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Future developments.   For the latest information about developments related to Form 990 and its instructions, such as legislation enacted after they were published, go to www.irs.gov/form990.

What's New

In Part I, a new line is added for an agricultural research organization described in section 170(b)(1)(A)(ix) operated in conjunction with a land-grant college or university or a non-land grant college of agriculture.

General Instructions

Note.

Terms in bold are defined in the Glossary of the Instructions for Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax.

Purpose of Schedule

Schedule A (Form 990 or 990-EZ) is used by an organization that files Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, or Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, to provide the required information about public charity status and public support.

Who Must File

An organization that answered “Yes” to Form 990, Part IV, line 1, must complete and attach Schedule A (Form 990 or 990-EZ) to Form 990. Any section  
501(c)(3) organization (or organization treated as such) that files a Form 990-EZ must complete and attach this schedule to Form 990-EZ. These include:

  • Organizations that are described in section 501(c)(3) and are public charities;

  • Organizations that are described in sections 501(e), 501(f), 501(j), 501(k), or 501(n); and

  • Nonexempt charitable trusts described in section 4947(a)(1) that aren't treated as private foundations.

If an organization isn't required to file Form 990 or 990-EZ but chooses to do so, it must file a complete return and provide all of the information requested, including the required schedules.

Any organization that is exempt from tax under section 
501(c)(3) but is a private foundation and not a public charity shouldn't file Form 990, Form 990-EZ, or Schedule A (Form 990 or 990-EZ), but should file Form 990-PF, Return of Private Foundation or Section 
4947(a)(1) Trust Treated as a Private Foundation. See instructions to Part I.

Accounting Method

When completing Schedule A (Form 990 or 990-EZ), the organization must use the same accounting method it checked on Form 990, Part XII, line 1, or Form 990-EZ, line G. The organization must use this accounting method in reporting all amounts on Schedule A (Form 990 or 990-EZ), regardless of the accounting method it used in completing Schedule A (Form 990 or 990-EZ) for prior years, except that in Part V, Sections D and E, distributions must be reported on the cash receipts and disbursements method.

If the accounting method the organization used in completing the 2015 Schedule A (Form 990 or 990-EZ) was different from the accounting method checked on the 2016 Form 990, Part XII, line 1, or the 2016 Form 990-EZ, line G, the organization shouldn't report in either Part II or Part III the amounts reported in the applicable columns of the 2015 Schedule A (Form 990 or 990-EZ). Instead, the organization should report all amounts in Part II or Part III using the accounting method checked on the 2016 Form 990, Part XII, line 1, or the 2016 Form 990-EZ, line G.

If the organization changed its accounting method from a prior year, it should provide an explanation in Schedule O (Form 990 or 990-EZ), Supplemental Information to Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Example 1.

An organization checks “Cash” on Form 990, Part XII, line 1. It should report the amounts in Part II or Part III using the cash method. If the organization filed a 2015 Schedule A (Form 990 or 990-EZ) using the cash method, it should report in the 2012 through 2015 columns on the 2016 Schedule A (Form 990 or 990-EZ) the same amounts that it reported in the 2012 through 2015 columns on the 2015 Schedule A (Form 990 or 990-EZ).

Example 2.

An organization checks “Accrual” on Form 990, Part XII, line 1. The organization reports grants on Form 990, Part VIII, line 1, in accordance with the Statement of Financial Accounting Standards, SFAS 116 (ACS 958), (see instructions for Form 990, Part VIII, line 1). During the year, the organization receives a grant to be paid in future years. The organization should report the grant's present value on the 2016 Schedule A (Form 990 or 990-EZ). The organization should report accruals of present value increments to the unpaid grant on Schedule A (Form 990 or 990-EZ) in future years.


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