IRS Extends Tax-Exempt Filing Deadline to March 30

The Internal Revenue Service has given tax-exempt organizations with January and February filing due dates a temporary reprieve until March 30, 2012 to file their annual returns.

The IRS said it is granting the extension because the portion of the e-file system that processes electronically filed returns of tax-exempt organizations will be off-line in January and February. However, the agency said the rest of the e-file system would continue to operate normally. As usual, it is urging all individuals and businesses to use electronic filing rather than paper.

The extension generally applies to tax-exempt organizations whose normal filing deadline is either Jan. 17 or Feb. 15, 2012. Ordinarily, those deadlines would apply to organizations with a fiscal year that ended on Aug. 31 or Sept. 30, 2011, respectively. The extension also applies to organizations that have already obtained an initial three-month filing extension and now have an extended filing deadline that falls on either Jan. 17 or Feb. 15, 2012. The majority of tax-exempt organizations will be unaffected by the extension because they operate on a calendar-year basis and have a May 15 filing deadline.

The extension applies to affected organizations that file Forms 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF, or 1120-POL. However, the IRS said that Form 990-N filers would not be affected. No form needs to be filed to get the March 30 extension.

In order to avoid receiving a late filing penalty notice, the IRS a reasonable cause statement should be attached to the tax return. If organizations receive late-filing penalty notices, they should contact the IRS to abate the penalties. The IRS is encouraging these organizations to consider either e-filing early—before the end of December—or wait until March to file electronically.

Further details are available in Notice 2012-4, which was posted Friday on

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