General Instructions

Overview of Form 990-EZ.   The Form 990-EZ is an annual information return required to be filed with the IRS by many organizations exempt from income tax under section 501(a), and certain political organizations and nonexempt charitable trusts. Parts I through V of the form must be completed by all filing organizations (Part VI must be completed by section 501(c)(3) organizations and section 4947(a)(1) nonexempt charitable trusts), and require reporting on the organization's exempt and other activities, finances, compliance with certain federal tax filings and requirements, and compensation paid to certain persons. Additional schedules are required to be completed depending on the activities and type of organization. The completed Form 990-EZ filed with the IRS, except for certain contributor information on Schedule B (Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF), is required to be made available to the public by the IRS and the filing organization (see Appendix D. Public Inspection of Returns). Also, the organization may be required to file the completed Form 990-EZ with state governments to satisfy state reporting requirements. See Appendix G. Use of Form 990 and 990-EZ to Satisfy State Reporting Requirements.

Reminder: Do Not Include Social Security Number on Publicly Disclosed Forms

Because the filing organization and the IRS are required to publicly disclose the organization’s annual information returns, social security numbers should not be included on this form. Documents subject to disclosure include schedules and attachments filed with the form. For more information, see Appendix D, Public Inspection of Returns.

Organizations that have total gross income from unrelated trades or businesses of at least $1,000 also are required to file Form 990-T, in addition to any required Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-N.

Helpful hints.   The following hints may help you more efficiently review these instructions and complete the form.
  1. Throughout these instructions, “the organization” and the “filing organization” both refer to the organization filing the Form 990-EZ.

  2. The examples appearing throughout these instructions are illustrative only and for the purpose of completing Form 990-EZ, but are not all-inclusive.

  3. Instructions for the Form 990-EZ schedules are published separately from these instructions.

  4. Unless otherwise specified, information should be provided for the organization’s tax year. For instance, an organization should answer “Yes” to a question asking whether it conducted a certain type of activity only if it conducted that activity during the tax year.

A. Who Must File

Most organizations exempt from income tax under section 501(a) must file an annual information return (Form 990 or 990-EZ) or submit an annual electronic notice (Form 990-N), depending upon the organization's gross receipts and total assets.

If an organization has gross receipts less than $200,000 and total assets at the end of the year less than $500,000, it can file Form 990-EZ, instead of Form 990. See the instructions below for more information. But see the special rules below for Controlling organizations described in section 512(b)(13), Organizations that operate one or more hospital facilities, section 501(c)(29) nonprofit health insurance issuers, and Sponsoring organizations of donor advised funds (as defined in section 4966(d)(1)).

Form 990 (not 990-EZ or 990-N) must be filed by an organization exempt from income tax under section 501(a) (including an organization that has not applied for recognition of exemption or whose application for recognition of exemption is pending) if it has either gross receipts greater than or equal to $200,000 or total assets greater than or equal to $500,000 at the end of the tax year (with exceptions described below for organizations eligible to submit Form 990-N and for certain organizations described in General Instruction B, Organizations Not Required to File Form 990 or 990-EZ, later). This includes the following:

  • Organizations described in section 501(c)(3) (other than private foundations) and

  • Organizations described in other section 501(c) subsections (other than black lung benefit trusts).

Gross receipts.   Gross receipts are the total amounts the organization received from all sources during its annual accounting period, without subtracting any costs or expenses. See Appendix B, How to Determine Whether an Organization's Gross Receipts Are Normally $50,000 (or $5,000) or Less for a discussion of gross receipts. Total assets is the amount reported by the organization on its balance sheet (Form 990-EZ, Part II, column (B), line 25) as of the end of the year, without reduction for liabilities.

  For purposes of Form 990 or Form 990-EZ reporting, the term “section 501(c)(3)” includes organizations exempt under sections 501(e) and (f) (cooperative service organizations), 501(j) (amateur sports organizations), 501(k) (child care organizations), and 501(n) (charitable risk pools). In addition, any organization described in one of these sections is also subject to section 4958 if it obtains a determination letter from the IRS stating that it is described in section 501(c)(3).

Form 990-N.   If an organization normally has annual gross receipts of $50,000 or less, it must submit Form 990-N, Electronic Notice (e-Postcard) for Tax-Exempt Organizations not Required To File Form 990 or 990-EZ, if it does not file Form 990 or Form 990-EZ (with exceptions described below for certain section 509(a)(3) supporting organizations and for certain organizations described in General Instruction B). If the organization chooses to file Form 990-EZ, be sure to file a complete return. See Appendix B for a discussion of gross receipts and General Instruction H, Requirements for a Properly Completed Form 990-EZ for a discussion of a complete return.

