Form 990 Availability Resumes; Filers Urged Not to Include Social Security Numbers
Sept. 4, 2013
Following an internal review, the IRS has resumed making the Form 990 series filed by exempt organizations available. Based on the internal review, the IRS determined there is low risk of Social Security numbers (SSNs) being included in recent Form 990 filings.
In July 2013, the IRS received specific information that a substantial number of SSNs were improperly included by some section 527 political organizations in their filings with the IRS. In an abundance of caution, the IRS removed the public database that contained the filings of the 527 political organizations. In addition, and again in an abundance of caution, the IRS suspended production of the copies of the Form 990 series being provided to third-party groups as required under law.
The IRS conducted an internal review of the Form 990 series. After reviewing a statistically valid sample of recent filings, the IRS confirmed that there is low risk of SSNs being improperly included in new Form 990 filings. Given the low risk, the IRS will resume release of new Form 990 series to third-party groups. However, the IRS will periodically conduct a statistically valid sample of new Form 990s to ensure that the risk remains low. Based on this review, the IRS will periodically reassess its decision.
In addition, the IRS will continue to aggressively reach out to remind exempt organizations not to include SSNs or other unneeded personal information on the filings. Moreover, the IRS urges exempt organizations to file the Form 990s electronically in order to reduce the risk of inadvertently including SSNs.