Starting a Nonprofit: Annual Filing Stage

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Annual Filing Stage

Step 16: File IRS Form 990

Tax-exempt organizations are required to make their past 3 years’ Form 990 and Application for Tax Exemption (Form 1023) widely available and must present it when asked. Organizations may make their forms available in their offices or on their websites.

IRS Form 990 — Federal Return of Organizations Exempt from Income Tax. Even though a nonprofit organization may be tax exempt, it must file an annual information return with the Internal Revenue Service. Depending on the status or size of receipts and assets, a nonprofit must file a Form 990, Form 990EZ, or Form 990-N (e-postcard).

  • Form 990-N: Organizations with revenues less than or equal to $50,000/year can file an Electronic Notice (“e-Postcard”), found here.
  • Form 990-EZ: Organizations with annual revenues between $50,000-$200,000 and total assets under $500,000
  • Form 990: Organizations with annual revenues over $200,000 or total assets over $500,000

Tips for this stage

The Form 990 is also posted on GuideStar, a charitable website providing financial information and promoting accountability of nonprofits. GuideStar receives its information directly from the IRS and shares data for more than 1.8 million nonprofits nationwide. Nonprofits are encouraged to submit additional information to enhance their listings. Visit GuideStar at

Failure to file your annual Form 990 may result in penalties, and failure to file it for three consecutive years will result in the loss of your tax-exempt status. Having an organization’s 501(c)(3) status revoked is disruptive and puts the organization at risk.

Charitable organizations in Minnesota with annual revenues exceeding $750,000 must also conduct an annual audit by an independent certified accountant.

The Form 990 is the most detailed and most misunderstood filing for nonprofits. It is the most complete documentation of an organization’s financial history and is often used to hold the organization accountable for its past actions and future decisions. Nonprofit organizations are required make their Form 990 and applications for tax-exempt status widely accessible and available to anyone who requests. File Form 990 by the 15th day of the 5th month after the organization’s accounting period ends (May 15th for a calendar-year filer).

There are no fees for filing a 990, but severe penalties apply for filing late or failing to file. Mail to: Internal Revenue Service, Ogden, UT 84201-0027. 

Step 17: File Charitable Organization Annual Report Form

The Charitable Solicitation Act states that an Annual Report Form must be filed with the Minnesota State Attorney General by the 15th day of the 7th month after the close of the organization’s fiscal year. An soliciting organization must also include a copy of IRS Form 990, bank account information, and an audited financial statement, if applicable.

Filing Fees: $25. $50 late fee. Mail to: State of Minnesota, Office of the Attorney General, Charities Unit, Ste 1200, Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota St., St. Paul, MN 55101.

Step 18: File Nonprofit Corporation Annual Renewal

After an organization has filed for incorporation, it must continue to file an Annual Registration with the Minnesota Secretary of State. If any information has changed since the last annual filing, the organization will need to amend its articles of incorporation.

Failure to register by December 31 each year, regardless of your fiscal-year end, will result in the dissolution of the organization, and a $25 fee will apply to reinstate the organization’s corporate existence. Nonprofits can file their Annual Business Renewal online.