The Internal Revenue Service said Thursday that some parts of Schedule H on the Form 990 are optional for the 2010 tax year for tax-exempt organizations that operate one or more hospital facilities.

Hospital organizations that are required to file the 2010 Form 990 are not required to complete Part V.B, but they are required to complete all other sections of the 2010 Schedule H, including Sections A and C of Part V. 

In addition, a hospital organization must attach its most recent audited financial statements to its 2010 Form 990 if its tax year began after March 23, 2010, regardless of whether it completes Part V.B. 

The IRS said in Announcement 2011-37 that it decided to make the entire Part V.B optional for the 2010 tax year to give hospitals more time to familiarize themselves with the types of information the IRS will be collecting to comply with Section 9007 of the Affordable Care Act, and to address any ambiguities arising from the extensive revisions of the form and instructions. 

Part V.B includes questions related to a hospital facility’s community health needs assessment, financial assistance policy, billing and collections, and charges for medical care. 

The IRS said it invites comments on how to improve the clarity and reduce the burden of reporting the additional now required on Form 990 and Schedule H. 

No penalties will be assessed for failure to complete the information in Part V.B of Schedule H for tax year 2010. If an affected hospital organization receives a penalty notice from the IRS for not completing any lines of Part V.B for tax year 2010, the IRS said they should call the telephone number on the penalty notice to request that the IRS abate the penalty. Penalties still apply for the failure to complete other sections of the Schedule H or the Form 990.

The IRS noted that this announcement does not affect the effective dates of Section 501(r) or any other provision added to the Tax Code by Section 9007 of the Affordable Care Act.

Announcement 2011-20, which directs hospital organizations not to file the 2010 Form 990 before July 1, 2011, and grants hospital organizations with return due dates prior to Aug. 15, 2011, an automatic three-month extension of time to file a Form 990 for 2010, is still in effect.

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