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GuideStar Adds First Wave of Form Year 2016 Nonprofit Data!

GuideStar Adds First Wave of Form Year 2016 Nonprofit Data!At GuideStar we generally talk about nonprofit data in terms of fiscal year. But our users—seeing the form year in the upper corner of the 990—often ask us, “What’s the difference between fiscal year and form year?”

We started to receive digital form year 2016 data earlier this fall, and we thought it might be a great time to remind people about the difference between the form year and fiscal year, highlight the importance of filing early, and tell you a little bit about the first wave of form year 2016 data we’ve added to our database.

Fiscal Year vs. Form Year

Fiscal year versus form year can be confusing, so we’ve put together the table below to help frame up the differences. As the table below shows, fiscal year represents the year in which an organization’s financial books closes. Form year, on the other hand, aligns with the beginning of an organization’s fiscal year. (Oddly enough, the IRS Business Master File uses fiscal year to record the latest 990 received from an organization.)

Fiscal Year Begins

Fiscal Year Closes

Fiscal Year

990 Form Year

Initial IRS Deadline

1st Filing Extension*

2nd Filing Extension*

7/1/2014

6/30/2015

2015

2014

11/15/2015

2/15/2016

5/15/2016

1/1/2015

12/31/2015

2015

2015

5/15/2016

8/15/2016

11/15/2016

7/1/2015

6/30/2016

2016

2015

11/15/2016

2/15/2017

5/15/2017

1/1/2016

12/31/2016

2016

2016

5/15/2017

8/15/2017

11/15/2017

7/1/2016

6/30/2017

2017

2016

11/15/2017

2/15/2018

5/15/2018

1/1/2017

12/31/2017

2017

2017

5/15/2018

8/15/2018

11/15/2018

*Organizations have an initial filing deadline of the 15th day of the 5th month after the fiscal year ends but can ask for two 3-month extensions, often delaying their filing until 11 months after fiscal year end.

Why Is This Important?

So what does the arrival of form year 2016 digital data mean for you? It means the latest data about these nonprofits is available to the GuideStar Premium and GuideStar Pro user community. As of today, our database has close to 19,000 Form 990 electronic filings and more than 21,000 990-EZ electronic filings from form year 2016! These filings come from organizations whose fiscal year began on or after 1/1/2016 and that filed on the initial IRS deadline (usually May 15 in this case) or after just one extension (August 15). Filing 990s as early as possible is seen as a best practice by funders and individual donors alike.

GuideStar has a long history of providing best-in-class information related to organizations in the non-profit sector and continues to improve on bringing that information to key constituencies. As a national leader in preparing IRS Form 990 submissions, CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA) believes filing an organization’s 990 as soon as possible after their fiscal year-end allows users of the 990s (board, management, funders, and other constituents) to evaluate that information while it is timely and relevant. The result is better decisions which allows organizations to most effectively deliver on their mission. CLA considers completion of the 990 at the same time as the annual audited financial statements to be a best practice worth striving for.”

Larry Adams, CPA, Principal
Nonprofit, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP

Highlights of the Form Year 2016 Filings

  • The 19,000 990 filings represent a little over 6 percent of the anticipated 990 filings for this form year.
  • We see an even distribution of these filings across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
  • Over 9 percent of the 990 filers have a GuideStar Seal of Transparency.
  • Approximately 30 percent of the 990 filings are from organizations with over $500,000 in revenue.
  • Public, social benefit; public safety, disaster preparedness, and relief; and animal related organizations represent a slightly higher portion of submissions—approximately 10 percent of what we anticipate for each category.
  • Education and health—general and rehabilitative related organizations represent around 3-4 percent of anticipated filings for those categories.

holly-ivel-125x175.jpgHolly Ivel is GuideStar’s director of data services.

Topics: Form 990 Efiled Form 990 Data Digital Form 990 Data
  2019 Seals of Transparency are now available!