Understanding the Importance of Your Form 990

The Form 990 represents a significant public relations opportunity for the organization and only those most knowledgeable of the organization are in a position to maximize the form’s public relations value.

Completing and filing the Form 990 is an important aspect of a tax-exempt organization's life cycle because it serves two functions for two important audiences.

  • Informs the public -- The Form 990 informs the public about crucial aspects of your nonprofit. Most of the pages and tables are available for public inspection, including those describing executive compensation and program expenditures. Potential donors and grantors can, and many routinely do, look at an organization's Form 990 before making decisions about charitable giving. The media and nonprofit-watchdog groups may also check out 990s.
  • Informs the IRS -- The Form 990 provides the IRS with information about your nonprofit's activities and financial status in order to demonstrate that your nonprofit still meets the qualifications for tax-exemption.

In this series, we will explore the various sections of the Form 990 to alert you of your opportunities and increase your understanding of how the information on this form is used by the IRS and your resource providers.

Read our Blog Series:
Part 1: Examining Page One of the Form 990
Part 2: How to Answer Questions on Page One of the Form 990 (Continued)
Part 3: Page Two of the Form 990, Making the Most of Part III
Part 4: Form 990: Checklist of Required Schedules
Part 5: Form 990: Compliance Requirements
Part 6: Governing Body, Policies and Disclosure Sections of the Form 990
Part 7: Form 990 Compensation Information
Part 8:  Financial Statement Portion of Form 990
Part 9: Statement of Functional Expenses

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