Doug Shulman

The IRS has instituted a one-time relief program for small nonprofit organizations at risk of losing their tax-exempt status because they failed to file an annual return for the last three years.

The IRS on July 26 posted a list of at-risk organizations online that must file returns by Oct. 15, 2010 or lose their tax-exempt status. The list may be incomplete, the IRS said, and organizations should verify they have filed returns for 2007, 2008 and 2009 to avoid being at risk.

“We are doing everything we can to help organizations comply with the law and keep their valuable tax exemption,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “So if you do not have your filings up to date, now’s the time to take action and get back on track.”

Two types of relief are available for small exempt organizations – a filing extension for the smallest organizations required to file a Form 990-N, or e-postcard; and a voluntary compliance program for organizations eligible to file the Form 990-EZ. In addition to filing their delinquent forms, eligible organizations must pay a small compliance fee. The relief announced this week is not available to larger organizations required to file the Form 990 or to private foundations that file a Form 990-PF.

For more information, visit the IRS.