Proof of life: In a few months, this term could have important implications for small organizations (less than $25,000 in expenses) and their nonprofit status; so read on and prepare. It used to be that a nonprofit could lie dormant (or forget to file its 990) for years -- decades even -- without being de-registered by the IRS. But now small groups must file their Form 990N before October 15, 2010 in order to show they are still alive; otherwise they will automatically lose their tax exempt status.
Click here for the IRS web page where you can get the information and complete the form. Note that the October 15 deadline is an extension from the date stated on the site.
The good news about this new regulation requiring nonprofits to file once a year is that it will help correct the falsely inflated number of nonprofits on the books. The bad news is that some great organizations with less than $25,000 in expenses likely won't realize they need to file. If you're on the board of a small nonprofit: make sure you check this out. Better to complete the eight questions now (even if you aren't completely sure of the answers) than to have to re-apply for nonprofit status.