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Clock Ticking for WA Charities to Keep Nonprofit Status

May 13, 2010

SPOKANE, Wash. - Thousands of charitable and religious organizations in Washington will lose their nonprofit status next week if they don't turn in some paperwork to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). For larger groups, filing a "Form 990" with the IRS is nothing new, but Congress has changed the law to also include smaller groups that raise less than $25,000 a year in donations.

Sandy Gill, director of Northwest Nonprofit Resources, Spokane, says nonprofits have had three years to file with the IRS, but some might not realize they need to do so.

"Organizations like parent-teacher groups, all-volunteer organizations that really don't have much in terms of gross receipts of money, probably have never filed before - and prior to recent legislation, they were not required to."

Gill warns that about 7,600 nonprofit groups in Washington still have not filed their forms, and the deadline is Monday, May 17. She suggests people check an online list of nonprofits by state and zip code to see if their group needs to file. The list is available at www.councilofnonprofits.org.

Gill adds that filing is a simple process, particularly for small groups, and is much easier than having to reapply for tax-exempt status by missing the Monday deadline.

"The nonprofits need to file a very simple postcard electronically with the IRS. It asks for things like the legal name of their organization, other names that it might go by, the mailing address, a website if they have it - there are actually eight questions they need to answer."

The shorter postcard form is called a "990-N." It is available from several online sites. More information, including the automatic revocation process for those that miss the deadline, is also available on the IRS Website, www.irs.gov.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA