Our friends at Inside INdiana Business ran this release Tuesday, explaining how legislation passed in 2006 is now having a major impact on non-profits across the country:
The Internal Revenue Service today announced that approximately 275,000 organizations under the law have automatically lost their tax-exempt status because they did not file legally required annual reports for three consecutive years. The IRS believes the vast majority of these organizations are defunct, but it also announced special steps to help any existing organizations to apply for reinstatement of their tax-exempt status.
Congress passed the Pension Protection Act (PPA) in 2006, requiring most tax-exempt organizations to file an annual information return or notice with the IRS. For small organizations, the law imposed a filing requirement for the first time in 2007. In addition, the law automatically revokes the tax-exempt status of any organization that does not file required returns or notices for three consecutive years.
For several years, the IRS has made an extensive effort to inform organizations of the changes in the law through multiple outreach and education avenues, including mailing more than 1 million notices to organizations that had not filed. In addition, last year the IRS published a list of at-risk groups and gave smaller organizations an additional five months to file required notices and come into compliance. About 50,000 organizations filed during this extension period. Overall, the IRS believes the vast majority of small tax-exempt organizations are now in compliance with the 2006 law.
“During the past several years, the IRS has gone the extra mile to help make tax-exempt groups aware of their legal filing requirement and allow them additional time to file,” IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said. “Still, we realize there may be some legitimate organizations, especially very small ones, that were unaware of their new filing requirement. We are taking additional steps for these groups to maintain their tax-exempt status without jeopardizing their operations or harming their donors.”
As part of this, the IRS issued guidance today on how organizations can apply for reinstatement of their tax-exempt status, including retroactive reinstatement. In addition, the IRS announced transition relief for certain small tax-exempt organizations – those with annual gross receipts of $50,000 or less for 2010 – that were made subject to the new "postcard" filing under the PPA. The relief allows eligible small organizations to regain their tax-exempt status retroactive to the date of revocation and pay a reduced application fee of $100 rather than the typical $400 or $850 fee. Full details are available in Notice 2011-43, Notice 2011-44 and Revenue Procedure 2011-36, issued today.