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2023 IRS Form 8868 Instructions

A complete guide for Nonprofits and Tax-Exempt Organizations to fill out Extension Form 8868.

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IRS Form 8868 Instructions for NonProfits and
Tax-Exempt Organizations

- Updated October 30, 2023 - 8.00 AM Admin, ExpressExtension

Nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations are required to file Form 990 with the IRS annually, on the 15th day of the 5th month following the end of their tax year. If the organization needs more time to file, they can request more filing time using Form 8868.

This article provides an overview of the nonprofit tax extension, Form 8868.

What is the purpose of IRS
Form 8868?

The purpose of IRS Form 8868 allows tax-exempt organizations to request up to
6 additional months of filing time for their information returns (990 Forms). Form 8868 can also be used by a trustee to request an extension of time to file Form 1041-A or 5227 for a trust.

Form 8868

Who can file Form 8868?

Form 8868 can be used by tax-exempt organizations to extend the filing deadline for any of the following forms:

When is the Deadline to File
Form 8868?

The deadline to file Form 8868 is the same as the deadline for the form that you’re filing for the extension.

For organizations that need an extension of their Form 990 deadline, the deadline to file form 8868 is the 15th day of the 5th month following the end of the organization’s accounting period.

For organizations that follow the calendar year, the form is due by May 15.

Form 8868

Step-by-Step Instructions to Complete Form 8868

At the top of the form, the IRS requires you to provide certain basic information about your organization.

Name of exempt organization or another filer

The name of your organization must be entered.

Number, street, and room or suite no.

Enter the suite, room, or another unit number after the street address against the address line. If the organization has a P.O. Box number, then it can be entered in the line instead of the street number.
In case a third party (such as an accountant or an attorney) receives the mail(s) on behalf of your organization, then enter “C/O” followed by the third party’s name and street address or P.O. box.

City, town or post office, state, and ZIP code

Enter the address of the organization. In case of a foreign address, enter the information in the following order: City, province or state, and Country (along with the postal code)

Note: If your organization's mailing address has changed since the last time it filed a return, use Form 8822, Change of Address, to notify the IRS about the address change. This procedure is necessary as filing Form 8868 with the new address will not update the information with the IRS records.

Return Code

The next step is to enter the Return Code of the Application for which your organization needs to file a Form 8868 extension form. For instance, if your organization needs an extension time to file its Form 1041-A, then you must enter 08 as the Return Code.

Note: The Return Code varies based on the type of form filed by the organization.

Form 8868 Return

Taxpayer identification number (TIN)

Every organization will have a unique TIN number. If filing as an exempt organization (corporations, private foundations, and trusts) enter your taxpayer
identification number.

Line 1

This line requires the following information:
  • The period until which the organization needs a 6-month extension.
  • Tax year (Fiscal or Calendar) followed by the organization.

Note: The date that is entered on line 1 cannot be later than 6 months from the original due date of the return

Line 2

The response made by the organization regarding the tax year in line 1 will reflect in line 2 of the Form. Check the appropriate box(s) in line 2. If you checked the box, Change in accounting period, make sure the organization has applied for approval to change its tax year unless certain conditions have been met.

Line 3a and 3b

Before starting with lines 3a and 3b, the organization must be aware of the return to be filed to estimate the amount of tentative tax without any nonrefundable credits.
  • If filing Forms 990-BL, 990-PF, 990-T, 4720, or 6069, enter the tentative tax without any nonrefundable credits in line 3a.
  • If filing Forms 990-PF, 990-T, 4720, or 6069, enter the tentative tax without any nonrefundable credits in line 3b.

Note: If you expect this amount to be zero, enter -0- in lines 3a and 3b.

Line 3c (Balance Due)

  • Subtract line 3b from line 3a and enter the amount (balance due) in line 3c.
  • To avoid interest and penalties, send the full balance due amount by the original due date of the return by using EFTPS (Electronic Federal Tax Payment System).

How to file Form 8868?

  • Filing Form 8868 can be done electronically or by sending the application in paper format. However, the IRS suggests filers file electronically for quick processing and to get instant approval on the extension.
  • With ExpressExtension, you can e-file your Form 8868 instantly, and the form gets transmitted to the IRS safely through our secure e-filing network authorized by the IRS.

Get Started with ExpressExtension to E-file your 8868 Form
in minutes

E-filing Form 8868 becomes easier than ever with ExpressExtension. You can complete your filing in a few simple steps:

  • Enter your organization details
  • Choose the appropriate IRS form for which you’re applying for an extension
  • Choose the organization's tax year
  • Review your return and fix errors, if any
  • Pay and e-file 8868 to the IRS

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