ISSUE

Exempt organizations are required to inform the IRS when they change their name.  There are several ways in which an institution can do this.  The “prescribed” method is on the next Form 990 you file.  But, what if you are not required to file Form 990?  Or, what if you’d like to inform them sooner?

 

SITUATION

Idaho Bible College & Seminary (IBCS) is a private college exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) and 170(b)(1)(A)(i).  They are not required to file Form 990 annually.

IBCS’s Controller calls us with an interesting question that we get occasionally.  IBCS’s board has recently voted to change their name to Idaho Theological Seminary.  They are not required to file a Form 990 annually and wonder how to inform the IRS of their name change.

“Voila,” we say.  “The IRS has a great web page entitled, ‘Change of Name – Exempt Organizations’ that gives great information on this matter.  Ultimately, you should write a letter (that may be mailed or faxed – not phoned, emailed, or text messaged) to the IRS with required elements that are stated on the web page.  Also, you need to attach a copy of the amendment to the Articles of Incorporation, and proof of filing with the appropriate state authority.”

The IRS web page may be found at:

https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/change-of-name-exempt-organizations

 

RULES

From IRS Web page, “Change of Name – Exempt Organizations”:

An exempt organization that has changed its name must report the change on its next annual return (such as Form 990 or 990-EZ).  An organization that does not file an annual return (for example, an organization that instead files (Form 990-N, the ePostcard), or an organization that is required to e-File its return, may report the change of name by letter or fax (not by phone) to Customer Account Services (the page includes a chart with instructions by entity type).

The letter or fax reporting the change of name must include your organization’s

  • Full name (both the prior name and the new name)
  • Employer Identification Number and
  • Authorized signature (an officer or trustee)

The individual signing the letter must state the capacity in which he or she is signing (for example, “John Smith, President”).

The EO Determinations Office can issue an affirmation letter showing an organization’s new name and affirming the section of the Internal Revenue Code under which IRS records show the organization as tax-exempt and whether contributions to the organization are deductible.

Internal Revenue Service
Exempt Organizations Determinations
Room 6403
P.O. Box 2508
Cincinnati, OH 45201
Fax: (855) 204-6184

 

BOTTOM LINE

  • The usual manner for reporting a name change to the IRS is on Form 990, Page 1, Item B, (check the second box, “Name change.”)
  • Schools organized under I.R.C. Section 170(b)(1)(A)(i) (Church) – or others – may not be required to file Form 990 annually.
  • An alternative method for reporting a name change to the IRS is to send a letter or fax with required/prescribed information including attaching a copy of the amendment to the Articles of Incorporation, and proof of filing with the appropriate state authority.
  • The EO Determinations Office can issue an affirmation letter showing an organization’s new name and other valuable information.

 

Specific questions? Email Dave Moja

The information provided herein presents general information and should not be relied on as accounting, tax, or legal advice when analyzing and resolving a specific tax issue. If you have specific questions regarding a particular fact situation, please consult with competent accounting, tax, and/or legal counsel about the facts and laws that apply.

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