This page contains information about selected terms and concepts used in SOI's Study of Tax-Exempt Organizations.
Please visit the Charities & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations Statistics page to access the annual study tables, articles, and publicly available microdata.
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Accountants’ and auditing fees charged by outside firms and individuals who are not employees of the reporting organization.
Source: Form 990, Part II, Line 31
Accounts Payable and Accrued Expenses
Total of accounts payable to suppliers, vendors, and others and accrued expenses, such as salaries payable, accrued payroll taxes, and interest payable.
Source: Form 990, Part IV, Line 60
Accounts Receivable (net)
Total amount of accounts receivable less allowance for doubtful accounts (accounts estimated to be uncollectible) from the sale of goods and/or the performance of services.
Source: Form 990, Part IV, Lines 47a and 47b
Audited Financial Statement
A formal opinion of an organization’s financial records and practices by an independent, certified public accountant with the objective of assessing the accuracy and reliability of the organization’s financial statements.
Source: Form 990, Part IV-A
Amount of cash on deposit in non-interest-bearing checking accounts, deposits in transit, change funds, petty cash funds, or any other non-interest-bearing account. It does not include advances to employees or officers or refundable deposits paid to suppliers or others.
Source: Form 990, Part IV, Line 45
Contributions received in the form of cash, checks, money orders, credit card charges, wire transfers, and other transfers and deposits to a cash account of the organization.
Source: Form 990, Part I, Line 1e
A restriction on the use that may be made of, or changes made to, real property that is granted in perpetuity to a qualified organization exclusively for conservation purposes. Conservation purposes include protection of natural habitat, the preservation of open space; or the preservation of property for historic, educational, or recreational purposes. Qualified organizations include governmental units and certain tax-exempt organizations described in section 501(c)(3) that have a commitment to protect the conservation purposes of the easement and the resources to enforce the restrictions.
Contributions Received from Donor-Advised Funds
The gross amounts of contributions, gifts, grants, and bequests received for all donor advised funds the organization maintains. (See Donor-Advised Funds)
Source: Form 990, Part I, Line 1a
Cost of Goods Sold
Organizations report the cost of goods sold related to the sales of any inventory items, whether the sales activity is an exempt function or an unrelated trade or business. Items usually included in the cost of goods sold are direct and indirect labor, materials and supplies consumed, freight-in, and a proportion of overhead expenses. Marketing and distribution costs are not included, but are reported in Part II, column (B), Program Services.
Source: Form 990, Part I, Line 10b
Direct Expenses from Special Events and Activities
Only the expenses directly attributable to the goods or services received from a special event. The expenses directly relating to the sale of the goods are reported on Part I Line 9b. However, all expenses of raising contributions would be reported in Form 990 column (D), Fundraising, Part II.
Source: Form 990, Part I, Line 9b
Direct Public Support
The gross amounts of contributions, gifts, grants, and bequests that the organization received directly from the public. This includes all donated items, such as an automobile donated to an organization, and all funds or the entire value of noncash items raised by an outside fundraiser in a charity’s name. Amounts received from individuals, trusts, corporations, estates, and foundations, or raised by an outside professional fundraiser are included. Contributions and grants from public charities and other exempt organizations that are neither fundraising organizations nor affiliates of the filing organizations are counted as well.
Source: Form 990, Part I, Line 1b
For purposes of section 4958; Form 990, Parts IX and X; and Schedule L (Form 990 or 990-EZ), Transactions With Interested Persons, Parts I and II, any person (including an individual, corporation, or other entity) who was in a position to exercise substantial influence over the affairs of the applicable tax-exempt organization at any time during a 5-year period ending on the date of the transaction. Persons who hold certain powers, responsibilities, or interests are among those who are in a position to exercise substantial influence over the affairs of the organization.
A disqualified person includes:
- A disqualified person’s family member,
- A 35% controlled entity of a (1) disqualified person and/or (2) family members of the disqualified person,
- A donor or donor advisor to a donor advised fund,
- An investment advisor of a sponsoring organization.
The disqualified persons of a supported organization include the disqualified persons of a section 509(a)(3) supporting organization that supports the supported organization.
Dividends and Interest from Securities
The amount of dividend and interest income from equity and debt securities (stocks and bonds), such as publicly traded and other securities of the type reportable on Form 990, Line 54. It includes amounts received from payments on securities loans, as defined in section 512(a)(5). It does not include any capital gains dividends that are reportable on Form 990, Line 8.
Source: Form 990, Part I, Line 5
Generally, a donor advised fund is a separately identified fund or account that is maintained and operated by a section 501(c)(3) organization, which is called a sponsoring organization. Each account is composed of contributions made by individual donors. Once the donor makes the contribution, the organization has legal control over it. However, the donor, or the donor's representative, retains advisory privileges with respect to the distribution of funds and the investment of assets in the account.
Source: Form 990, Part I, Line 1b
Excess Benefit Transaction
Any transaction in which an excess benefit is provided by the organization, directly or indirectly to, or for the use of, any disqualified person, as defined in section 4958. Excess benefit generally means the excess of the economic benefit received from the applicable organization over the consideration given (including services) by a disqualified person.
