IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman indicated that small charities that missed the May 17 filing deadline for filing their Form 990 may still be able to keep their tax-exempt status.

Hundreds of thousands of nonprofit organizations are in danger of losing their tax-exempt status because they haven’t filed the 990 or one of its variations in the past three years (see Deadline Approaches for Tax-Exempt Organizations). The Urban Institute has estimated that 214,000 charities are in danger of losing their tax-exempt status if they didn’t file the required form Monday, and another 126,000 by the end of the year.

Shulman acknowledged that many small charities were not aware of the requirement, however, and said they should still go ahead and file the forms, even if they have missed the deadline.

“Now that the May 17 filing deadline has passed, it appears that many small tax-exempt organizations have not filed the required information return in time,” he said. “These organizations are vital to communities across the United States, and I understand their concerns about possibly losing their tax-exempt status.”

“The IRS has conducted an unprecedented outreach effort in the tax-exempt sector on the 2006 law’s new filing requirements, but many of these smaller organizations are just now learning of the May 17 deadline,” he added. “I want to re-assure these small organizations that the IRS will do what it can to help them avoid losing their tax-exempt status.”

“The IRS will be providing additional guidance in the near future on how it will help these organizations maintain their important tax-exempt status — even if they missed the May 17 deadline,” said Shulman. “The guidance will offer relief to these small organizations and provide them with the opportunity to keep their critical tax-exempt status intact. So I urge these organizations to go ahead and file – even though the May 17 deadline has passed.”

“Filing a tax return for the small organizations is easier than you’d think,” he said. “It just takes a few minutes to fill out the electronic notice Form 990-N (e-Postcard). This is available for small tax-exempt organizations with annual receipts of $25,000 or less. More information is available on”

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