IRS Extends Due Dates for Exempt Organization Filings


In our prior nonprofit alert, issued March 31, 2020, we reported that the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) had not extended most federal tax payment and filing deadlines for exempt organizations. The IRS notices issued up to that point (Notice 2020-18 and Notice 2020-20) postponed the due date for filing federal income tax and certain other returns and making federal income and certain other tax payments to July 15, 2020. Although the postponement applied to IRS Forms 990-T (Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return) due to be filed on April 15, 2020, the relief did not apply to Forms 990-T due to be filed on May 15, 2020 or to Forms 990, 990-EZ or 990-PF.

On April 9, 2020, the IRS issued Notice 2020-23 (the “Notice”), which extends the tax payment and tax return filing deadline to July 15, 2020 for Forms 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF and 990-T not covered by the previous IRS notices. The Notice provides that any person with a specified federal tax payment obligation or filing obligation which is due (originally or pursuant to a valid extension) on or after April 1, 2020 and before July 15, 2020 (an “affected taxpayer”) is entitled to relief. Specified tax returns and tax payments include (i) exempt organization business income tax and other payments and return filings on Form 990-T, (ii) excise tax payments on investment income and return filings on Form 990-PF, and (iii) excise tax payments and return filings on Form 4720. The Notice automatically postpones the due date for making these filings and payments to July 15, 2020. Affected taxpayers who need more time to file than is provided by the automatic extension may file the appropriate extension form by July 15, 2020, but the extension date may not go beyond the original statutory or regulatory extension date (e.g., November 15, 2020 for calendar year Form 990 filers).

The Notice also provides that any person performing a “time-sensitive action” listed in Rev. Proc. 2018-58 due to be performed on or after April 1, 2020 and before July 15, 2020 is an affected taxpayer and entitled to relief. Affected taxpayers have until July 15, 2020 to perform all such time-sensitive actions. Applicable time-sensitive actions include the filing of annual returns (including the Form 990 series) of organizations exempt from tax under Section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. Accordingly, exempt organizations, including Section 501(c)(3) organizations, have until July 15, 2020 to file Forms 990 and 990-EZ that would otherwise be due on or after April 1, 2020 and before July 15, 2020.

Time-sensitive actions under Rev. Proc. 2018-58 also include filing of Form 1023 or Form 1023-EZ (and other filings) as a condition for IRS recognition of an organization’s exemption. Generally, for an organization to be recognized as exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code from the date it was organized, Form 1023 or Form 1023-EZ must be filed within 27 months from the end of the month in which the organization was organized. Organizations whose 27-month deadline occurs between April 1, 2020 and July 15, 2020 have until July 15, 2020 to timely file Form 1023 or Form 1023-EZ.

Organizations should note that this relief only applies to IRS filings. Applicable state filings are not automatically extended by this action. Organizations should consult guidance from any states in which they have filing obligations to determine whether those due dates have also been extended. WilmerHale exempt organization specialists are available to answer questions on the application of the Notice or provide advice on related exempt organization issues.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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