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Nonprofit Law/501(c)(3) change of fiscal year


Hello Mr Mechanic , I am a second year tax preparer. First Coast Opera ( a local 501 (c)(3) non profit) has asked for my help. Starting on August 1 2011 they have changed their reporting year from a calendar year to a fiscal year.The fiscal year would be August 1 2011 to July 31 2012.They have filed 990-N since 2008.I have done a little research on All Experts. From what I read I believe they need to file 990 for the short year beginning Jan 1 2011 and ending July 31 2011. They have total income 34,000. My question is can they use 990 EZ to file the short year and then continue to file 990 -N for reporting the new fiscal year ( August 1 to July 31) and for years beyond? They have not changed their calender year reporting in the last 10 years.
If 990-N is not an option they can use then do they file 990 EZ for the new fiscal year reporting time period?
Thank you very much and thank you for your wonderful website.

Note on pdf page 4, right column, of the IRS instructions to Form
990-ez for 2011 which is available at:
--- Start of Excerpt ---
A short accounting period is a period of less
than 12 months, which exists when an organization first
commences operations, changes its accounting period, or
terminates. If the organizationís short year began in 2011 and
ended before December 31, 2011 (not on or after December
31, 2011), it should use the 2010 Form 990-EZ or Form 990 to
file for such short year.
---End of Excerpt---

They may then file form 990-N for the periods after that. As you may know, there is no problem missing one filing of 990-N as the only penalties kick in if the required filings are not made for three years in a row.

Harvey Mechanic, Attorney at Law -

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.  

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Harvey Mechanic


DO NOT GIVE ME INFORMATION THAT YOU WANT KEPT CONFIDENTIAL. I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.


I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.


B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.

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