Tax 990

Form 990 Tax Filing Requirements for Employee Associations

Learn about obtaining tax-exempt status, 990 filing requirements, and your deadline.

What Should Employee Associations Know About Form
990 Filing?

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

Any organization that operates toward the furtherance of a charitable cause can obtain an exemption from paying federal income taxes under various IRS sections. For example, organizations such as churches and hospitals are eligible for tax exemption under section 501(c)(3), whereas some organizations can obtain tax exemption under section 501(c)(4).

This article explains how Employee Associations can qualify for federal tax exemption under section 501(c)(4) and exempt filing requirements.

How Does the IRS Define Employee Associations?

The IRC section 501(c)(4) defines Employee Association as a local association of employees that provides membership only to employees of a designated person or persons in a particular municipality.

The net earnings of these Employee Associations must be devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes and must not benefit any private shareholder or individual.

The IRC section 501(c)(4) also states that Employee Associations can include individuals who work for different employers.


An employee association will not be considered a local organization if its activities are limited only to the borders of a state.

How can Employee Associations Obtain 501(c)(4)
Tax-Exempt Status?

Employee Associations that are willing to operate as section 501(c)(4) organizations are required to file Form 8976, Notice of Intent to Operate Under Section 501(c)(4) electronically.

If the employee association is intended to operate under section 501(c)(4), it must notify the IRS within 60 days from the date when the organization was formed.

Along with Form 8976, these organizations can also file Form 1024-A, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code, to apply for recognition of tax-exempt status. This form must also be filed electronically.

These organizations are required to file Form 8976 even if they file Form 1024-A.

Steps to File Form 1024-A

  • Step 1:

    Register for an account on

  • Step 2:

    Search for "1024-A" in the search box and select it

  • Step 3:

    Complete the form.


Employee associations that carry out activities such as providing a bus for the members’ convenience, paying retirement and death benefits, and providing purchase discounts to members are not qualified for tax exemption under section 501(c)(4).

What are the Tax Filing Requirements for 501(c)(4)
Employee Associations?

Though 501(c)(4) Employee Associations are exempt from paying federal taxes, they are still required to file Form 990 series annually to stay tax-compliant. The details required on Form 990 by the Employee Associations include their financial information, activities, program services, etc.

The Form 990 series consists of different form variants. Employee Associations are required to choose the applicable form for them based on their gross receipts and assets.

Form 990-N - Applicable to Employee Associations with gross receipts ≤ $50,000

Form 990-EZ - Applicable to Employee Associations with gross receipts < $200,000 and
assets < $500,000

Form 990 - Applicable to Employee Associations with gross receipts ≥ $200,000 (or)
assets ≥ $500,000

Reporting Unrelated Related Business Income

501(c)(4) Employee Associations that e-file Form 990 or 990-EZ may also be required to file Form 990-T if they have an unrelated business income of $1000 or more during the corresponding tax year.

Reporting Additional Information

Along with a 990 form, 501(c)(4) Employee Associations may need to include Schedules for reporting additional information based on their activities, contributions received, and various other aspects.

When is the Deadline for 501(c)(4) Employee Associations to file Form 990?

For Employee Associations that have obtained tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(4), the deadline for filing Form 990 is the 15th day of the 5th month after their accounting period ends, i.e., May 15th for organizations following a calendar tax year.

Operating on a Fiscal Tax Year? Use our due date calculator to find your due date.

The IRS may impose penalties for Employee Associations that fail to file 990 forms on or before the deadline. These organizations may even lose their tax-exempt status if they fail to file 990 forms for 3 consecutive years.

If an employee association needs more time to prepare their 990 return, they can request a 6-month extension by filing Form 8868.

Simply File Your Employee Association’s 990 Form
with Tax990!

Tax 990 an IRS-authorized e-file provider, offers everything you need to meet your 990 filing requirements with ease and stay compliant with the IRS

Here are some of the helpful features Tax 990 offers to simplify your 990 filings:

Free 990 Schedules - Includes the required Schedules automatically for free based on the data entered on the 990 form.

Form Preparation Options - Offers Form-based and Interview style filing options for convenient
form preparation

Built-in Error Check - Error checks are built-in to review your form for any IRS errors,
increasing accuracy

Real-time Status Updates - You can opt to get instant IRS status updates on your forms via email and
text notifications

Free Retransmission - Fix the errors in your rejected 990 returns and retransmit them at no extra cost

Dedicated Customer Support - Our support team resolves your issues instantly via live chat, phone, and email

Ready to e-file your 990 Return?