I wanted to drop you a quick note this morning to remind you about the IRS filing requirement that is due by Dec. 15.
Because of a new tax law that was implemented a few years ago, ALL SPJ chapters with an Employer ID number (EIN) must file an annual return with the Internal Revenue Service. (In the good old days, only our larger chapters had to file.) Because SPJ chapters are “subordinate” chapters, they are not included in the tax returns that national headquarters files. In short, each chapter with an EIN (or Tax ID number) is responsible for its own tax filings. If you are associated with a campus chapter, it is possible your chapter doesn’t have its own EIN because it falls under the financial umbrella of the school. If that’s the case, you do not need to file a return.
Again, this return must be filed by December 15, 2011.
With that gory intro out of the way, let me take a moment to ensure you that this is not as difficult or scary as it seems. The vast majority of our chapters have gross receipts of less than $50,000 and don’t already fill out a Form 990…meaning you will simply need to go online and fill out an e-postcard.
If you have gross receipts of more than $50,000, you will need to file a Form 990 or Form 990Z. Again, because our chapters operate independently, this is a process that those chapters must take on independently. While we can try to provide some guidance regarding the process, national cannot provide tax services or advice. For those of you needing to fill out a 990 or 990EZ, please contact a nonprofit tax expert in your area. They will be your best resource.
Now, back to those of you needing to file the e-postcard. You can simply follow the steps below and have this task completed in less than 10 minutes.
Here’s what you do:
1. Go to epostcard.form990.org. (Note that there is no “www” in front of this URL, and you can’t find it using Google. This is a private company contracted by the IRS.)
2. If this is your first time filling out an e-Postcard, you must register for the site using your Taxpayer Identification Number (otherwise known as the Employer Identification Number — EIN) and a password you create.
3. Once you complete the registration form, you will receive an e-mail with a link to click to continue. You enter the password you created and begin filling out the e-Postcard.
4. The rest of the process is two simple screens of questions, followed by a button to push to submit the e-Postcard to the IRS. As long as you have annual receipts of less than $50,000, you don’t need to have any financial data for this process.
5. I suggest printing a copy of the confirmation screen, as well as a print version of the e-Postcard itself for your records.
Please direct any questions you have to Joe Skeel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-927-8000 ext. 216.
Director of Events
Society of Professional Journalists