Electronic filing.   Organizations can file Form 990-EZ electronically. See General Instruction D, When, Where, and How To File, for who must file electronically.

Foreign and U.S. possession organizations.   Foreign organizations and U.S. possession organizations, as well as domestic organizations described above, must file Form 990 or 990-EZ unless specifically excepted under General Instruction B. Report amounts in U.S. dollars, and state what conversion rate the organization uses. Combine amounts from within and outside the United States, and report the total for each item. All information must be written in English.

Sponsoring organizations of donor advised funds.   Sponsoring organizations of donor advised funds (as defined in section 4966(d)(1)) must file Form 990 and not Form 990-EZ. See line 44 and the related instructions.

Organizations that operate one or more hospital facilities.   Organizations that operated one or more hospital facilities during the tax year must file Form 990 and not Form 990-EZ, and complete Schedule H, Hospitals. A hospital facility is a facility that is required to be licensed, registered, or similarly recognized by a state as a hospital. See line 44b and the related instructions.

Section 501(c)(29) nonprofit health insurance issuers.    Nonprofit health insurance issuers described in section 501(c)(29) must file Form 990 and not Form 990-EZ.

Controlling organizations described in section 512(b)(13).   A controlling organization of one or more controlled entities, as described in section 512(b)(13), must file Form 990 and not Form 990-EZ if it is required to file an annual information return for the year and if there was a certain type of transfer of funds between the controlling organization and any controlled entity during the year. See line 45 and the related instructions.

Section 509(a)(3) supporting organizations.   A section 509(a)(3) supporting organization must file Form 990 or 990-EZ, even if its gross receipts are normally $50,000 or less, and even if it is described in Rev. Proc. 96-10, 1996-1 C.B. 577, or is an affiliate of a governmental unit described in Rev. Proc. 95-48, 1995-2 C.B. 418, unless it qualifies as one of the following:
  1. An integrated auxiliary of a church, as described in Regulations section 1.6033-2(h),

  2. The exclusively religious activities of a religious order, or

  3. An organization whose gross receipts are normally not more than $5,000 that supports a section 501(c)(3) religious organization.

   If the organization is described in 3, then it must submit Form 990-N unless it voluntarily files Form 990 or Form 990-EZ.

Section 501(c)(7) and 501(c)(15) organizations.   Section 501(c)(7) and 501(c)(15) organizations apply the same gross receipts test as other organizations to determine whether they must file a Form 990 or 990-EZ, but use a different definition of gross receipts to determine whether they qualify as tax-exempt for the tax year. See Appendix C, Special Gross Receipts Tests for Determining Exempt Status of Section 501(c)(7) and Section 501(c)(15) Organizations, for more information.

Section 527 political organizations.   Tax-exempt political organizations must file Form 990 or 990-EZ unless their annual gross receipts are less than $25,000 during the tax year or they are otherwise excepted under General Instruction B. A section 527 political organization that is a qualified state or local political organization must file Form 990 or 990-EZ only if it has gross receipts of $100,000 or more. Political organizations are not required to submit Form 990-N.

Section 4947(a)(1) non-exempt charitable trusts.   A non-exempt charitable trust described under section 4947(a)(1) (if it is not treated as a private foundation) is required to file Form 990 or Form 990-EZ unless excepted under General Instruction B. Such a trust is treated like an exempt section 501(c)(3) organization for purposes of completing the form. Section 4947(a)(1) trusts must complete all sections of the Form 990-EZ and schedules that 501(c)(3) organizations must complete. All references to a section 501(c)(3) organization in the Form 990-EZ, schedules, and instructions include a section 4947(a)(1) trust (for instance, such a trust must complete Schedule A (Form 990 or 990-EZ)), unless otherwise specified. If such a trust does not have any taxable income under Subtitle A of the Code, it can file Form 990 or Form 990-EZ to meet its section 6012 filing requirement and does not have to file Form 1041, U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts.

Group returns.   A group return filed by the central or parent organization on behalf of the subordinates in a group exemption must be filed using Form 990, not Form 990-EZ.

