The GuideStar Blog retired September 9, 2019. We invite you to visit its replacement, the Candid Blog. You’re also welcome to browse or search the GuideStar Blog archives. Onward!

GuideStar Blog

De-myth-ifying IRS Form 990

Every day we hear questions and comments about IRS Form 990 from novices and sophisticated users alike. Following are some misperceptions we encounter.

Charitable Organizations and Party Politics

It's a presidential election year, and with presidential politics comes increased scrutiny of nonprofits' lobbying and advocacy efforts. Unless they are careful, 501(c)(3) public charities that engage in political activities could find themselves endangering their tax-exempt status.

From the President's Office, June 2004


Are You Really a GuideStar Participant?

Based on actual conversations with GuideStar employees:

"I need to change my nonprofit's address, but your system won't let me," the caller states.

"Does your organization participate in GuideStar?" a GuideStar staff member inquires.

"Oh, yes, we're on your site, and you've got our 990 and everything."

"But has someone registered your organization with us and completed the GuideStar Information Form?"


Why Ratios Aren't the Last Word

About Ratios in General 

We've all heard stories about financial abuses at specific charities—concern about nonprofit wrongdoing has even drawn Congressional attention. Some donors and charity watchdogs advocate using financial ratios to evaluate charities and ferret out the ones that are using their funds inappropriately. These groups and individuals argue that any organization whose ratios fall below certain levels should be regarded with suspicion.