Instructions for Form 990-EZ - Introductory Material


Future Developments

For the latest information about developments related to Form 990, 990-EZ and the related instructions, such as legislation enacted after they were published, go to www.irs.gov/form990ez.

What's New

2013 Significant Changes

The General Instructions:

  • Clarify that a short period return cannot be filed electronically unless it is an initial or final return for which the “Initial return” or “Terminated” checkbox is checked in Item B, of the Form 990-EZ Heading.

  • Explain that if a Form 990-N filer changes its accounting period, it must report this change either on Form 990, Form 990-EZ or Form 1128, Application To Adopt, Change, or Retain a Tax Year, or by sending a letter to the IRS.

Completing the Heading of Form 990-EZ, Items A-M:

  • Form 990-EZ has a new Item K with checkboxes for the form of the organization (corporation, trust, association, or other).

  • Item B instructions clarify what documentation must be attached to Form 990-EZ to support an organization’s name change.

  • Item B instructions clarify what documentation must be attached to Form 990-EZ by an organization that has terminated, dissolved, merged, or had its exemption revoked by the IRS.

  • Item H instructions clarify when an organization can exclude from Schedule B contributors that fall below the greater than $5,000 or 2% threshold.

Part I, Revenue, Expenses, and Changes in Net Assets or Fund Balances:

  • Line 1 instructions clarify that discounts on services cannot be reported as contributions.

  • Line 7b instructions clarify the cost reported on this line.

  • Line 13 instructions clarify how to report expense payments and reimbursements to contractors.

Part IV, List of Officers, Directors, Trustees, and Key Employees:

  • Instructions clarify that directors’ compensation for non-director independent contractor services to the organization must be reported in Part IV.

Appendix D, Public Inspection of Returns:

  • Clarifies that public inspection requirements apply to both original and amended returns.

Purpose of Form

Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, and Form 990-EZ are used by tax-exempt organizations, nonexempt charitable trusts, and section 527 political organizations to provide the IRS with the information required by section 6033.

An organization's completed Form 990 or 990-EZ, and a section 501(c)(3) organization's Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return, generally are available for public inspection as required by section 6104. Schedule B (Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF), Schedule of Contributors, is open for public inspection for section 527 organizations filing Form 990 or 990-EZ. For other organizations that file Form 990 or 990-EZ, parts of Schedule B can be open to public inspection. For more details, see Appendix D and the Instructions for Schedule B (Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF).

Some members of the public rely on Form 990 or 990-EZ, as the primary or sole source of information about a particular organization. How the public perceives an organization in such cases may be determined by the information presented on its return.

Other purposes of Form 990 and 990-EZ include:

  1. Form 990-EZ can be filed by organizations with gross receipts of less than $200,000 and total assets of less than $500,000 at the end of their tax year.

  2. Sponsoring organizations of donor advised funds (as defined in section 4966(d)(1)), organizations that operate a hospital facility, organizations recognized by the IRS as section 501(c)(29) nonprofit health insurance issuers, and certain controlling organizations defined in section 512(b)(13) must file Form 990 rather than Form 990-EZ regardless of the amount of their gross receipts and total assets. See instructions for lines 44 and 45, and General Instruction A, Who Must File, before completing this form.

  3. Form 990-EZ cannot be used by a private foundation required to file Form 990-PF, Return of Private Foundation or Section 4947(a)(1) Nonexempt Charitable Trust Treated as a Private Foundation. A section 501(c)(3) or section 4947(a)(1) organization should refer to the Instructions for Schedule A (Form 990 or 990-EZ), Public Charity Status and Public Support to determine whether it is a private foundation.

  4. Form 990 must be used to file a group return, not Form 990-EZ. See General Instruction A.


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