How to File the 990-N for Your Nonprofit - dummies

How to File the 990-N for Your Nonprofit

By Stan Hutton, Frances Phillips

The 990-N is required for all 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations (with the exception of churches and church-related organizations) that have annual gross receipts of $50,000 or less. This simple form must be filed electronically; in fact, the IRS refers to this form as an e-postcard, so you need a computer, Internet access, and an e-mail address.

The due date for filing this form is the same as for the 990-EZ or the long Form 990: the 15th day of the fifth month after the close of the tax year. However, at present there’s no penalty for late filing. You can’t file before the end of the tax year.

If your organization fails to file a 990-N for three consecutive years, its tax-exempt status will be rescinded.

The Urban Institute handles 990-N filings for the IRS. Go to and follow the instructions. If your organization is new or if you haven’t filed a 990-N before, you need to register to obtain a login ID.

The 990-N asks for the following information:

  • The legal name of the organization and any other names under which it’s doing business.

  • A mailing address and a web address, if you have one.

  • The Employer Identification Number, or EIN, of the organization.

  • The name and address of the principal officer, which is likely either the executive director or board president. Use the organization’s address as the address for this individual.

You’ll also be asked for the organization’s tax year (the same as the fiscal year), whether the nonprofit normally has $50,000 or less in gross receipts, and whether the organization is still in business.