Returns when exempt status not established.   An organization is required to file Form 990 or 990-EZ in accordance with these instructions if the organization claims exempt status under section 501(a) but has not established such exempt status by filing Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or Form 1024, Application for Recognition of Exemption under Section 501(a), and receiving an IRS determination letter recognizing exempt status. In such cases, the organization must check the “application pending” checkbox in Item B of the Form 990 or 990-EZ header (whether or not a Form 1023 or 1024 has been filed) to indicate that the Form 990 or 990-EZ is being filed in the belief that the organization is exempt under section 501(a).

  To qualify for tax exemption retroactive to its date of organization or formation, an organization claiming tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3), 501(c)(9), or 501(c)(17) generally must file Form 1023 or 1024 within 27 months of the end of the month in which it was legally organized or formed.

B. Organizations Not Required To File Form 990 or 990-EZ

An organization described below does not have to file Form 990 or 990-EZ even if it has at least $200,000 of gross receipts or $500,000 total assets at the end of the tax year (except for section 509(a)(3) supporting organizations described in General Instruction A). See General Instruction A for determining whether the organization can file Form 990-EZ instead of Form 990. An organization described in item 10, 11, or 13 below is required to submit Form 990-N unless it voluntarily files Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-BL, Information and Initial Excise Tax Return for Black Lung Benefit Trusts and Certain Related Persons, as applicable.

Certain religious organizations

  1. A church, an interchurch organization of local units of a church, a convention or association of churches, or an integrated auxiliary of a church as described in Regulations section 1.6033-2(h) (such as a men's or women's organization, religious school, mission society, or youth group).

  2. A church-affiliated organization that is exclusively engaged in managing funds or maintaining retirement programs and is described in Rev. Proc. 96-10. But see the filing requirements for section 509(a)(3) supporting organizations in General Instruction A.

  3. A school below college level affiliated with a church or operated by a religious order, as described in Regulations section 1.6033-2(g)(1)(vii).

  4. A mission society sponsored by, or affiliated with, one or more churches or church denominations, if more than half of the society's activities are conducted in, or directed at, persons in foreign countries.

  5. An exclusively religious activity of any religious order described in Rev. Proc. 91-20, 1991-1 C.B. 524.

    Certain governmental organizations

  6. A state institution whose income is excluded from gross income under section 115.

  7. A governmental unit or affiliate of a governmental unit described in Rev. Proc. 95-48. But see the filing requirements for section 509(a)(3) supporting organizations in General Instruction A.

  8. An organization described in section 501(c)(1). A section 501(c)(1) organization is a corporation organized under an act of Congress that is an instrumentality of the United States, and exempt from federal income taxes.

    Certain political organizations

  9. A political organization that is:

    • A state or local committee of a political party,

    • A political committee of a state or local candidate,

    • A caucus or association of state or local officials, or

    • Required to report under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 as a political committee (as defined in section 301(4) of such Act).

    Certain organizations with limited gross receipts

  10. An organization whose gross receipts are normally $50,000 or less. Such organizations generally are required to submit Form 990-N if they choose not to file Form 990 or 990-EZ. To determine what an organization's gross receipts “normally” are, see Appendix B.

  11. Foreign organizations and organizations located in U.S. possessions, whose gross receipts from sources within the United States are normally $50,000 or less, and which did not engage in significant activity in the United States (other than investment activity). Such organizations, if they claim U.S. tax exemption or are recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt, generally are required to submit Form 990-N if they choose not to file Form 990 or 990-EZ.

    If a foreign organization or organization located in a U.S. possession is required to file a Form 990 or Form 990-EZ, then its worldwide gross receipts, as well as assets, are taken into account in determining whether it qualifies to file Form 990-EZ. To determine what an organization's gross receipts “normally” are, see Appendix B.

    Certain organizations that file different kinds of annual information returns

  12. A private foundation (including a private operating foundation) exempt under section 501(c)(3) and described in section 509(a). Use Form 990-PF for a taxable private foundation, a section 4947(a)(1) nonexempt charitable trust treated as a private foundation, and a private foundation terminating its status by becoming a public charity under section 507(b)(1)(B) for tax years within its 60-month termination period. If the section 507(b)(1)(B) organization successfully terminates, then it files Form 990 or 990-EZ in its final year of termination.

  13. A black lung benefit trust described in section 501(c)(21), use Form 990-BL.

  14. A religious or apostolic organization described in section 501(d). Use Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income.

  15. A stock bonus, pension, or profit-sharing trust that qualifies under section 401. Use Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan.

