Tax 990

Form 990 Tax Filing Requirements for Black Lung Benefit Trusts

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

What Should 501(c)(21) Black Lung Benefit Trusts Know About Form 990 Filing?

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

The purpose of nonprofits varies depending on the type of organization. However, the IRS established a number of IRC sections that lay out the federal tax exemption requirements for each type of organization.

In this article, you will find an overview of the requirements for a Black Lung Benefit Trust to obtain and maintain federal tax exemption from the IRS.

Black Lung Benefit Trusts - An Overview

Coal mine operators and workers in similar situations that are regularly exposed to harmful coal dust are at a high risk of suffering from Black Lung Disease.

IRC Section 501(c)(21) was added by the IRS under the Federal Black Lung Benefit Act of 1969. This requires companies to offer certain benefits to coal mine workers that are suffering from Black Lung Disease as a result of prolonged exposure to coal dust during their employment.

Organizations that operate for the purpose of serving those with Black Lung Disease are classified as Black Lung Benefit Trusts.

Are Black Lung Benefit Trusts Tax-Exempt?

Yes! The Black Lung Benefits Revenue Act of 1977 provided a federal tax exemption for Black Lung
Benefit Trusts.

However, these trusts must meet certain requirements to qualify for federal tax exemption under IRC section 501(c)(21). These requirements include,

  • Being organized in the United States and established in accordance with a written instrument IRC Section 501(c)(21).
  • Oral trusts are insufficient, even if valid under state law.
  • The trust’s terms should specify that none of its assets may be used for or intended for any purpose not specified in IRC Section 501(c)(21)(B).
  • The trust must be irrevocable, without any possibility of reversion of either corpus or income to the coal mine operator (except for the recovery of the operator’s excess contributions).

How Can Black Lung Benefit Trusts Apply for Tax Exemption?

Any organization that needs to be recognized as a tax-exempt Black Lung Benefit Trust under the IRC section 501(c)(21) must file Form 1024, Application for Recognition for Exemption Under Section 501(a) or
Section 521.

Form 1024 must be filed electronically. The most recent version of this form can be found on

What are the 990 filing Requirements for Black Lung
Benefit Trusts?

Until the tax year 2020, section 501(c)(21) Black Lung Benefit Trusts were required to file Form 990-BL with the IRS every year as part of their annual filing requirements.

However, starting from the 2021 tax year, section 501(c)(21) Black Lung Benefit Trusts can now file Form 990 (or its variants) to report their annual information to the IRS.

The following 990 Series Forms can be filed by Black Lung Benefit Trusts,

  • Form 990-N - Black Lung Benefit Trusts with gross receipts of $50,000 or more.
  • Form 990 - Black Lung Benefit Trusts with gross receipts of $200,000 or more (or) assets of
    $500,000 or more.

Additional Filing Requirements for Black Lung Benefit Trusts

  • Based on the information entered on the 990 Black Lung Benefit Trusts may be required to complete and attach additional 990 Schedules.
  • Black Lung Benefit Trusts that file Form 990 may also be required to file Form 990-T if their Unrelated Business Income (UBI) during the corresponding tax year is $1000 or more.

When is the Deadline for Black Lung Benefit Trusts to
file Form 990?

Black Lung Benefit Trusts that obtained federal tax exemption under the IRC section 501(c)(21) must file Form 990 by the 15th day of the 5th month after their accounting period ends. So, the deadline for trusts following a calendar tax year is May 15th.

Operating on fiscal tax year? Use our due date calculator to find your 990 deadline.

Black Lung Benefit Trusts that fail to file their 990 forms on time, may be subjected to penalties from the IRS. Learn More about Penalties.

Tax990 is Here to Simplify Black Lung Benefit Trusts’
990 Filings!

Tax990 is here to help simplify the process of completing your organization’s 990 filing requirements!

Tax990 is an IRS-authorized e-file provider that supports the e-filing of all the 990 series forms, including Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF, 990-N, and 990-T.

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