Form 990 - A Group Project

Posted on Wednesday, January 25, 2017

IRS Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax can appear to be a daunting task to complete.  With the core form consisting of 12 pages and the possibility of an additional 16 schedules, the form goes beyond requesting just financial information. 

The IRS’s goals for Form 990 are increased transparency, good governance and increased accountability for nonprofits.  In order to meet these goals, the IRS requests information on your organization’s mission and program services, governance practices and procedures, transactions with insiders and related organization disclosures.  In order to properly complete your organization’s Form 990, it should be a group project between management, program staff and the board.   Obtaining information from beyond the accounting department will provide a more accurate and complete document.

Beyond the Numbers

Parts VII, IX and X of Form 990 require financial information on the organization’s revenues, expenses and balance sheet; however, the following sections require nonfinancial information that most likely needs to be obtained from program staff and board members.

Part I, Summary

Description of the organization’s most significant activities
Number of volunteers

Part III, Statement of Program Service Accomplishments

Mission that has been approved by the board
Significant program changes
Program service accomplishments for the year

Part VI, Governance, Management, and Disclosure

Number of board members
Number of voting board members
Relationships between board members and management
Changes to governing documents
Policies and procedures in place

Part VII, Compensation of Officers, Directors, Trustees, Key Employees, Highest Compensated Employees, and Independent Contractors

Listing of board members and hours provided per week
Listing of key and highest paid employees and hours worked

Part XII, Financial Statements and Reporting

Disclosure of whether an audit, review or compilation was done

Schedule C, Political Campaign and Lobbying Activities

Political or lobbying activities engaged in during the year

Schedule L, Transactions with Interested Persons

Activities with board members or other disqualified persons

Schedule R, Related Organizations and Unrelated Partnerships

Activities with related organizations

Form 990 is open to public inspection so you want to make sure that all required questions have been answered and all required schedules have been completed correctly for your organization. Use Form 990 to tell your organization’s story by effectively presenting both the nonfinancial information and the financial information.

Posted by: Carrie Minnich, CPA

Posted in Mission Minded Nonprofits

Disclaimer: The information contained in Dulin, Ward & DeWald’s blog is provided for general educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial or legal advice on any subject matter. Before taking any action based on this information, we strongly encourage you to consult competent legal, accounting or other professional advice about your specific situation. Questions on blog posts may be submitted to your DWD representative.

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