Subordinate organizations in a group exemption which are included in a group return filed for the tax year by the central organization should not file a separate Form 990 or 990-EZ, or submit Form 990-N for the tax year.

A public charity described in section 170(b)(1)(A)(iv) or (vi) or 509(a)(2) that is not within its initial five years of existence should first complete Part II or III of Schedule A to ensure that it continues to qualify as a public charity for the tax year. If it fails to qualify as a public charity, then it must file Form 990-PF rather than Form 990-EZ.

C. Accounting Periods and Methods

Accounting Periods

Calendar year.   Use the 2013 Form 990-EZ to report on the 2013 calendar year accounting period. A calendar year accounting period begins on January 1 and ends on December 31.

Fiscal year.   If the organization has established a fiscal year accounting period, use the 2013 Form 990-EZ to report on the organization's fiscal year that began in 2013 and ended 12 months later. A fiscal year accounting period should normally coincide with the natural operating cycle of the organization. Be certain to indicate in the heading of Form 990-EZ the date the organization's fiscal year began in 2013 and the date the fiscal year ended in 2014.

Short period.   A short accounting period is a period of less than 12 months, which exists when an organization first commences operations, changes its accounting period, or terminates. If the organization's short year began in 2013 and ended before December 31, 2013 (not on or after December 31, 2013), it may use either 2012 Form 990-EZ or 2013 Form 990-EZ or Form 990 to file for such short year. A short period return cannot be filed electronically unless it is an initial return for which the “Initial return” box is checked or is a final return for which the “Terminated” box is checked in Item B of the Form 990-EZ Heading.

Accounting period change.   If the organization changes its accounting period, it must file a Form 990-EZ for the short period resulting from the change. Enter “Change of Accounting Period” at the top of this short-period return.

  If the organization previously changed its accounting period within the 10-calendar-year period that includes the beginning of the short period, and it had a Form 990-EZ filing requirement at any time during that 10-year period, it must also attach a Form 1128 to the short-period return. See Rev. Proc. 85-58, 1985-2 C.B. 740.

   If an organization that submits Form 990-N changes its accounting period, it must report this change either on Form 990, 990-EZ, or 1128, or by sending a letter to:

Internal Revenue Service  
1973 N. Rulon White Blvd. 
Ogden, UT 84404

Accounting Methods

Unless instructed otherwise, the organization should generally use the same accounting method on the return (including the Form 990-EZ and all schedules) to report revenue and expenses that it regularly uses to keep its books and records. To be acceptable for Form 990-EZ reporting purposes, however, the method of accounting must clearly reflect income.

Accounting method change.   Generally, the organization must file Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method, to change its accounting method. An exception applies where a section 501(c) organization changes its accounting method to comply with SFAS 116 (ASC 958), Accounting for Contributions Received and Contributions Made. See Notice 96-30, 1996-1 C.B. 378. An organization that makes a change in accounting method, regardless of whether it files Form 3115, must report any adjustment required by section 481(a) on Form 990-EZ, line 20 (other changes in net assets or fund balances), as a net asset adjustment made during the tax year. The organization must explain in Schedule O, Supplemental Information to Form 990 or 990-EZ, the change and net asset adjustment. The adjustment must be identified as the effect of changing to the method provided in SFAS 116 (ASC 958). The beginning of year statement of financial position (balance sheet) should not be restated to reflect any prior period adjustments.

State reporting.   Many states that accept Form 990-EZ in place of their own forms require that all amounts be reported based on the accrual method of accounting. If the organization prepares Form 990-EZ for state reporting purposes, it can file an identical return with the IRS even though the return does not agree with the books of account, unless the way one or more items are reported on the state return conflicts with the instructions for preparing Form 990-EZ for filing with the IRS.

Example 1.

The organization maintains its books on the cash receipts and disbursements method of accounting but prepares a Form 990-EZ return for the state based on the accrual method. It could use that return for reporting to the IRS.

Example 2.

A state reporting requirement requires the organization to report certain revenue, expense, or balance sheet items differently from the way it normally accounts for them on its books. A Form 990-EZ prepared for that state is acceptable for the IRS reporting purposes if the state reporting requirement does not conflict with Form 990-EZ instructions.

An organization should keep a reconciliation of any differences between its books of account and the Form 990-EZ that is filed.

See Pub. 538, Accounting Periods and Methods, and instructions to Forms 1128 and 3115, about reporting changes to accounting periods and methods.

