Public Disclosure and Availability of Exempt Organizations Returns and Applications: Disclosures Required


What does the disclosure law require a tax-exempt organization to do?

An exempt organization must provide a copy of covered tax documents to an individual who makes a written or in person request at the organization’s principal office. If the organization regularly maintains any regional or district offices having three or more employees, it must also respond to request submitted to any such office. Covered tax documents include, in general, the organization’s application for tax-exempt status and its annual returns for a period of three years beginning on the date the return is required to be filed. If the request is made in person, it must generally be honored on the day of the request; if it is written, then the organization generally has 30 days to respond. (A request that is faxed, emailed or sent by private courier is considered a written request.)

The organization may want to charge reasonable copying costs and the actual cost of postage before providing the copies. The law permits this. But the organization must provide timely notice of the approximate cost and acceptable form of payment within seven days of receipt of the request. Acceptable forms of payment must include cash and money order (for an in-person request) and certified check, money order and personal check or credit card, for a written request.

The IRS Required Disclosures course explains disclosure requirements for tax-exempt organizations.