- Nonprofit organizations must file an annual Form 990 with the IRS. The form summarizes finances, lists board members with salaries of top officers, and provides other general information. Nonprofits are required to share their 990 forms by posting on the web or providing information during business hours. Most are now becoming available on the web at Guidestar.org, at the web sites of individual organizations, and at other association sites.
- Depending on the type of nonprofit (or "not for profit"), they may also file an annual report with the Secretary of State's Office, Department of Corporations. You can request these reports directly from the State when they are not online. However, some states make annual reports available online.
- Another interesting fact is that annual reports from an organization will usually provide information and details not in the official federal and state filings, whereas, the official filings may provide details not in annual reports. What to use could depend on what you want to know.
- Various laws regulate where and when reports must be filed, what they must contain, and how the reports must be distributed, and this in turn depends on the type of nonprofit in question. The IRS website has further detailed explanations about types of nonprofits.
About Form 990 and Disclosure:
Guidestar has year by year articles about the Form 990.
NASCO (National Association of State Charity Officials), a group of government regulators. Originating from a discussion at the 1999 NAAG-NASCO Seminar in Charleston, SC, The Charleston Principles have been adopted by NASCO as guidance to state charity officials as to when state registration is required for Internet charitable solicitations.
Finding a company's Form 990
- Foundation Center
The Foundation Center is a national nonprofit service organization recognized as the nation’s leading authority on organized philanthropy.
Provides free access to a database of 990-PF tax returns. This project was started several years ago by Grantsmart and contains publicly available data received from the IRS. To search NOZA's companion database containing more than 1,000,000 foundation grant records (fee based service), visit NOZA. This database is primarily composed of of grant-making organizations rather than grant-seeking or operating organizations. They will allow a free 24 hour trial to use their database.
- ERI Economic Research Institute
Their library consists of 2,000,000 Form 990, 990PF, and 990EZ reports. These "photos" of IRS returns are processed (changed to text) at the rate of 60,000 per month.