New editions of the State Legislative Tracker and The Policy Tracker available now!

IRS Form 990

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Policypedia Civil Liberties-logo-no background.png
Nonprofit regulation

This page is part of the Privacy Policy Project

Horizontal-Policypedia logo-color.png
IRS Form 990, titled “Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax”, is a report that must be filed each year with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by organizations exempt from Federal income taxes under IRS code, section 501.[1] These organizations have annual receipts at "normally" more than $25,000 a year.[1] The form is an information return and not an income tax return since the organizations that file it do not pay income taxes.[1]


The Form 990 serves two essential purposes: it provides information that helps government agencies enforce the laws that govern nonprofits.[1] The Form 990 also provides a great deal of financial information about the filing organization’s financial condition and about the sources of its income.[1]

Which organizations must file?

IRS building in Washington, D.C.

An organization which "normally" receives more than $25,000 a year, if its gross receipts for the immediately preceding three tax years average $25,000 per year or more, must file Form 990.[1]

Organizations with gross receipts of less than $100,000 and total assets less than $25,000 at the end of the year may file a short-form Form 990 called Form 990-EZ.[1] Organizations that are classified as private foundations (generally organizations that receive funding from a very few sources) are required to file a Form 990-PF.[1]


Many different kinds of nonprofit organizations are exempt under section 501 of the Code.

  • Faith-based organizations.[2] Churches are not required to file a Form 990 but may do so voluntarily.[1]
  • Subsidiaries of other nonprofits.[2]
  • Nonprofits not in the system yet. If you are a nonprofit in your state but haven't applied to the IRS for exemption from federal income tax, you don't have to file a Form 990.[2]
  • Religious schools.[2]
  • Missions or missionary organizations.[2]
  • State institutions. Some state institutions are exempt because they provide essential services (a university is an example).[2]
  • Government corporations.[2]


The Form 990 has 16 supplemental forms, known as schedules, which vary in terms of what must be filed and who must do so.[3]


The Form 990 is a public document, and increasingly accessible online.[1] An organization’s Forms 990 for the preceding three years must be kept on file and shown to anyone who requests to see them. In addition, copies of these forms must be given to anyone who requests them and who pays a reasonable copying fee ($1 for the first page and 15 cents for every page thereafter).[1] Furthermore, most Forms 990 beginning with the year 1997 are being posted online by organizations such as the National Center for Charitable Statistics and Guidestar, nonprofit groups in the Washington D.C., area, which allow users to view Form 990 documents electronically.[1]


The Form 990 Schedule B, which requires organizations to list the names and addresses of contributors who give over $5,000, has created some concern for organizations about the privacy of their donors. Schedule B attachments are available for public inspection if an organization files a Form 990-PF or if a 527 group files a Form 990 or Form 990-EZ. For all other organizations, the IRS keeps the Schedule B information private. It also advises organizations not to send Schedule B information to states, unless otherwise requested, because that might unintentionally make information about contributors public. In December 2014, a federal lawsuit was filed challenging the California Attorney General request that organizations turn over copies of Schedule B attachments. Currently, California, New York, and New York are the three states that request Schedule B disclosure information about donors when groups file annual financial reports with the state.[4][5]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "'IRS + Form + 990"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

IRS Form 990 News Feed

  • Loading...

See also

External links


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 How to Read the IRS Form 990 & Find Out What it Means
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Things You Need to Know About Form 990
  3. Internal Revenue Service, "Schedules For Form 990," accessed February 9, 2015
  4. U-T San Diego, "Is AG ignoring lessons from IRS scandal?," December 10, 2014
  5. Internal Revenue Service, "Schedule B," accessed February 9, 2015