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Proposed Regulations Update Exempt Organization Reporting Requirements; Penalty Relief Provided

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Proposed Regulations Update Exempt Organization Reporting Requirements; Penalty Relief Provided

Amendments to have been proposed to update the information reporting regulations under Code Sec. 6033, which generally apply to organizations exempt from tax under Code Sec. 501(a). The proposed regulations reflect statutory amendments and certain grants of reporting relief announced through guidance that has been made since the current regulations were adopted. The amendments and grants of relief apply particularly with respect to tax-exempt organizations required to file an annual Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, or a Form 990-EZ information return.

Annual Return and Reporting Requirements
Code Sec. 6033 outlines various requirements for an annual information return to be filed by organizations that are exempt from tax under Code Sec. 501(a) or are described in Code Sec. 527, including exceptions to the filing requirement. The reporting requirements under Code Sec. 6033(h) mandate controlling organizations to include on their returns:

  • interest, annuities, royalties, or rents received from each controlled entity under Code Sec. 512(b)(13);
  • any loans made to each such controlled entity; and
  • any transfers of funds between such controlling organization and each such controlled entity.

Penalty Relief
Under Code Sec. 6104(b), the IRS must make the filed annual returns available to the public. Under Rev. Proc. 2018-38, I.R.B. 2018-31, 280, tax-exempt organizations (other than charities exempt under Code Sec. 501(c)(3) and Code Sec. 527 political organizations) were no longer required to report the names and addresses of contributors on Schedule B when filing their information returns. This change applied to information reporting for tax years ending on or after December 31, 2018, for donations above certain applicable thresholds.

However, Rev. Proc. 2018-38 has been overturned by a federal district court ( S.C. Bullock, DC Mont., 2019-2 ustc ¶50,245), which held that the IRS failed to follow the notice and comment procedures required by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

Code Sec. 6652(c)(1)(A) imposes penalties for a failure to file a return required under Code Sec. 6033, failure to include any required information, or failure to provide correct information. Under Code Sec. 6652(c)(5), the penalty is not imposed if it is shown that the failure was due to reasonable cause. Notice 2019-47 provides that the IRS will consider there to be a reasonable cause based on reliance on Rev. Proc. 2018-38 for any organizations that file Form 990 or 990-EZ and did not include on their 2018 information return such donor information as Rev. Proc. 2018-38 indicated was not required.

Proposed Amendments
The proposed amendments to the regulations would restore relief from the requirement to report contributor names and addresses on the annual returns filed by certain tax-exempt organizations that was previously provided in Rev. Proc. 2018-38 before the federal district court overturned that rule. Therefore, only organizations exempt under Code Secs. 501(c)(3) and 527 would need to continue reporting their donor information on their Forms 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF.

In addition, the proposed amendments would incorporate into the regulations the existing exception from having to file an annual return for certain organizations that normally have gross receipts of $50,000 or less, found in Rev. Proc. 2011-15, I.R.B. 2011-3, 322.