D. When, Where, and How to File

File Form 990-EZ by the 15th day of the 5th month after the organization's accounting period ends (May 15 for a calendar-year filer). If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, file on the next business day. A business day is any day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.

If the organization is liquidated, dissolved, or terminated, file the return by the 15th day of the 5th month after liquidation, dissolution, or termination.

If the return is not filed by the due date (including any extension granted), attach a statement giving the reason(s) for not filing on time.

Send the return to the:

Department of the Treasury 
Internal Revenue Service Center 
Ogden, UT 84201-0027

Foreign and U.S. possession organizations.   If the organization's principal business, office, or agency is located in a foreign country or U.S. possession, send the return to the:

Internal Revenue Service Center 
P.O. Box 409101 
Ogden, UT 84409

Private delivery services.   The organization can use certain private delivery services designated by the IRS to meet the “timely mailing as timely filing/paying” rule for tax returns and payments. These private delivery services include only the following:
  • DHL Express (DHL): DHL Same Day Service,

  • Federal Express (FedEx): FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx 2Day, FedEx International Priority, FedEx International First, and

  • United Parcel Service (UPS): UPS Next Day Air, UPS Next Day Air Saver, UPS 2nd Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air AM, UPS Worldwide Express Plus, and UPS Worldwide Express.

    For the IRS mailing address to use if you are using a private delivery service, go to IRS.gov and enter “private delivery service” in the search box.

    The private delivery service can tell you how to get written proof of the mailing date.

  • For private delivery services, deliver the return to:

    Internal Revenue Submission Processing Center 
    1973 Rulon White Blvd. 
    Ogden, UT 84404

  
Private delivery services cannot deliver items to P.O. boxes. You must use the U.S. Postal Service to mail any item to an IRS P.O. Box.

Electronic filing.   The organization can file Form 990-EZ or Form 990 and related forms, schedules, and attachments electronically. However, if an organization files at least 250 returns of any type during the calendar year ending with or within the organization's tax year and has total assets of $10 million or more at the end of the tax year, it must file Form 990 electronically (and not Form 990-EZ). “Returns” for this purpose include information returns (for example, Forms W-2, Forms 1099), income tax returns, employment tax returns (including quarterly Form 941, Employer's QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return), and excise tax returns.

  If an organization is required to file a return electronically but does not, the organization is considered not to have filed its return, even if a paper return is submitted, unless it is reporting a name change, in which case it must file by paper and attach the documents described in Specific Instructions, Item B. See Regulations section 301.6033-4 for more information on required electronic filing of Form 990.

  For additional information on the electronic filing requirement, visit www.irs.gov/efile.

  The IRS may waive the requirements to file electronically in cases of undue hardship. For information on filing a waiver, see Notice 2010-13, 2010-4 I.R.B. 327, available at www.irs.gov/irb/2010-04_IRB/ar14.html.

E. Extension of Time To File

Use Form 8868, Application for Extension of Time To File an Exempt Organization Return to request an automatic 3-month extension of time to file. Use Form 8868 also to apply for an additional (not automatic) 3-month extension if the original 3 months was not enough time. To obtain this additional extension of time to file, the organization must show reasonable cause for the additional time requested. See the Instructions for Form 8868.

F. Amended Return/Final Return

To amend the organization's return for any year, file a new return including any required schedules. Use the version of Form 990-EZ applicable to the year being amended. The amended return must provide all the information called for by the form and instructions, not just the new or corrected information. Check the “Amended return” box in Item B. of the heading of the return. Also, list in Schedule O (Form 990 or 990-EZ) which parts and schedules of the Form 990-EZ were amended and describe the amendments.

The organization can file an amended return at any time to change or add to the information reported on a previously filed return for the same period. It must make the amended return available for inspection for 3 years from the date of filing or 3 years from the date the original return was due, whichever is later.

If the organization needs a copy of its previously filed return, it can file Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return. See IRS.gov for information on getting blank tax forms.

If the return is a final return, the organization must check the “Terminated” box in Item B of the heading of the return and complete Schedule N (Form 990 or 990-EZ), Liquidation, Termination, Dissolution, or Significant Disposition of Assets.

Amended returns and state filing considerations.   State law can require that the organization send a copy of an amended Form 990-EZ return (or information provided to the IRS supplementing the return) to the state with which it filed a copy of Form 990-EZ originally to meet that state's filing requirement. A state can require an organization to file an amended Form 990-EZ to satisfy state reporting requirements, even if the original return was accepted by the IRS.

