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IRS Form 990

Form 990 (formally, the "Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax") is a form used by the Internal Revenue Service in the United States to report financial information about a nonprofit organization to the public. It is frequently the only source of this type of information. Government agencies also utilize it to keep organizations from abusing their tax-exempt status. Many charities, such as hospitals and other health-care institutions, have more extensive reporting requirements (Schedule H).

Variants Of Form 990

Form 990-EZ

Form 990-EZ is a simplified version of Form 990. ("Short Form Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax"). For organizations with gross income of less than $200,000 and total assets of less than $500,000, this form can be utilized instead of Form 990. (there are some exceptions).

Form 990-N

Small organizations with "usually $50,000 or less" in yearly gross receipts must file the electronic Form 990-N (officially, "Electronic Notification (e-Postcard) for Tax-Exempt Organizations Not Needed to File Form 990 or Form 990-EZ"). There is no paper form for 990-N, but you can file Form 990 or Form 990-EZ instead.

Form 990-PF

Private foundations in the United States file Form 990-PF. It contains monetary information as well as a complete list of grants, among other things. The form must be submitted to the IRS 4.5 months after the foundation's fiscal year ends.

Who must file?

Most tax-exempt organizations are obliged to file Form 990 under Section 501. (a). This includes organizations described by Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c), 501(d) apostolic organizations, 501(e) cooperative hospital service organizations, 501(f) cooperative school service organizations, 501(j) amateur sports organizations, 501(k) child care organizations, 501(n) charitable risk pools, and 4947(a)(1) nonexempt charitable trusts. Organizations described in any of these sections must file Form 990 even if they have not applied for a determination letter from the IRS.

A tax-exempt organization with yearly gross receipts of less than $200,000 and assets of less than $500,000 may instead file Form 990-EZ, a shorter alternative form.

A tax-exempt organization with gross receipts of less than $50,000 per year has the option of filing a shorter alternative form, Form 990-N, instead.

Churches, including houses of worship such as synagogues and mosques, and their integrated auxiliary, organizations of churches, and any religious order that engages solely in religious activity, are exempt from filing. A school below the college level that is linked with a church or operated by a religious organization may be excluded from the requirement to file Form 990.

Best Practices

IRS Form 990 is a public document that is available after it is filed online or through other means. Good governance principles necessitate that the Form 990 be reviewed by the whole board of directors prior to submission.

  • The Form 990 also highlights other good governance procedures and obligations.
  • Donors may study your nonprofit's Form 990 before deciding whether or not to make a contribution. Consider whether the narrative sections of the form tell the story of your nonprofit in a compelling way when you write the 990. Many fundraisers consider the nonprofit's Form 990 to be a marketing tool.
  • Many nonprofits use tax preparers/accountants to complete the Form 990. You might be able to discover a certified accountant through your state's nonprofit association.
  • If you have any concerns or need assistance with Form 990, please contact the IRS's Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division.
  • If a nonprofit is registered in a state but has never been recognised by the IRS as "tax-exempt," it is not required to file an IRS Form 990.

Note: Even if your organization does not file a 990 because it falls under one of the exclusions to mandatory yearly filing with the IRS, it may still be required to file forms in the state where it is incorporated or where it engages in fundraising activities.

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