There are big changes in store for tax-exempt organizations. Earlier this year, the Taxpayer First Act was passed. Provisions in the new law, which take effect for tax years beginning after July 1, 2019, require tax-exempt organizations to electronically file information returns and related forms.

Taxpayers who previously filed on paper should receive notice from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) alerting them to the changes. Those changes include:

The IRS will no longer accept paper Forms 8872, Political Organization Report of Contributions and Expenditures. Forms 8872 reporting information for periods starting on or after January 2020, will be due electronically. Forms 8872 are used by 527 organizations, including political parties, political action committees and campaign committees of candidates for federal, state or local office.

Forms 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, and 990-PF,  Return of Private Foundation or Section 4947(a)(1) Trust Treated as Private Foundation, with tax years ending July 31, 2020, and later MUST be filed electronically. Forms 990 and 990-PF filings for tax years ended on or before June 30, 2020, may still be filed on paper. The IRS will also continue to accept paper forms for short tax years or certain other circumstances detailed in the instructions (until further notice).

The IRS will accept paper or electronic Forms 990-EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, for organizations with a tax year ending on or before July 31, 2020. You must file electronically if your tax year ends August 31, 2020, and later.

Form 990-T,  Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return, and Form 4720, Return of Certain Excise Taxes Under Chapters 41 and 42 of the Internal Revenue Code, may still be filed on paper through 2020.

You can find more information on the Taxpayer First Act at

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney and tax writer.

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