Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Form 990 Filing Requirements

Larger organizations required to file an annual information return are well into the preparation process of the new Form 990 for 2008. Many of these are due at November 15th. However, now is the time for smaller organizations to start preparing for conquering the new form for the 2009 tax year. For 2009, all organizations with gross receipts over $500,000 or assets greater than $1,250,000 will have to file the Form 990. Some of these organizations may not be ready to tackle the new form, so following are some helpful tips.
  • Find a preparer who is preparing several of these forms. This isn't a form that is easy to complete and organizations need competent professionals to help them navigate the form.

  • Have the board adopt a conflict of interest policy, a document retention policy and a whistleblower policy before the end of 2009.

  • Review the composition of the board of directors - does the organization need to increase the number of independent directors?

  • Review the revenue and expense reporting to determine if the necessary information can be easily obtained from the current accounting system.

  • Consider taking a class on the Form 990. This is good even for the executives that are not the "numbers" people of the organization. A three hour course will be offered as a part of the 2009 Ultimate Financial & Legal Conference hosted by my firm October 26th & 27th. There is still time to register.

  • Print the form from the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov/ and see all the information that will be required. Don't wait until it is time to file the form to figure out what it's all about!

With the returns for 2010, all organizations with gross receipts greater than $200,00 will be required to file the full Form 990. Organizations with gross receipts of $50,000 to $200,000 will be filing Form 990-EZ. Organizations with gross receipts of less than $50,000 will file the Form 990-N or the epostcard.


  1. Is there an exception for churches/religious organizations in regard to filing the form 990? I understood even with the recent changes that a church/religious organization is exempt from filing the form 990.

  2. These rules only apply to organizations that have a Form 990 filing requirement. Currently churches are not required to file Forms 990.