IRS Form 990 is an informational tax form that most tax-exempt organizations must file annually. In the form is an overview of the organization's:
- Activities - a description of its mission or other significant activities (accomplishments which support it's tax exempt status iin the last year)
- Governance - the names of its officers, directors, highly compensated employees and other employees who are involved with managing the organization
- Financial information - financial details on its revenues, expenses, assets and liabilities.
Most tax-exempt organizations that have gross receipts of at least $200,000 or assets worth at least $500,000 must file Form 990 on an annual basis. Some organizations, such as political organizations, churches and other religious organizations, are exempt from filing an annual Form 990.
Tax-exempt organizations with less than $200,000 of gross receipts and less than $500,000 in assets can file Form 990-EZ, which is the "short form" version of Form 990. However, private foundations must file Form 990-PF and black lung benefit trusts must file Form 990-BL.
The shortest version of Form 990, the Form 990-N, can only be filed by organizations with gross receipts of $50,000 or less.
Below are some ways you can get an organization’s 990s. Please note, there can be a 12-18 month lag period between the end of an organization's fiscal year and when its latest Form 990 is available online:
- 990 Finder or Foundation Directory Online Quick Start are Foundation Center's free online tools, searchable by name, location, EIN, and more. You can find 990s from the last 3-5 years.
- Nonprofit Explorer
Database of summaries of 3 million tax returns from tax-exempt organizations and see financial details such as their executive compensation and revenue and expenses. You can browse IRS data released since 2013 and access over 9.6 million tax filing documents going back as far as 2001. Maintained by ProPublix, a Pulitzer Prize winning independent, nonprofit newsroom.
- Web sites of the Secretary of State or Attorney General where the organization is incorporated. Some states may make 990s and other public documents available online or upon individual request.
- The National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) provides a listing of state charity offices.
- Request them from the organization directly. Requests made in person must be fulfilled immediately, or within 30 days for a written request, with no charge other than a reasonable fee to cover photocopying and mailing expenses. Also, check their Web site for posted copies.
- Request them from the IRS. The IRS generally takes 4-6 weeks to respond, and it may bill you for copying costs.
- Some organizations post them on their websites as well.