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Tax deadlines for extension filers, non-profits loom

Friday, October 15 is a key deadline for an estimated 179,600 Minnesotans who requested an extension to file their 2009 federal income tax returns. It is also a crucial due date for as many as 5,500 small nonprofit organizations in Minnesota at risk of losing their tax-exempt status because they have not filed required forms in the last three years.

The IRS urges anyone involved with a small charity to review the list of at-risk organizations at or ensure someone within the entity has filed the simple, required Form 990-N, also known as the e-Postcard. Organizations on the list had not filed as of late-July and include: local sports associations and community support groups, volunteer fire and ambulance associations and their auxiliaries, social clubs, educational societies, veterans groups, church-affiliated groups, groups designed to assist those with special needs, and a variety of others.

Previously, many of these organizations did not have to file returns, but a 2006 law change requires tax-exempt organizations whose annual gross receipts are normally $25,000 or less to submit the informational e-Postcard, unless they choose to file a complete Form 990 or Form 990-EZ. Tax-exempt organizations that fail to satisfy annual filing requirements for three consecutive years automatically lose their tax-exempt status.

If an organization loses its exemption, it will have to reapply with the IRS to regain it. Any income received between the revocation date and renewed exemption may be taxable and contributions to the charity may not be deductible.

"The October 15 deadline is particularly important this year because it's the last chance for many small charities to comply with the law under the one-time relief program the IRS announced in July," said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. "And as always, it's an important deadline for taxpayers who took an extension to file their returns."

To be back in compliance, the organization simply needs to go to the IRS website, supply the eight information items called for on the form, and electronically file it by October 15.

Don't miss your 1040 deadline

The IRS expects to receive as many as 10 million tax returns from taxpayers who used Form 4868 to request a six-month extension to file their returns. Some taxpayers can wait until after October 15 to file, including those serving in Iraq, Afghanistan or other combat zone locations and some people affected by recent natural disasters.

The IRS encourages taxpayers to file electronically. E-filed returns have fewer errors and e-file used with direct deposit speeds up refunds. October 15 is the last day to take advantage of e-file and the Free File program, a fast, easy and free way to prepare and e-file federal taxes online.