GuideStar Blog

Three Tips to Help You File a More Complete Form 990-Series Return

A tax-exempt organization using the calendar-year as its tax year must file a Form 990-series return by May 15th, unless it has filed Form 8868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File an Exempt Organization Return.

The IRS suggests organizations consider these three tips to help ensure a complete return and reduce the chances we’ll send your return back or need to request additional information:


Pay Attention to the Information Reported on Form 990—It Could Alert You to the Fact That Something Is Terribly Wrong

The college admissions cheating scandal is all over the news, and rightfully so. This story involves the rich and famous, some of the most elite universities and colleges in the nation, and a nonprofit organization that allegedly engineered more than 800 bribes and other initiatives to benefit the children of its wealthy “donors.” The scandal involved everything from cheating on college admission tests to bribing athletic departments to giving students sports scholarships that they did not deserve.


IRS Tips for Form 990 Filers

Exactly one month from today, millions of nonprofits will face the filing deadline for their annual information returns, i.e., IRS Form 990-N, 990-EZ, 990, or 990-PF. With that deadline in mind, we thought it would be a good time to share the IRS’s tips for 990 filers.


Has the Flow of Nonprofit Data Been Affected by the Government Shutdown?

People have recently asked us if the December 22, 2018-January 25, 2019, government shutdown has affected the availability of nonprofit data. Yes and no.


5 Ways to Improve Your Charity’s Transparency

It is unfortunate to say, but many people do not trust charities to use their donations appropriately. In a world of instant news, we are often faced with corruption and scandals surrounding nonprofits. Charities are held at a higher standard and need to improve their transparency in order to maintain donor trust. 

When potential donors can easily find your organization’s information, they are usually willing to be more generous with their donations. Here are five ways to improve your charity’s financial transparency.


Foundation Transparency: Game Over?

 

The tranquil world of America's foundations is about to be shaken, but if you read the Center for Effective Philanthropy's (CEP) new study -- Sharing What Matters, Foundation Transparency -- you would never know it.

Don't get me wrong. That study, like everything CEP produces, is carefully researched, insightful and thoroughly professional. But it misses the single biggest change in foundation transparency in decades: the imminent release by the Internal Revenue Service of foundation 990-PF (and 990) tax returns as machine-readable open data.


IRS Releases Electronically Filed Form 990 Data

 

At long last, the IRS has released large amounts of electronically filed Form 990 data in machine-readable format. Approximately 60 percent of the e-filed returns have been made available now on Amazon Web Services, and the IRS intends to provide monthly updates. Efforts to get the IRS to do this have been underway for almost as long as there has been e-filed data, culminating in a successful lawsuit brought by Public.Resource.Org against the IRS after it refused to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request for the electronic Form 990 records of nine organizations.


From the President's Office, September 2009

Dear Friend:


Making Your 990 Work for You

 

Do governmental forms give you the willies? Does preparing or reviewing your organization's IRS Form 990 strike terror into your heart? Don't despair. All you need is a little assistance and a new way to look at the forms.


How to Make Your Form 990 Work for You