IRS Tax-Exempt Filings and Reinstatement for VFW Posts

Tax-exempt organizations, such as Veterans of Foreign Wars posts, are required to file a Form 990 annually with the Internal Revenue Service. Anyone, including post officers, can use the Tax-Exempt Organization Search (TEOS) Tool check the status of a tax-exempt organization by EIN or name.

Failure to file the required Form 990 series returns or notices for three consecutive years, will cause the tax-exempt status to be automatically revoked. “If an organization’s tax-exempt status is automatically revoked, it is no longer exempt from federal income tax. Consequently, it may be required to file…federal income tax returns and pay applicable income taxes” (“Revoked…”).

Additionally, failure to maintain tax-exempt status and ongoing compliance with the IRS is an organizational administrative deficiency. This deficiency may be grounds for the suspension of a VFW Post Charter by the Department Commander. This deficiency may also lead to a subsequent recommendation of revocation of a Post Charter to the Commander-in-Chief.

In other words, stay compliant and make required filings on time. “Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF must be filed by the 15th day of the 5th month after the end of your organization’s accounting period. Thus, for a calendar year taxpayer, Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF is due May 15 of the following year” (“Annual”). For fiscal-year posts, Nov. 15 is filing day. Posts may request an automatic 6-month extension of time to file by using Form 8868.

If you are a small post with gross receipts normally ≤ $50,000, it takes about five minutes to file an e-Postcard (990-N). 

Reinstating Tax-Exempt Status has detailed instructions on reinstating tax-exempt status including the Revenue Procedure 2014-11 which “explains the four procedures an organization may use to apply for reinstatement.”

Referencing VFW General Counsel John Muckelbauer’s presentation, “Top 10 Operational Issues” at the 2023 Jr. Vice Commanders Training, he broke the retroactive reinstatement process into two categories:

  • Streamlined (Within 15 months)
    • Form 1024 with fee
    • Write “Revenue Procedure 2014-11, Streamlined Retroactive Reinstatement” on top of application
  • Regular Reinstatement (Over 15 Months)
    • Form 1024 with fee
    • File 990 for all missing years
    • Reasonable Cause Statement
    • Write “Retroactive Reinstatement” on top of application 

Works Cited

“Annual Exempt Organization Return: Due Date.” Internal Revenue Service, 09 June 2023, Accessed 26 Nov. 2023

“Automatic Revocation – How to Have Your Tax-Exempt Status Reinstated.” Internal Revenue Service, 24 July 2023, Accessed 25 Nov. 2023

“Charities and Nonprofits.” Internal Revenue Service, 22 Nov. 2023, Accessed 25 Nov. 2023

Muckelbauer, John (VFW General Counsel). “Top 10 Operational Issues.” Jr. Vice Commanders Training. 14 Oct. 2023, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Jr. Vice Commanders Conference, Kansas City Airport. PowerPoint presentation.

“Revoked? Reinstated? Learn More.” Internal Revenue Service, 14 March 2023, Accessed 25 Nov. 2023

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