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Nonprofits Take on the COVID-19 Crisis: Federal and New York Filing Extensions for Nonprofits

In an effort to provide additional relief in response to the COVID-19 emergency, the Internal Revenue Service and the New York Attorney General’s Charities Bureau have announced filing extensions for exempt organizations. 

Notice 2020-23, issued by the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service on April 9, 2020, provides an automatic extension until July 15, 2020 for exempt organizations that are required to file Forms 990, 990-PF, 990-EZ, 990-N, and 990-T on or after April 1 and before July 15, 2020.  The extension also applies to Form 4720 for charitable organizations and certain individuals, including managers and disqualified persons, with respect to excise tax reporting and payment obligations under Internal Revenue Code Chapters 41 and 42.  The Notice explicitly refers to Forms 990-PF, 990-T and 4720 and also covers the remaining Form 990 series by cross-reference to Revenue Procedure 2018-58. 

The extended federal filing deadline is automatic and no action is required by exempt organizations to take advantage of the postponement.  However, if an organization needs additional time to file beyond July 15, 2020, an extension form (Form 8868) must be filed by July 15, 2020 and an extension will not be granted past the applicable statutory or regulatory extension period.   By way of example, the annual 2019 return filing deadline of an exempt organization that operates on a calendar year (a year ending December 31) is usually May 15.  Pursuant to Notice 2020-23, the deadline will automatically be extended to July 15, 2020.  Any additional extension will require the organization to file an extension request, and  this extension if granted will require filing by a due date of November 15, 2020 (six months after the usual due date of May 15, 2020).

For charitable organizations that are required to register and file annually with the New York Attorney General’s Charities Bureau, the Charities Bureau has provided a six-month extension to file the annual CHAR500 financial report (and related documents) for any organization with a filing deadline originally after February 15, 2020.  The extended filing deadline is in addition to the automatic six-month extension that the Charities Bureau currently grants.  For a registered organization that operates on a calendar-year basis, the organization’s filing deadline for the 2019 CHAR500 would typically be May 15, 2020 and may be automatically extended for six-months to November 15, 2020.  Under the recently announced additional extension, the CHAR500 filing will now automatically be extended an additional six months to May 15, 2021.