Question: Is e-postcard necessary?

Does our PTO need to file an e-postcard with the IRS? Our gross receipts are less than $25,000 a year. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

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Advice from PTO Today

Elly writes:

All groups registered with the IRS as nonprofits under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code must file an annual IRS information return. This is like a tax return, with the big exception that you don’t have to write that nasty check to go with it—because you’re a nonprofit.

Groups that have gross receipts of less than $25,000 for the year, like yours, file the e-postcard return. And just like sending a real post card is a nice way to keep in touch without the trouble of writing a whole letter, Elly says the e-postcard is about keeping in touch with the IRS without going to the trouble of filling out a whole return. C’est bon.

The information return is IRS Form 990, and it must be filed by the 15th day of the fifth month after the close of your fiscal (financial) year. (Hey, Elly didn’t make this rule; you were expecting something simple from the government?) For example, if your fiscal year ends July 31, your return is due by Dec. 15.

The e-Postcard is officially Form 990-N. It’s a simplified version of Form 990, which you must file if your revenue is $100,000 or more, and Form 990-EZ, which covers groups with revenue from $25,000 to $100,000. There is no fee to file Form 990-N, and it can only be completed and filed electronically. Just go to, fill in the appropriate information, and submit the form. You’ll need to have your group’s employer identification number (EIN) handy when you do file. Note that this site is run by the Urban Institute in partnership with the IRS. You don’t file the e-postcard on the IRS site.

Feel free to call the IRS folks at 877-829-5500 if you have any questions about filing Form 990-N or need additional information about your group’s tax-exempt status. Despite their reputation, Elly has found the IRS people who deal with nonprofits quite helpful. You can also find more information on the IRS webpage about Form 990-N.

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