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Time Running Out For Iowa Non-Profits

May 12, 2010

DES MOINES, Iowa - Perhaps as many as 400,000 small, nonprofit organizations nationwide are at risk of losing their tax-exempt status if they don't file the proper paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service by Monday, May 17.

Three years ago, Congress made a change in the tax code that now requires groups that raise less than $25,000 a year to file a special Form 990-N, in order to maintain tax-exempt status. But the deadline is looming and many have still not filed the form, according to Herb Callison, spokesman for the Iowa Non-Profit Association. In Iowa, he adds, most of them are the smallest arts and charitable groups.

"About 80 percent of the nonprofits in rural states are five or fewer employees, and they typically would be the county museums, maybe an arts program, those kinds of things – that are run by volunteers and very few staff or part-time staff."

Groups that miss the deadline and have to reapply for tax exempt status may have to wait a while to get it back, warns Callison.

"There's a lot of new nonprofits being formed now because of the economic downturn and they are overloaded at the IRS. So, it's going to take even longer than it did before the downturn."

Callison's recommendation is that people involved in smaller nonprofit groups promptly double-check their tax status. Information about the change can be found on the IRS website, www.irs.gov.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA