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OR Charities Race to Keep Their Nonprofit Status

May 13, 2010

PORTLAND, Ore. - An advocacy group is warning more than 4,800 charitable, education and religious groups in Oregon they will lose their nonprofit, tax-exempt status on Monday, May 17, unless they file a simple form with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). For larger groups, filing IRS Form 990 is nothing new, but Congress has changed the law to include smaller groups, which raise less than $25,000 a year in donations.

Sandy Gill, director of Northwest Nonprofit Resources, explains many of those affected by the change are parent-teacher groups or all-volunteer organizations that most likely have never filed before.

"I think there are a number of organizations that are doing their level best, and they just don't know – but the reality is, somebody in that organization received a letter from the IRS."

Nonprofits have had three years to file the forms, and Gill hopes to convince the stragglers to get into gear this week and file. The process is simple, she says, particularly for small groups, and she points out that it is much easier than having to reapply for tax-exempt status by missing the Monday deadline.

"They need to file a very simple postcard electronically with the IRS, asking for things like the legal name of their organization, other names that they might go by, their mailing address, a Website if they have it. There actually are eight questions they need to answer."

The shorter, 990-N postcard form is widely available online; additional information is available from the IRS at www.irs.gov. Gill notes is also a list of nonprofits, where people can check by state or ZIP code to see if their group needs to file. Find it at www.councilofnonprofits..

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR