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1116 Maine Nonprofits Must Take Action by May 15 to Preserve Tax-Exempt Status

by Brenda Peluso

The Maine Association of Nonprofits encourages all nonprofit organizations in Maine, and especially smaller nonprofits with annual revenue under $25,000, to take simple, immediate steps to ensure they do not lose their tax-exempt status.

New Internal Revenue Service rules require all nonprofits, even very small organizations, complete an annual form 990, and current government records show that 1116 organizations in Maine have not submitted this form for three consecutive years. Failure to submit the form by May 15, 2010 could result in the organization losing their status as tax-exempt organizations. Once status is lost, the process for recovery can be long, time-consuming and expensive. For many small nonprofits with annual revenue below $25,000, filing an electronic version of a very simple IRS form 990-N (also known as the ePostcard) by May 15 will be sufficient. Larger organizations must file form 990 or 990-EZ.

Thanks to a partnership between The Urban Institute and the National Council of Nonprofits (to which members of MANP belong), there is now an online directory of organizations in danger of losing their exempt status. To ensure your organization retains its tax-exempt status, we offer these simple steps:

1) Click on this link from the Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics to see if your organization needs to file its annual return.

2) Click on Maine and then search for your organization. You might want to leave the location and name fields blank and just browse the full state listing because a slight typo or variation in name may produce erroneous results.

3) Check the filing status for your organization. If it is listed as “File Now,” click on that link to electronically file the proper form.

Small nonprofits (those with income under $25,000 a year) will typically have to file Form 990-N, also known as the ePostcard. This form has eight simple questions and can be filled out in a few minutes. Visit our 990 Resource Center to learn more about 990 requirements. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at 207-871-1885.

Filing form 990-N by May 15 could save your nonprofit $750 and the time and energy it takes to submit an application for tax-exempt status to the IRS again. Many small nonprofits may not be aware of this new rule, so please help us spread the word!

Important Note:   If you have a parent group that has filed a group return on your behalf, you may still show up on the National Center for Charitable Statistics’ list.  If you believe you are on this list erroneously, please contact your parent group to ensure they have filed on your behalf.

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