax-exempt organizations (those normally with annual gross receipts up to $25,000) may be required to file an annual electronic notice, Form 990-N, Electronic Notice (e-Postcard) for Tax-Exempt Organizations not Required To File Form 990 or 990-EZ. This filing requirement applies to tax periods beginning after December 31, 2006, and may apply to organizations that previously were not required to file returns.

See e-Postcard (Form 990-N) for more information about this requirement and a link to the filing system.

Required e-filing of Forms 990 and 990-PF for certain large tax-exempt organizations – For tax years ending on or after December 31, 2006, exempt organizations with $10 million or more in total assets may be required to e-file if the organization files at least 250 returns in a calendar year, including income, excise, employment tax and information returns. (See the example below.) Private foundations and non-exempt charitable trusts are required to file Forms 990-PF electronically regardless of their asset size, if they file at least 250 returns annually. The electronic filing requirement does not apply to Form 8868. Part 1 of Form 8868 for the automatic three month extension can be filed electronically or by paper.

Example of an organization meeting the electronic filing requirement: If a tax-exempt organization having $10 million in total assets has 245 employees, it must file Form 990 electronically because each Form W-2 and quarterly Form 941 is considered a separate return. Therefore, the organization in this example would file a total of 250 returns (245 W-2’s, four 941’s, and one 990).

Large tax-exempt organizations that prepare their own returns can be authorized by the IRS as “Large Taxpayers” to file their own return electronically, or use a tax professional who is an IRS Authorized e-file Provider. Publication 4163, Modernized e-file (MeF) Information for Authorized IRS e-file Providers for Business Return, contains an addendum section for the Large Taxpayer filing their own return. The addendum contains important information and includes step-by-step instructions on how to complete the necessary registration and IRS e-file application.

Additional Information

Information for Tax Professionals

Tax professionals who plan to file Forms 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF or 1120-POL electronically must submit a new or revised electronic IRS e-file application using the electronic e-services application. This is a one-time registration process and you must apply at least 45 days before you plan to file electronically.

Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS)

Pay all of your taxes electronically using EFTPS. Once you are enrolled, you can pay all types of taxes year-round. EFTPS is a free electronic payment option available to pay all Federal taxes electronically. Log on to or call 1-800-555-4477.

Contact IRS for More Information

The following toll-free numbers are provided for Charities and Non-Profits having account, tax law, or technical questions.

  • Have tax law questions or need help completing Forms 990/990-EZ? Call 1-877-829-5500.
  • Have e-file technical questions? Call the IRS e-Help Desk at 1-866-255-0654.

Additional Resources & Links

Frequently Asked Questions
Tax Information for Charities & Non-profits
Modernized e-File Home Page
Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS)
Electronic IRS
e-file for Business and Self-Employed Taxpayers
e-file for Tax Professionals
e-file for Software Developers & Transmitters
IRS e-Help Desk – 1-866-255-0654

Need Help Completing Forms 990/990-EZ? Call 1-877-829-5500

DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide legal or accounting advice, or to address specific situations. Please consult with your legal or tax advisor to supplement and verify what you learn here.