Public Disclosure and Availability of Exempt Organizations Returns and Applications: Exemption Where Organization Makes Documents "Widely Available"


Is there an exception to the requirement that an exempt organization provide copies of its exemption application and annual returns?

A tax-exempt organization does not have to comply with individual requests for copies if it makes the documents widely available as described in the regulations. This can be done by posting the documents on a readily accessible World Wide Web site, either its own or on a database of exempt organization documents maintained by another organization. To be within this exception, however, the documents must be posted in a format that meets the criteria set forth in the regulations.  In general, the format must exactly reproduce the image of the original document and allow an Internet user to access, download, view and print the posted document without the payment of a fee. One format that currently meets the criteria is Portable Document Format (.pdf). An organization that makes its documents widely available in this manner must advise requesters how to access the forms.

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