Expenses incurred in soliciting contributions, gifts, and grants. These include all fundraising expenses, including allocable overhead costs, which incurred in: (a) publicizing and conducting fundraising campaigns; and (b) soliciting bequests and grants from foundations or other organizations.
Source: Form 990, Part I, Line 15
The unpaid portion of grants and awards that the organization has made a commitment to pay other organizations or individuals, whether or not the commitments have been communicated to the grantees.
Source: Form 990, Part IV, Line 61
The total grants receivable from governmental agencies, foundations, and other organizations as of the beginning and end of the year.
Source: Form 990, Part IV, Line 49
Gross Profit (Loss), Sales of Inventories
Gross sales revenue from sales of inventory items, whether the sales activity is an exempt function of the organization or an unrelated trade or business. These sales do not include items sold at special events, but are sales of those items the organization makes to sell to others or buys for resale. Sales of investments on which the organization expects to profit by appreciation and sale are not reported here.
Source: Form 990, Part I, Line 10a
Highest Compensated Employees
The highest compensated employees of the organization (including employees of a disregarded entity of the organization) other than officers or key employees. The highest compensated employees are determined by the amounts of reportable compensation for the calendar year ending with or within the organization’s tax year.
Source: Form 990, Sch. A, Part I
Indirect Public Support
Total contributions received indirectly from the public through solicitation campaigns conducted by federated fundraising agencies and similar fundraising organizations. These organizations normally conduct fundraising campaigns within a single metropolitan area or some part of a particular state and allocate part of the net proceeds to each participating organization on the basis of the donors’ individual designations and other factors.
Source: Form 990, Part I, Line 1c
Interest on Savings and Temporary Cash Investments
Interest income from savings and temporary cash investments. This includes income from interest-bearing checking accounts, savings and temporary cash investments, such as money market funds, commercial paper, certificates of deposit, and U.S. Treasury bills or other governmental obligations that mature in less than 1 year.
Source: Form 990, Part I, Line 4
Inventories for Sale or Use
Materials, goods, and supplies purchased, manufactured by the organization, or donated and held for future sale or use.
Source: Form 990, Part IV, Line 52
Investments in Land, Buildings, and Equipment
The book value (cost or other basis less accumulated depreciation) of all land, buildings, and equipment held for investment purposes, such as rental properties. This includes only what is held for investment purposes, and not property, plant, and equipment owned and used by the organization in conducting its exempt activities.
Source: Form 990, Part IV, Line 55
Investments in Other Securities
The book value, which may be market value, of securities held as investments that are not publicly traded or that represent 5% or more of the outstanding shares of the same class. Securities that are not publicly traded include investments such as stock in a closely held company whose stock is not available for sale to the general public or which is not widely traded.
Source: Form 990, Part IV, Line 54b
Investments in Publicly-Traded Securities
The book value, which may be market value, of securities held as investments. Publicly traded securities include common and preferred stocks, bonds (including governmental obligations such as bonds and Treasury bills), and mutual fund shares that are listed and regularly traded in an over-the-counter market or on an established exchange and for which market quotations are published or otherwise readily available. This does not include stock holdings that represent 5% or more of the outstanding shares of stock of the same class.
Source: Form 990, Part IV, Line 54a
Land, Buildings, and Equipment for Charitable Purposes
The book value (cost or other basis less accumulated depreciation) of all land, buildings, and equipment owned by the organization and not held for investment. This includes any property, plant, and equipment owned and used by the organization in conducting its exempt activities.
Source: Form 990, Line 57
Loans from Officers, Directors, Trustees, and Key Employees
Loans received from current and former officers, directors, trustees, and key employees. A key employee is any person having responsibilities, powers, or influence similar to those of officers, directors, or trustees, including the chief management and administrative officials of an organization (such as an executive director).
Source: Form 990, Part IV, Line 63
All activities intended to influence foreign, national, state or local legislation. Such activities include direct lobbying (attempting to influence the legislators) and grassroots lobbying (attempting to influence legislation by influencing the general public).
Membership Dues and Assessments
Members’ and affiliates’ dues and assessments, that are not contributions, that are allocable to the reporting year. The term dues is the amount that organization requires a member to pay in order to be recognized as a member. Payments similar to dues include members’ voluntary payments, assessments to cover basic operating costs, and special assessments to conduct lobbying and political activities. Dues and assessments received should compare reasonably with membership benefits received; otherwise they should be reported as contributions. Examples of membership benefits include subscriptions to publications, newsletters, free or reduced-rate admissions to events the organization sponsors, the use of its facilities, and discounts on articles or services that both members and nonmembers can buy.
Source: Form 990, Part I, Line 3
Net Income (Loss), Special Events and Activities
The net income (or loss) from all special events and activities, such as dinners, dances, carnivals, raffles, bingo games, other gaming activities, and door-to-door sales of merchandise. The sole or primary purpose is to raise funds that are other than contributions to finance the organization’s exempt activities.
