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Tax-exempt Organizations that Paper Filed Form 990 During COVID-19 can Expect Delays

CPAs & Business Consultants


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The IRS acknowledges delays in processing and posting certain content to the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search tool due to COVID-19:

  • IRS determination letters issued March 2020 and later
  • Paper-filed 990-series returns received April 2020 and later

From March 26 through all of April, the IRS stopped handling their mail due to COVID-19 safety concerns causing a backlog of processing all mailed correspondence, including mailed Form 990 returns as well as mailed tax payments.

Waiting for important paperwork for your organization can be difficult, creating the urge to want to ask the IRS for answers. The IRS requested filers not to contact them about the status of their returns during this time. Applications for tax exemption and filed Form 990 series returns are being worked on; however, there will be a delay in posting on the Tax Exempt Organization Search tool on IRS.gov.

If your 990 return was paper filed, the answer is not to resubmit electronically as this would cause a doubling up on filings. It is best to be patient and allow time for the IRS to catch-up.

Recently, the IRS mandated that tax-exempt organizations file Form 990 electronically. Mandatory online tax filing will be kicking in for most organizations in 2021 and will be in full effect for all organizations by 2022.

For more information on IRS COVID-19 mission-critical functions and delays, please visit the IRS website at: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-operations-during-covid-19-mission-critical-functions-continue.

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