What is an IRS Form 990?
Form 990 is an annual reporting return that certain federally tax-exempt organizations must file with the IRS. It provides information on the filing organization's mission, programs, and finances.
Where does GuideStar get the 990s?
The 990s come from two sources: the IRS and the organizations themselves. The IRS sends the 990s to GuideStar as TIFF images, which GuideStar converts to PDFs and posts on the site. The database contains more than 5 million Form 990 images provided by the IRS, and new images arrive from the IRS monthly.
Form 990 images received from the IRS are posted in the "Forms 990 & Docs" tab of the filing organization's GuideStar nonprofit report.
Any organization in the database can also post PDF files of its 990s. Form 990 images received from an organization are also posted in the "Forms 990 & Docs" tab of the organization's GuideStar nonprofit report.
Do I have to pay to see 990s on GuideStar?
There is no charge to view the 990s GuideStar has received from the IRS and nonprofits, but you must create an account and sign in to access them.
How do I find 990s on GuideStar?
Why can't I find a 990 for the organization that interests me?
If there is not a Form 990 link on the "Forms 990 & Docs" tab on a nonprofit's report page, we do not have a Form 990 for the organization. There are several reasons why we might not have Forms 990 for an organization:
What organizations are required to file Form 990?
Which organizations are not required to file Form 990?
What is the difference between Form 990-PF, Form 990-N, Form 990-EZ, and Form 990?
What is the deadline for filing a 990?
There is no one date on which all Forms 990 must be submitted to the IRS. Instead, a nonprofit's filing date is determined by the end of its fiscal year (the 12-month period for which the organization plans the use of its funds); each filing organization is required to file "by the 15th day of the 5th month after" its fiscal year ends.
Organizations that file Form 990-EZ, 990, or 990-PF can also receive up to two 90-day extensions of time to file. Thus, the Form 990 for a nonprofit whose fiscal year ended on December 31, 2009, might not be filed until November 15, 2010:
No extensions are available for Form 990-N filers.
How long after an organization files its 990 with the IRS does it take for the 990 to appear on GuideStar?
It takes two months, approximately.
Why are some pages of a Form 990 blank when I print it?
This happens for some users of Acrobat Reader 6.0 and higher. The workaround is to change the print settings in Acrobat Reader. In the "Page Scaling" drop-down menu, choose" None." See a screen shot for more help.
When I looked at a 990, the donors' names were blacked out.
For most exempt organizations, donors' names and address of donors listed on Form 990 or 990-EZ are not public information. The IRS redacts—masks—this information before sending the 990 images to us. The organizations themselves must also redact information that can identify a donor before making copies of their 990s publicly available.
Only donors to private foundations and Section 527 political organizations that file Form 990 or 990-EZ are public information.
Does GuideStar make any other changes on the 990 images?
The following information may be masked on a 990 image at the filing organization's request; the organization may be charged a fee for the redaction:
Neither GuideStar nor the IRS, however, will mask other information on the 990s.
I'm a novice at reading 990s. Do you have any advice?
Yes. Here are some suggestions:
I saw a note about processing errors on a 990 I was looking at. Where can I find more information?
Please see our page about this problem. All affected 990s have been annotated on our site. If you do not see a note on a 990, that return is not affected.
I keep clicking on the link for a 990, but nothing happens.
Make sure you have pop-ups enabled for our site. For information on allowing pop-ups, check your browser's help section.
If that doesn't work and you are not using Internet Explorer or Firefox, try switching to one of those browsers.
If you continue to have problems, you may need to update your copy of Adobe Reader. You can download it for free from the Adobe Web site.
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