G. Failure-to-File Penalties

Against the organization.   Under section 6652(c)(1)(A), a penalty of $20 a day, not to exceed the smaller of $10,000 or 5% of the gross receipts of the organization for the year, can be charged when a return is filed late, unless the organization can show that the late filing was due to reasonable cause. Organizations with annual gross receipts exceeding $1 million are subject to a penalty of $100 for each day failure continues (with a maximum penalty for any one return of $50,000). The penalty applies on each day after the due date that the return is not filed.

  Tax-exempt organizations which are required to file electronically but do not are deemed to have failed to file the return. This is true even if a paper return is submitted, unless the organization files by paper to report a name change.

  The penalty can also be charged if the organization files an incomplete return, such as by failing to complete a required line item or a required part of a schedule. To avoid penalties and having to supply missing information later:
  1. Complete all applicable line items;

  2. Unless instructed to skip a line, answer each question on the return;

  3. Make an entry (including a zero when appropriate) on all lines requiring an amount or other information to be reported; and

  4. Provide required explanations as instructed.

  Also, this penalty can be imposed if the organization's return contains incorrect information. For example, an organization that reports contributions net of related fundraising expenses may be subject to this penalty.

  Use of a paid preparer does not relieve the organization of its responsibility to file a complete and accurate return.

Against responsible person(s).   If the organization does not file a complete return or does not furnish correct information, the IRS will send the organization a letter that includes a fixed time to fulfill these requirements. After that period expires, the person failing to comply will be charged a penalty of $10 a day. The maximum penalty on all persons for failures for any one return shall not exceed $5,000.

  There are also penalties (fines and imprisonment) for willfully not filing returns and for filing fraudulent returns and statements with the IRS (sections 7203, 7206, and 7207). States can impose additional penalties for failure to meet their separate filing requirements.

Automatic revocation for nonfiling for three consecutive years.   The law requires most tax-exempt organizations, other than churches, to file an annual Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF with the IRS, or to submit a Form 990-N to the IRS. If an organization fails to file an annual return or submit an annual notice as required for 3 consecutive years, its tax-exempt status is automatically revoked on and after the due date for filing its third annual return or notice. Organizations that lose their exemption may need to file income tax returns and pay income tax, but may apply for reinstatement of exemption. For details, go to www.irs.gov/eo.

H. Requirements for a Properly Completed Form 990-EZ

All organizations filing Form 990-EZ must complete Parts I through V of the Form 990-EZ, and any required schedules and attachments. Section 501(c)(3) organizations must also complete Part VI. If an organization is not required to file Form 990-EZ but chooses to do so, it must file a complete return and provide all of the information requested, including the required schedules.

Public inspection.   In general, all information the organization reports on or with its Form 990-EZ, including schedules and attachments, will be available for public inspection. Note, however, the special rules for Schedule B (Schedule of Contributors), a required schedule for certain organizations that file Form 990-EZ. Make sure the forms and schedules are clear enough to photocopy legibly. For more information on public inspection requirements, see Appendix D and Pub. 557, Tax-Exempt Status for Your Organization.

Signature.   A Form 990-EZ is not complete without a proper signature. For details, see the instructions to the Signature Block, later.

Recordkeeping.   The organization's records should be kept as long as they can be needed for the administration of any provision of the Internal Revenue Code. Usually, records that support an item of income, deduction, or credit must be kept a minimum of 3 years from the date the return is due or filed, whichever is later. Keep records that verify the organization's basis in property as long as they are needed to figure the basis of the original or replacement property. Applicable law and an organization's policies can require that the organization retain records longer than 3 years.

  The organization should also keep copies of any returns it has filed. They help in preparing future returns and making computations when filing an amended return.

Rounding off to whole dollars.   The organization must round off cents to whole dollars on the returns and schedules, unless otherwise noted for particular questions. To round, drop amounts under 50 cents and increase amounts from 50 to 99 cents to the next dollar. For example, $1.49 becomes $1 and $2.50 becomes $3. If the organization has to add two or more amounts to figure the amount to enter on a line, include cents when adding the amounts and round off only the total.

Completing all lines.   Make an entry (including a -0- when appropriate) on all lines requiring an amount or other information to be reported. Do not leave any applicable lines blank, unless expressly instructed to skip that line. If answering a line is predicated on a “Yes” answer to the preceding line, and if the organization's answer to the preceding line was “No,” then leave the “If Yes” line blank.

