Step 16: File IRS Form 990
Tax-exempt organizations are required to make their past 3 years’ Form 990 and Application for Tax Exemption (Form 1023) widely available and must present it when asked. Organizations may make their forms available in their offices or on their websites.
IRS Form 990 — Federal Return of Organizations Exempt from Income Tax. Even though a nonprofit organization may be tax exempt, it must file an annual information return with the Internal Revenue Service. Depending on the status or size of receipts and assets, a nonprofit must file a Form 990, Form 990EZ, or Form 990-N (e-postcard). Generally, charities with more than $200,000 in gross receipts or $500,000 in total assets must file the Form 990 information return, the most comprehensive of the three formats. Failure to file will result in large fines or revocation of tax-exempt status.
Charitable organizations in Minnesota with annual revenues exceeding $750,000 must also conduct an annual audit by an independent certified accountant.
The Form 990 is the most detailed and most misunderstood filing for nonprofits. It is the most complete documentation of an organization’s financial history and is often used to hold the organization accountable for its past actions and future decisions. Nonprofit organizations are required make their Form 990 and applications for tax-exempt status widely accessible and available to anyone who requests. File Form 990 by the 15th day of the 5th month after the organization’s accounting period ends (May 15th for a calendar-year filer).
There are no fees for filing a 990, but severe penalties apply for filing late or failing to file. Mail to: Internal Revenue Service, Ogden, UT 84201-0027.