In describing its programs, a foundation should be able to provide a fairly good overview of its activities. By comparing the amounts spent on each program, the prospect researcher may derive some sense of their relative importance to their cause. This is the only part of the Form 990-PF where you can pick up descriptive data about a foundation’s activities and this qualitative information can be helpful for putting all the numbers in the Form 990-PF in context. If the prospect researcher knows something about some or all of an organization’s board members, their identity can provide significant information, since the quality of its board members may reflect on the foundation itself.

What‘s Important about Form 990?

It’s important to pay attention to the following areas.

Program Service Accomplishments: Part III

Part III of Form 990 is an opportunity for an organization to tell its story. The section includes descriptions of the organization’s mission, changes in programs, and program accomplishments. It can provide readers information that may not come through in the rest of the organization’s return.

Form 990 is the only federal return that can use adjectives, and this section is often a focus for grantors and donors.

Governance: Part IV

Form 990, Part IV contains a series of questions about governance, management, and policies.

The governance section asks questions such as:

Are board members independent, and what relationships do they have with each other outside of their board role?Who manages the organization?Were significant changes made to the governing documents?Does the organization have members, and what is their role in governance?Are governance decisions documented?

The policy…  Ещё

It includes fiscal information and a complete list of grants, among other information. The form is due to the IRS 4.5 months after the end of the foundation’s fiscal year. Make sure to do your research and keep track of your nonprofit’s gross receipts throughout the year so you know which form to complete when your filing deadline approaches. Being prepared in this way saves your organization time and helps ensure your form will be approved. For tax year 2020 and later, your organization must file all 990 forms electronically using an IRS authorized e-file provider. If your organization fails to e-file, it may be assessed with penalties from the IRS, even if a paper tax return is submitted.

Who files the IRS Form 990? Which Form 990 do we file?

It provides information on our mission, programs and finances, and includes details of executive compensation. Certain business relationships among officers, directors, key employees and their family members also are detailed in this filing. Form 990 is the Internal Revenue Service form entitled Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. This federal form must be filed annually by tax exempt organizations. However, some organizations such as churches are exempt from filing, and small organizations are allowed to file Form 990-EZ. The information provided on Form 990 is public information and is available from the website For the 2008 tax year, the Internal Revenue Service has revised IRS Forms 990 and 990-EZ, its informational returns for nonprofit organizations.

The Form 990 is the reporting form that many federally tax-exempt organizations must file with the IRS each year. This form allows the IRS and the general public to evaluate a nonprofit’s operations; it includes information on the nonprofit’s mission, programs, and finances. 990-N tax forms are filed by tax-exempt organizations whose gross receipts are normally $50,000 or less. This page provides a link to search for and view 990-N filings, or you can download a complete list of organizations.

Tax Assurance

For plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2009, the federal Form 5500 and its schedules must be filed electronically under the computerized ERISA Filing Acceptance System. The Department of Revenue does not currently accept these electronically filed returns. Therefore, file a hard copy of the electronically filed federal form with Georgia. Having to file a 990 form for your nonprofit can seem like a major, unexpected annoyance, but doing so is not as bad as it may seem. If you stay on top of your organization’s finances and other information, this process should be easier than filing your own taxes.


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