Effective January 2017, a charitable organization that requires additional time to submit its tax form with the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) can apply for an automatic six month extension by completing the Application to Request an Extension to File an Exempt Organization Return (Form 8868).
Similarly, if a charitable organization requires additional time to submit its renewal application and other documents, it may request an extension with most states. The length of time a state may grant varies – a few states do not grant extension at all, others may grant only two or three months and several grant up to six months. Over the recent years, more states have been granting automatic extensions for organizations that have a current license by the renewal date. This has helped to eliminate processing time and save paper.
For the states that do grant extension, the request must be submitted in writing – email, online, state form or a letter. It is important, regardless of the method or length of time the organization can request, to submit the extension request on or before the date of expiration. Otherwise, the extension request may not be approved and the organization will be subject to late fees. It is also expected that the organization will cease fundraising in the state until the requisite registration is submitted and approved.