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Forms 990, 990-EZ and 990-N – 509(a)(3) Supporting Organizations

A supporting organization described in section 509(a)(3) is required to file Form 990 (or 990-EZ if applicable), but cannot file Form 990-N, even if:

  • its gross receipts are normally $50,000 or less,
  • it is within the class of organizations affiliated with a church or convention or association of churches and exempt from federal income tax under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code (see Revenue Procedure 96-10, 1996-1 C.B. 577), or
  • it is an affiliate of a governmental unit (see Revenue Procedure 95-48, 1995-2 C.B. 418),

unless it qualifies as one of the following:

  1. an integrated auxiliary of a church described in Regulations section 1.6033-2(h),
  2. the exclusively religious activities of a religious order, or
  3. an organization, the gross receipts of which are normally not more than $5,000, that supports a section 501(c)(3) religious organization.

If the supporting organization is described in (3) but not in (1) or (2) above, then it must file an annual return or report, but may satisfy that obligation by filing Form 990-N instead of Form 990 or 990-EZ. A supporting organization described in (1) or (2) above is not required to file an annual return or report. Note that an organization not required to file an annual return or report, or one that is eligible to file an annual report on Form 990-N, may elect voluntarily to file Form 990 or 990-EZ.

What to report

A supporting organization must include the following on Form 990 or 990-EZ:

  • a list of the supported organizations for which the organization provides support;
  • whether it is a Type I, Type II, or Type III supporting organization; and
  • a certification that it is not controlled directly or indirectly by one or more disqualified persons (other than foundation managers and other than one or more publicly supported organizations).

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