Tax 990

Form 990 Tax Filing Requirements for Animal Rescues

An overview of applying for tax-exempt status, 990 filing requirements, and IRS deadlines.

What Should 501(c)(3) Animal Rescues Know About
Form 990 Filing?

- Updated August 14, 2023 - 2.00 PM - Admin, Tax990

One of the greatest benefits a nonprofit organization can have is federal tax exemption. The IRS grants federal tax exemption to organizations that operate for educational and charitable purposes. These organizations are exempt from paying federal taxes.

This article provides an overview of how animal rescue organizations can apply for tax-exempt status from the IRS, and what the filing requirements are once they’ve obtained this.

How does the IRS Define Animal Rescues?

Animal rescue organizations are formed by a group of volunteers with the sole purpose of presenting cruelty
to animals.

Generally, these organizations are involved in the rescue of,

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

In addition to rescuing animals in danger, animal rescue Organizations work to provide food, shelter, medical treatment, and adoption Opportunities.

How Can Animal Rescues Obtain Tax-Exempt Status?

Organizations that exist for the sole purpose of preventing cruelty against animals can qualify as tax-exempt under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501(c)(3).

Therefore, animal rescues can apply for federal tax exemption. To apply they must file Form 1023, Streamlined Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, with the IRS.

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

Are there any limitations for 501(c)(3) Animal Rescues?

Yes! The IRS has established certain limitations for Animal Rescues that obtained federal tax exemption under section 501(c)(3).

  • None of the animal rescue’s earnings can benefit an individual or private shareholder.
  • The IRS limits the organization’s ability to participate in political or lobbying activities.
  • Animal resources are forbidden from partaking in illegal activities or other activities that violate their fundamental policies.

What are the 990 filing requirements for Animal Rescues?

Once an animal rescue organization is granted federal tax exemption, they are required to file an annual Form 990 Series with the IRS to report their revenue, expenses, activities, program services, compensation information, and more.

The financial size and structure of the organization will determine which 990 Series Form they are required
to file.

  • Form 990-N - Applicable for Animal Rescues with gross receipts less than or equal to $50,000
  • Form 990-EZ - Applicable For Animal Rescues with gross receipts less than $200,000 and assets less than $500,000
  • Form 990 - Applicable for Animal Rescues with gross receipts equal to or greater than $200,000 (or) assets equal to or greater than $500,000
  • Form 990-PF - Applicable for Animal Rescues that are classified as Private Foundations.

Additional Filing Requirements for Animal Rescues

  • Animal Rescues that file Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF may be required to file Form 990-T if they generate an unrelated business income of $1000 or more.
  • Based on the information entered on the 990, organizations may be required to complete and attach additional 990 Schedules

When is the 990 Deadline for Animal Rescues?

The deadline for all tax-exempt organizations to file their 990 return, is the 15th day of the 5th month after their accounting period ends. If the Animal Rescue follows a calendar year, then the deadline to file their 990 return with the IRS is May 15th.

Operating on a Fiscal Tax Year? Find your organization’s 990 deadline.

If the due date falls on a weekend or federal holiday, the tax returns should be filed on the next business day.

It’s important that the Animal Rescues file their 990 returns on time, as failing to do so will result in penalties from the IRS.

Simple and Secure 990 E-filing from Tax990!

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