Form 990 Filling For Animal Rescue Organizations: A Tax990 Guide

While Animal Rescue Organizations are tax-exempt, there’s still certain information regarding their financial activities that must be reported to the IRS annually. This is done by filling out a Series 990 Form.

This article details how animal rescue organizations are defined by the IRS, how they can apply for tax-exempt status, and important annual filing requirements/dates to remember.

How Does the IRS Define Animal Rescue Organizations?

Animal Rescue Organizations are formed with the sole purpose of preventing cruelty to animals.

Generally, these organizations are involved in the rescue of:

  • Strayed, abandoned, and/or injured animals.
  • Animals in danger of euthanization.
  • Animals whose owners are no longer able to care for them.

In addition to providing rescue, these organizations also work to provide food, shelter, medical treatment, and adoption opportunities.

How Can Animal Rescue Organizations Obtain Tax-Exempt Status?

Organizations that exist solely for the purpose of preventing cruelty against animals can qualify as tax-exempt under the IRC section 501(c)(3).

To do so, animal rescue organizations should apply for federal tax exemption using Form 1023 – Streamlined Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code – and then submit it to the IRS.

Animal rescue organizations with gross receipts of $5,000 or less can apply for tax-exempt status by filing Form 1023-EZ with the IRS.

Which 990 Form Do Animal Rescue Organizations File?

After obtaining tax-exempt status, animal rescues (and other nonprofit organizations) must still report certain information about their financial status and activities. Depending on a few factors (gross receipts/assets, namely), organizations will file the applicable form:

  • Form 990-N: Filed by Animal Rescue Organizations with gross receipts of $50,000 or less. 
  • Form 990-EZ: Filed by Animal Rescue Organizations with gross receipts less than $200,000 & total assets less than $500,000.
  • Form 990: Filed by Animal Rescue Organizations with gross receipts greater than $200,000 or total assets greater than $500,000.

Keep in mind that organizations may be required to report additional information (through the use of Schedules) based on the details reported on their Form 990 or 990-EZ return.

Additionally, any organization that file Form 990 or 990-EZ and has unrelated business income of $1,000 or more during the tax year must file Form 990-T.

When is the Due Date for Animal Rescue Organizations to File Form 990?

Generally, most nonprofit organizations must file their 990 form by the 15th day of the 5th month following the end of their accounting period. 

For example, organizations following the calendar tax year will have a May 15th deadline.

If your organization is operating on a fiscal tax year, you can use the table below to figure out your 990 deadline!

Fiscal year begins Fiscal Year ends Deadline to file 990-type forms
January 1st December 31st May 15th
February 1st January 31st June 15th
March 1st February 28th July 15th
April 1st March 31st August 15th
May 1st April 30th September 15th
June 1st May 31st October 15th
July 1st June 30th November 15th
August 1st July 31st December 15th
September 1st August 31st January 15th
October 1st September 30th February 15th
November 1st October 31st March 15th
December 1st November 30th April 15th

Note: If your organization’s deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or any federal holiday, the deadline will be pushed back to the next business day.

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