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January 10, 2012

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Filing Changes for Certain Tax-Exempt Organizations
By Patricia Aas

The Internal Revenue Service has announced that its eFile system will not be available from January 1, 2012 through February 29, 2012 for electronic filing of Form 990, Form 990-EZ, Form 990-PF or Form 1120-POL. Form 990-N filers will not be affected. Tax-exempt organizations that have January and February filing due dates have until March 30, 2012 to file their annual returns.

The extension of time was necessary in order to facilitate systems and programming changes. The part of the e-file system that processes electronically filed returns of tax-exempt organizations will be offline during January and February of 2012. The remainder of the e-file system will continue to operate normally.

Paper forms may continue to be filed from January 1, 2012 through February 29, 2012 (suspension period). Organizations that are required to file electronically may file its return on paper if it is uncomfortable relying on the late filing penalty relief.

An organization with an original due date during the suspension period that wishes to extend its filing due date after March 31, 2012 or has already obtained a three-month extension that ends during the suspension period and wants an additional 3-month extension must properly complete and file Form 8868 by the original or extended due date.

The extension of time to file does not extend the time to pay any tax liability. Therefore, an organization that has a tax liability for a return that has a due date during the suspension period must make a timely payment.

The extension of time to file returns due during the suspension period is automatic. No form needs to be filed to get the March 30 extension. The majority of tax-exempt organizations operate on a calendar-year basis and therefore will be unaffected by this extension since they have a May 15, 2012 filing date.

The IRS recommends attaching a reasonable-cause statement when filing their return during the suspension period to avoid receiving a late-filing penalty notice. If a late-filing notice is received, the organization should contact the IRS to get the penalties abated.

Further details can be found in Notice 2012-4.


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