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Montana Freemason                                             January 2018                                 Volume 94   Number 1
     rents a fl oor or a signifi cant portion of the building to  Lodge losing its tax exemption.  This can have serious
     a  business  or  individual,  the  portion  of  the  building  consequences.  First, the Lodge will be taxed as a for-
     rented out would not generally be exempt from real  profi t corporation.  Second, the Lodge could lose its real
     estate taxes.  Usually, the tax exemption is pro-rated  estate tax exemption.  And fi nally, it will be subject to
     for the portion of the building rented out.            an IRS user fee to reinstate the tax exemption.  Given
                                                            that the vast majority of our Lodges fi le the Form 990-
      In early 2016 the real estate tax exemptions for non- N ePostCard there should be no reason to lose your
     profi ts needed to be re-established with the Montana  Lodge’s tax exemption.
     Department of Revenue.  Grand Lodge assisted about
     30 Lodges with their exemption applications.  If you    Careful consideration of the various taxes that could
     missed  that  deadline,  your  Lodge  property  may  be  aff ect your Lodge should keep you out of trouble with
     assessed real estate taxes.                           the taxing authorities.

      Finally,  let’s  discuss  income  taxes.    Generally,  a   If you have questions, the fi rst place to always start
     non-profi t organization is not subject to income taxes.   is with your District Offi  cer.
     However, certain activities could subject a nonprofi t
     organization  to  Unrelated  Business  Taxable  Income
     (UBTI).  This really doesn’t aff ect the majority of our
     Lodges, but it could aff ect some.  The tax laws say
     if you are a non-profi t organization doing non-profi t
     work, you are exempt from income tax.  The exception
     to that is operating a for-profi t business inside the non-
     profi t organization.  We don’t do that, do we?
      Well, it turns out that some activities could be for-
     profi t;  paid  advertising  in  a  Lodge  newsletter,  for
     instance, or operating a hot dog stand at community
     events.  We all know these are done as fundraising for
     the Lodge, but there is a fi ne line between fundraising
     and unrelated business income.  You need to be sure
     that whatever the activity, that any funds collected are
     donations.  Once you start charging the public a set fee
     for a product or service, you could possibly enter the
     realm of taxable business income.  I discussed the IRS
     requirements for fundraising in a previous article.
      Even if your Lodge doesn’t have Unrelated Taxable
     Business  Income,  you  still  need  to  fi le  a  tax  return.
     The  required  return  for  non-profi t  organizations  is
     Form 990.  Form 990 comes in various iterations.  The
     simplest form is the Form 990-N ePostCard.  All that
     is required to fi le a Form 990-N is a few minutes at
     the IRS web site and answering eight online questions.
     The web site for the Form 990-N is https://sa.www4.
     irs.gov/epostcard/.    A  Lodge  whose  normal  annual
     receipts do not exceed $50,000 can use Form 990-N.

      If  a  Lodge’s  receipts  exceed  $50,000  but  are  less
     than $200,000 and the Lodge has total assets less than
     $500,000 the proper form to File is Form 990-EZ.  If a
     Lodge has an annual income greater than $200,000 or
     more than $500,000 in assets (including investments),
     the Lodge must fi le a full Form 990.


      Failure to fi le a Form 990-N, Form 990-EZ of Form
     990  for  three  consecutive  years  will  result  in  the

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