Question:  Our nonprofit corporation filed its IRS Form 1023 many months ago and has not yet been approved as a tax-exempt charity by the IRS.  Does the corporation have to file its tax return on IRS Form 990?

Yes:  A nonprofit corporation that seeks to become a 501(c)3) tax-exempt charity must file an IRS form 990 for the period beginning the day the corporation is formed  even if the IRS has not yet approved the corporation’s application for tax exemption.  The tax return must be filed EVEN IF THE CORPORATION DID NOT HAVE ANY INCOME!

If the corporation ultimately gets its tax-exemption, but failed to file Form 990s for three consecutive years, the IRS will automatically revoke the corporation’s tax exemption.