Annual Electronic Filing Requirement — Form 990-N (e-Postcard)

Annual Electronic Filing Requirement for Small Exempt Organizations — Form 990-N (e-Postcard)

Since 2008 we regularly receive emails from churches who have been misinformed regarding filing the Form 990-N. Some are so upset because they have attended seminars or received marketing materials from some organizations informing them that they are on the verge of losing their exempt status.

Below is the information regarding who is legally required to file Form 990-N each year. If you are not a church but have a nonprofit ministry you need to be aware what is required of you. Failure to comply will cause you to lose your nonprofit status and even once it is reinstated, your ministry will still appear on the “Auto-Revocation List.”

What’s the big deal? Donations given to you during the time your nonprofit status has been revoked are not tax-deductible donations. In other words, donations given to your ministry cannot be claimed on your donors’ taxes.

Also, an organization that has lost its tax exempt status may be required to file federal income taxes via Form 1120.

Who Must File

Most small tax-exempt organizations with gross receipts that are normally $50,000 or less ($25,000 for tax years ending on or after December 31, 2007 and before December 31, 2010) must file the e-Postcard. Exceptions to this requirement include:

  • Organizations that are included in a group return,
  • Churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or  associations of churches, and
  • Organizations required to file a different return

Most small tax-exempt organizations whose annual gross receipts are normally $50,000 or less ($25,000 for tax years ending after December 31, 2007 and before December 31, 2010) are required to electronically submit Form 990-N, also known as the e-Postcard, unless they choose to file a complete Form 990 or Form 990-EZ instead.

If you do not file your e-Postcard on time, the IRS will send you a reminder notice. There is no penalty assessment for late filing the e-Postcard, but an organization that fails to file required e-Postcards (or information returns – Forms 990 or 990-EZ) for three consecutive years will automatically lose its tax-exempt status. The revocation of the organization’s tax-exempt status will not take place until the filing due date of the third year.

The e-Postcard is due every year by the 15th day of the 5th month after the close of your tax year. For example, if your tax year ended on December 31, the e-Postcard is due May 15 of the following year. If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the due date is the next business day. You cannot file the e-Postcard until after your tax year ends.

Information Needed to File e-Postcard

Completing the e-Postcard requires the eight items listed below:

  1. Employer identification number (EIN), also known as a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)).
  2. Tax year
  3. Legal name and mailing address
  4. Any other names the organization uses
  5. Name and address of a principal officer
  6. Web site address if the organization has one
  7. Confirmation that the organization’s annual gross receipts are $50,000 for tax years ending on or after December 31, 2010).  Note: Gross receipts are the total amounts the organization received from all sources during its annual accounting period, without subtracting any costs or expenses
  8. If applicable, a statement that the organization has terminated or is terminating (going out of business)


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IRS Circular 230 Notice: United States Department of the Treasury Regulations require author to inform you that to the extent this training and any resources mentioned hereto concerns tax matters, it is not intended nor disseminated to be used and cannot be used by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by United States Internal Revenue Code.

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