The IRS has updated Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax to help tax-exempt organizations avoid common mistakes when filing their annual return.

The updated 990-EZ includes 29 help icons describing key information to complete many of the fields in the form. The icons also provide links to additional information on to help small and midsized exempt organizations avoid common mistakes when filling out the form.

The newly updated Form 990EZ with the question mark icons
The newly updated Form 990EZ with the question mark icons

In 2016, the error rate for e-filed 990-EZ returns was only 1 percent, compared with the 33 percent error rate in paper-filed returns. In 2016, the IRS processed more than 263,000 990-EZs, with 139,000 of those on paper.

“One out of three paper filers has an error on their form,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in a statement.

On the new form, the help icons are marked in boxes with a blue question mark. The icons and underlying links work on any device with Adobe Acrobat Reader and internet access. Filers can print the completed 990-EZ and mail it to the IRS.

A list of providers assisting with e-filing is on

The help icons do not replace the 990-EZ instructions. The IRS also reminds exempt organizations that 990-series returns are due on the 15th day of the fifth month after an organization’s tax year ends.

Jeff Stimpson

Jeff Stimpson is a veteran freelance journalist who previously served as editor of The Practical Accountant.