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IRS Forms 990: Accountability, Transparency, & Marketing. Gail T. Merridew, MPA, NMC MIECHV Grants Manager United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg gail_merridew@peoplepc.com 804.795.9009 (Home) 804.874.5334 (Cell). Purpose of Form.

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irs forms 990 accountability transparency marketing

IRS Forms 990: Accountability, Transparency, & Marketing

Gail T. Merridew, MPA, NMC

MIECHV Grants Manager

United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg

gail_merridew@peoplepc.com

804.795.9009 (Home) 804.874.5334 (Cell)

purpose of form
Purpose of Form
  • Used by tax-exempt organizations, Section 527 political organizations, and nonexempt charitable trusts to provide information to the IRS (as required by Section 6033)
  • Available for public inspection (Section 6104)
  • Primary or sole source of information about specified organizations’ programs and accomplishments

From IRS Instructions for Form 990 and Form 990-EZ

three guiding principles
Three Guiding Principles
  • Enhancing transparency to provide the IRS and the public a realistic picture of the organization and a reasonable basis for comparison to other organizations.
  • Promoting compliance and accountability by accurately reflecting the organization’s operations so the IRS may efficiently assess the risk of noncompliance.
  • Minimizing the burden for filing multiple documents with multiple entities.
filing requirements
Filing Requirements

All 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations need to make an annual filing. Generally:

  • 990-N (e-postcard) for organizations with annual gross receipts less than $50,000
  • Form 990-EZ for organizations with annual gross receipts less than $200,000 and total assets less than $500,000 at the end of the year
  • Form 990 for organizations with gross receipts greater than or equal to $200,000 or total assets greater than or equal to $500,000 at the end of the year
filing requirements1
Filing Requirements
  • Failure to file for 3 consecutive years will result in the automatic revocation of your tax exempt status.
  • Tax penalties exist for failure to make timely filings.

(A penalty of $20/day, not to exceed $10,000 or 5% of total revenue, may be charged. For organizations with $1 Million or more in total revenue, a penalty of $100/day, not to exceed $50,000, may be charged.)

accounting periods
Accounting Periods
  • Calendar Year – January 1 – December 31
  • Fiscal Year – 365/366 day period beginning with the first day of one month and ending with the last day of the previous month (e.g. July 1 through June 30) - will often coincide with the organization’s natural operating or funding cycle, where one exists.
  • Short period – an accounting period less than 12 months (may be used to move from one reporting period to another).
when to file
When to File
  • The 15th day of the 5th month after the end of the organization’s accounting period:
    • For calendar year preparers – 5/15
    • For fiscal years ending 6/30 – 11/15
    • For fiscal years ending 9/30 – 2/15
  • Automatic extensions of 3 months may be requested with Form 8868; however, reasonable cause for the additional time requested must be provided for this or additional extensions.
who is looking at your form 990
Who is looking at your Form 990?
  • IRS
  • Media
  • Job seekers
  • Other nonprofits
  • State regulators
  • Watch dog groups
  • Potential board members
  • Potential donors / funders***

*** Large foundations often have staff devoted to 990 analysis

guidestar www guidestar org
GuideStar (www.guidestar.org)
  • Using GuideStar
  • How to Find What You’re Looking for in GuideStar
  • Search Results:
    • General Information ■ Analyst Report
    • Board of Directors ■ Financial Data
    • Mission and Programs (Premium Members or $$$)
    • Goals and Results
    • Form 990 and EDOCs
documents
Documents

Funders often request one or more of the following:

  • IRS tax determination letter
  • IRS Form(s) 990
  • Annual Report(s)
  • Audited Financial Statement(s)
  • IRS Form 1023
  • Other independent financial review or compilation (infrequent)

Note: All of these can be uploaded to GuideStar!

questions
Questions?
  • Tracking non-cash donations?
  • Tracking volunteer hours?
  • Performing “comparables” checks for salaries?
  • Guidelines for conflict of interest and other governance issues?
  • Separating program, management & general, and fundraising expenses?
  • Temporary versus permanently restricted funds?
slide12

About the Presenter:

Having worked in the nonprofit and governmental sectors since 1997, Gail Merridew currently works as MIECHV Grants Manager for United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. Gail has taught the Form 990 class for Nonprofit Learning Point since 2005. As a former management consultant working predominantly with early-stage or “growth-challenged” agencies, Gail believes a combination of education, facilitation and hands-on strategies work most effectively when:

Guiding nonprofit organizations to the next level!

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