Nonprofit Tax Help

David McRee, CPA

Filing the Correct Year's Form 990

If your organization keeps its books and records on a calendar year basis, knowing which Form 990 to file does not present a problem.

But what if your organization's year ends on June 30, 2008? Most people would assume that it would be correct to file their Form 990 on the 2008 Form. But that would be WRONG!!!

A fiscal year spans two calendar years. So, for example, an organization whose accounting year ended June 30, 2008 began their accounting year on July 1, 2007. To determine which tax form to file, look to the year that the accounting year BEGAN.

If your accounting year BEGAN in 2007, you will file a 2007 Form 990 (not a 2008 Form 990).

Even if your accounting year began on December 1, 2007 and ended November 30, 2008, you would still file a 2007 Form 990.

You can see why this is confusing. Imagine the situation that occurs when an organization with a November 30, 2008 year end files their Form 990 after requesting 2 extensions:

  • The fiscal year ended in November 2008.
  • The initial due date for Form 990 is April 15, 2009.
  • Two extensions (totaling 6 months) extend the due date to October 15, 2009.
  • On or before October 15, 2009, the organization files a 2007 Form 990 (because the fiscal year BEGAN in December 2007).

That's the way it works.