Source: Form 990, Part I, Line 9c
Contributions of property, tangible or intangible, other than money. Noncash contributions include, but are not limited to, stocks, bonds, and other securities; real estate; works of art; stamps, coins and other collectibles; clothing and household goods; vehicles, boats, and airplanes; inventories of food, medical equipment or supplies, books, or seeds; intellectual property, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets; donated items that are sold immediately after donation, such as publicly traded stock or used cars; and items donated for sale at a charity auction. Noncash contributions do not include volunteer services performed for the reporting organization or use of facilities.
Source: Form 990, Part I, Line e
The book value of each category of assets not reportable on balance sheet lines 45 through 57 on part IV of Form 990. Other Assets also includes program-related investments. These are investments made primarily to accomplish an exempt purpose of the filing organization rather than to produce income.
Source: Form 990, Part IV, Line 58
The book value of each category of liabilities not reportable on balance sheet lines 60 through 64b on part IV of Form 990.
Source: Form 990, Part IV, Line 65
The total amount from Part VII, lines 103a through e, columns B, D, and E. This figure represents the total income from all sources not covered by lines 1 through 10 of Part I. Examples include interest on notes receivable not held as investments or as program-related investment; interest on loans to officers, directors, trustees, key employees, and other employees; and royalties that are not investment income or program service revenue.
Source: Form 990, Part I, Line 11
Payments to Affiliates
Certain types of payments to organizations affiliated with (closely related to) a reporting agency, such as payments to affiliated state or national organizations, and expenses for providing certain good or services to affiliates. Purchases of goods or services from affiliates are not reported as Payments to Affiliates. Also not reported as Payments to Affiliates are voluntary awards or grants made by the reporting agency to its state or national organization for specified purposes.
Source: Form 990, Part I, Line 16
The total pledges receivable recorded as of the beginning and end of the year. Pledges Receivable does not include the amount of pledges estimated to be uncollectible.
Source: Form 990, Part IV, Line 48
Prepaid Expenses and Deferred Charges
The amount of short-term and long-term prepayments of expenses attributable to one or more future accounting periods. Examples include prepayments of rent, insurance, and pension costs, and expenses incurred for a solicitation campaign of a future accounting period.
Source: Form 990, Part IV, Line 53
Program Service Expense
Expenses associated with activities that further an organization’s exempt purpose and for which the organization was created to conduct.
Source: Form 990, Part I, Line 13
Program Service Revenue (Including Medicare, Medicaid Payments and Govt Fees and Contracts)
Program services are primarily those activities that the reporting organization was created to conduct and which, along with any activities commenced subsequently, form the basis of the organization’s current exemption from tax. Program Service Revenue includes income earned by the organization for providing a government agency with a service, facility, or product that benefited that government agency directly rather than benefiting the public as a whole. It also includes: tuition received by a school; revenue from admissions to a concert or other performing arts event; registration fees received in connection with a meeting or convention, and other activities. It includes income from program-related investments, and also from unrelated trade or business activities that generate fees for services.
Source: Form 990, Part I, Line 2
Generally, include common and preferred stocks, bonds (including governmental obligations such as bonds and Treasury bills), and mutual fund shares listed and regularly traded in an over-the-counter market or an established exchange and for which market quotations are published or are otherwise readily available.
Source: Form 990, Part IV, Line 54a
Receivables Due from Disqualified Persons
All receivables due from disqualified persons (as defined under section 4958(f)(1) and persons described in section 4958(c)(3)(B) for the year. A disqualified person is any person who was in a position to exercise substantial influence over the affairs of the organization at anytime during a 5-year period ending on the date of the transaction, such as voting members of the governing body, presidents, chief executive officers, treasurers and chief financial officers. It also includes certain family members of a disqualified person.
Source: Form 990, Part IV, Line 50b
Receivable Due from Officers, etc.
All receivables due from current and former officers, directors, trustees, and key employees, and all secured and unsecured loans to such persons. A key employee is any person having responsibilities, powers, or influence similar to those of officers, directors, or trustees. It includes the chief management and administrative officials of an organization, and the chief financial officer if he or she has the authority to control the organization’s activities, its finances, or both.
Source: Form 990, Part IV, Line 50a
A public charity described in section 509(a)(1) or section 509(a)(2) supported by a supporting organization described in section 509(a)(3).
A supporting organization is organized and operated to support supported organizations. Supporting organizations are classified as either Type I (operated, supervised, or controlled by one or more supported organizations), Type II (supervised or controlled in connection with one or more supported organizations), Type III functionally integrated (operated in connection with one or more supported organizations, if the supporting organization’s activities perform the functions of or carry out the purposes of, such supported organizations, and but for the supporting organization’s involvement such activities would normally be engaged in by the supported organizations themselves), or Type III other (operated in connection with one or more supported organizations and not functionally integrated). A supporting organization may not be controlled directly or indirectly by one or more disqualified persons.
Unrelated Business Income
For most organizations, an activity is an unrelated business (and subject to unrelated business income tax) if it meets three requirements:
- It is a trade or business,
- It is regularly carried on, and
- It is not substantially related to furthering the exempt purpose of the organization.
Source: Form 990, Part VI, Line 78a