  In general, answers can be explained or supplemented in Schedule O if the allotted space in the form or other schedule is insufficient, or if a “Yes” or “No” answer is required but the organization wishes to explain its answer.

  Missing or incomplete parts of the form and/or required schedules may result in the IRS contacting you to obtain the missing information. Failure to supply the information may result in a penalty being assessed to your account. For tips on filing complete returns, go to www.irs.gov/charities.

Reporting proper amounts.   Some lines request information reported on other forms filed by the organization, such as Forms W-2, 1099, and 990-T. If the organization is aware that the amount actually reported on the other form is incorrect, it must report on Form 990-EZ the information that should have been reported on the other form (in addition to filing an amended form with the proper amount).

  In general, do not report negative numbers, but report -0- in lieu of a negative number, unless the instructions provides otherwise. Report revenue and expenses separately and do not net related items, unless otherwise provided.

Inclusion of activities and items of disregarded entities and joint ventures.   An organization must report in its Form 990-EZ all of the revenues, expenses, assets, liabilities, and net assets or funds of a disregarded entity of which it is the sole member, and must report in its Form 990-EZ its share of all such items of a joint venture or other investment or arrangement treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes. This includes passive investments. In addition, the organization generally must report the activities of a disregarded entity or a joint venture as its own activities in the appropriate parts and schedules of the Form 990-EZ.

  
A disregarded entity generally must use the EIN of its sole member. An exception applies to employment taxes. For wages paid to employees of a disregarded entity, the disregarded entity must file separate employment tax returns and use its own EIN on such returns. See Regulations sections 301.6109-1(h) and 301.7701-2(c)(2)(iv).

List of required schedules and attachments.   An organization may be required to file one or more of Schedules A, B, C, E, G, L, N, or O, or various other attachments as described in the form or instructions. The following is a list of the Form 990-EZ schedules that the organization may have to complete.
  • Schedule A, Public Charity Status and Public Support. See Part V, Other Information.

  • Schedule B, Schedule of Contributors. See H, Requirements for a Properly Completed Form 990-EZ, earlier.

  • Schedule C, Political Campaign and Lobbying Activities, Part III. See Line 35c (section 6033(e) notice and proxy tax requirements).

  • Schedule C, Political Campaign and Lobbying Activities, Part I. See Line 46 (political campaign activities).

  • Schedule C, Political Campaign and Lobbying Activities, Part II. See Line 47 (lobbying activities).

  • Schedule E, Schools. See Line 48 (schools).

  • Schedule G, Supplemental Information Regarding Fundraising or Gaming Activities, Parts II and III. See Lines 6a through 6d (gaming and fundraising events).

  • Schedule L, Transactions with Interested Persons, Part I. See Line 40b (section 4958 excess benefit transactions).

  • Schedule L, Transactions with Interested Persons, Part II. See Line 38 (loans to or from officers, directors, trustees, and key employees).

  • Schedule N, Liquidation, Termination, Dissolution, or Significant Disposition of Assets, Parts I (liquidation, termination, or dissolution) and II (significant disposition of net assets). See Line 36 (liquidation, dissolution, termination, or significant disposition of net assets).

  • Schedule O, Supplemental Information to Form 990 or Form 990-EZ. See Lines 8, 10, 16, 20, 24, 26, 31, 33, 34, and 35.

Assembling Form 990-EZ, schedules, and attachments.   Before filing the Form 990-EZ, assemble the package of forms, schedules, and attachments in the following order:
  1. Core form with all parts completed (Parts I–V, Part VI by section 501(c)(3) organizations, Signature Block),

  2. Schedules A, B, C, E, G, L, N, and/or O, completed as applicable, filed in alphabetical order, and

  3. Attachments, completed as applicable. These include (a) name change amendment to organizing document required by Item B of the heading on page 1 of the return; (b) reasonable cause explanation for a late-filed return; and (c) articles of merger or dissolution, resolutions, and plans of liquidation or merger required by Schedule N (Form 990 or 990-EZ).

    Do not attach materials not authorized in the instructions, or not otherwise authorized by the IRS.

  
To facilitate the processing of your return, do not password protect or encrypt PDF attachments. Password protecting or encrypting a PDF file that is attached to an e-filed return prevents the IRS from opening the attachment.


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