Use this guide as a quick reference to find important information on nonprofit groups from the forms they’re required to file with the Internal Revenue Service.
Most federally tax-exempt groups must complete a 990, a 990-EZ, or a 990-N. Churches and state organizations are exempt. (Foundations must file a 990-PF.)
This guide shows where to find information in the 990, the 990-EZ, and any attached schedules. The 990-EZ is mentioned only where it covers a particular topic.
(The 990-N, filed by tiny groups, is essentially an e-postcard with only the most basic information.)
I want to find information on a charity’s …
… total revenue.
Go to Form 990, Part I, Line 12, which includes contributions and grants, program-service revenue, investment income, and other revenue.
On Form 990-EZ, go to Part I, Line 9.
… contributions and grants.
For the total, go to the Form 990, Part I, Line 8.
For a breakdown of the sources — federated campaigns, membership dues, fundraising events, related organizations, government grants, and so forth — go to Part VIII, Lines 1a-1h
On the 990-EZ, contributions, gifts, grants, and other assistance are totaled in Part I, Line 1.
Certain nonprofits must report who donated, directly or indirectly, money, securities, or another type of property totaling $5,000 or more. For a list of such contributors, go to Schedule B. (For the rules on listing contributors, see the instructions for Schedule B.) LINK TO https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f990ezb.pdf)
For a list of noncash contributions such as artworks, books and other publications, clothing, cars, intellectual property, securities, real estate, food inventory, and drugs and medical supplies, go to Schedule M.
Certain organizations, such as those that normally receive a substantial part of their support from the government or from the public, also fill out Schedule A, Part II, which computes the percentage of total support that comes from the public and provides some details.
… program-service revenue.
For the total, go to Form 990, Part I, Line 9.
For a breakdown of the sources, go to Part VIII, Lines 2a-2g.
On Form 990-EZ, go to Part I, Line 2.
… investment income.
For the total, go to Form 990, Part I, Line 10.
For a breakdown of the sources (dividends and interest, proceeds from tax-exempt bonds, and so forth), go to Part VIII, Lines 3, 4, and 7d.
On Form 990-EZ, go to Part I, Line 4 for the total.
… unrelated business income.
Unrelated business income usually comes from a trade or business that is regularly carried out by an organization but is not substantially related to furthering its mission, such as some sales revenue from a hospital gift shop.
For the total, go to the main Form 990, Part I, Line 7a.
To find out how much is taxable, see Line 7b.
For a breakdown of the sources of unrelated business income, go to Part VIII, Column C.
For more detail, go to Schedule T, which includes unrelated trade or business income, deductions, tax information, statements regarding these activities, and more.
On Form 990-EZ, go to Part V, Lines 35a-35b. More detail may be provided on Schedule T.
… other revenue.
For the total, go to Form 990, Part I, Line 11.
For a breakdown of the sources — royalties; net rental income or loss; and net income (or loss) from fundraising events, gaming activities, and sales of inventory — go to Part VIII, Lines 5, 6d, and 8-11e.
On the 990-EZ, go to Part I, Line 8.
See the resource section to find out where you can download charities’ tax forms and instructions, data on big grants and donations, and other information.
Organizations are required to file their 990s by the 15th day of the fifth month after the end of their fiscal year — so for groups that follow the calendar year, May 15. But nonprofits can get an automatic 90-day extension and may request a second one. So it’s common for a form due on May 15 not to be filed until mid-November. If a charity has filed its forms but they’re not yet available on a database like GuideStar or ProPublica, you may be able to get a copy sooner by contacting the nonprofit directly.
Most federally tax-exempt organizations must complete a 990 as a condition of their tax status. Churches and state organizations are exempt.
Nonprofits that have gross receipts of less than $200,000 and total assets of less than $500,000 may file a Form 990-EZ, which requires less information than the full 990. Those that normally bring in less than $50,000 can file a 990-N e-postcard, which shows only very basic information, including the name and address of the group and the principle officer and confirmation of its gross receipts.
The Chronicle’s 990 guides were compiled by Alex Daniels, Marilyn Dickey, Joshua Hatch, Megan O’Neil, Timothy Sandoval, and Eden Stiffman, with assistance from Lori Budnick, a CPA and partner at BlumShapiro, and Brian Mittendorf, a professor of accounting at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.