TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / IRS Tax Forms / What Is the IRS Form 990?

What Is the IRS Form 990?

Updated for Tax Year 2016


OVERVIEW

Most tax-exempt organizations must annually file IRS Form 990, an informational tax form.


IRS Form 990 is an informational tax form that most tax-exempt organizations must file annually. In a nutshell, the form gives the IRS an overview of the organization's activities, governance and detailed financial information. Form 990 also includes a section for the organization to outline its accomplishments in the previous year to justify maintaining its tax-exempt status. In collecting this information, the IRS wants to ensure that organizations continue to qualify for tax exemption after the status is granted.

Organizations that must file Form 990

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.

Information reported on Form 990

Form 990 initially requires the organization to describe its mission or other significant activities. The organization must then disclose financial details on its revenues, expenses, assets and liabilities.

The IRS also wants to ensure that the organization is worthy of maintaining its tax-exempt status and requires more details on the types of activities it engages in during the year. A significant portion of the form requires information on how the organization is governed, and specifically requests the names of its officers, directors, highly compensated employees and other employees who are involved with managing the organization. An organization that over-compensates its management may jeopardize its tax-exempt status with the IRS.

Attachments to Form 990

Part IV of Form 990 provides a detailed checklist of supporting documents that may be required depending on the answers given to a list of questions. For example, many tax-exempt organizations must file a Schedule B, Schedule of Contributors, listing all contributions it receives during the year.

A Schedule C may also be necessary to report the political activities of a tax-exempt organization. Other documents include a Schedule D to provide more detailed financial statements, a Schedule F to report the organization’s level of activity outside the United States and a Schedule G to describe the organization’s fundraising activities.

Alternatives to 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. Form 990-N is referred to as an “e-postcard” since it can only be filed online and requires minimal information. Any organization that fails to file the appropriate Form 990 for three consecutive years risks having its tax-exempt status revoked by the IRS.

Perfect for independent contractors
and businesses

Find more tax deductions so you can keep more of the money you earn with TurboTax Self-Employed.

For only $114.99$89.99*
Start for Free

Looking for more information?

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.


Security is built into everything we do
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • TURBOTAX ONLINE/MOBILE

  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Free 1040EZ/1040A + Free State offer only available with TurboTax Federal Free Edition; Offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • TurboTax Self-Employed ExpenseFinder: ExpenseFinder™ is available year round as a feature of QuickBooks Self-Employed (available with TurboTax Self-Employed, see the “QuickBooks Self-Employed Offer with TurboTax Self-Employed” details below.) ExpenseFinder™ expected late January (late February for mobile app). ExpenseFinder™ not available from within TurboTax Self-Employed for people with certain types of expenses and tax situations including paying contractors or employees, home office or vehicle actuals, inventory, self employed health insurance or retirement, asset depreciation, sale of property or vehicles, and farm income. Availability of historical transactions for import may vary by financial institution. Not available for all financial institutions or all credit cards.
  • QuickBooks Self-Employed Offer: File your 2016 TurboTax Self-Employed return by 4/18/17 and receive your complimentary subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed until 4/30/18. Activation required. Log in to QuickBooks Self-Employed by 7/15/17 via mobile app or at https://selfemployed.intuit.com/turbotax; e-mail address used for activation and log-in. Offer valid only for new QuickBooks Self-Employed customers. See QuickBooks.com for price comparison.
    • When you use TurboTax Self-Employed to file your 2017 taxes, you will have the option to renew your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription. If you do not file with TurboTax Self-Employed by 4/18/18, you will have the option of renewing your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription by 4/30/18 for another year at the then-current annual subscription rate. You may cancel your subscription at any time from within the QuickBooks Self-Employed billing section.
  • Pays for itself: In order to pay for the price of TurboTax Self-Employed, you will need at least $600 in deductible business expenses. This calculation is based on the self-employment tax income rate for tax year 2016.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Expert Help, Tax Advice and SmartLook: Included with Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed (via phone or SmartLook); not included with Federal Free Edition. Feature availability varies by device. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • CompleteCheck: Covered under the TurboTax accurate calculations and maximum refund guarantees.
  • TURBOTAX CD/DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE

  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for e-filing state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except TurboTax Business.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice via phone is included with Premier and Home & Business; fees apply for Basic and Deluxe customers. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Data Import: Imports financial data from participating companies. Quicken and QuickBooks import not available with TurboTax installed on a Mac. Imports from Quicken (2015 and higher) and QuickBooks Desktop (2011 and higher); both Windows only. Quicken import not available for TurboTax Business. Quicken products provided by Quicken Inc., Quicken import subject to change.