What tax exempt organizations need to know about disclosure

Two types of disclosure are: 1) information about your organization and 2) information that your donor needs when they make a contribution. Today’s post covers what you need to provide regarding information about your organization.

Tax exempt organizations need to be prepared to make annual tax returns (all forms related to the 990) and exemption applications available for public inspection – immediately if it’s an in-person request, and within 30 days if the request comes by mail, email or fax. Here are some of the details that are helpful to know:

–          If your organization has regional or district employees with three or more employees, then those offices must also be prepared to respond to requests.

–         You need to have available your application for tax exempt status and the last three years of returns, including schedules and attachments.

–         Unless you are a private foundation, you do not have to disclose the name and address of any contributor.

–         You may charge a reasonable copying fee (and postage, if applicable) for each request. Reasonable may be defined by the government’s current charge for copying Freedom of Information Act materials, which is .20 per page.

–         You do not have to provide copies if your information is posted online in an easily readable format, such as a pdf. This is considered widely available information. You can direct requests to the online access for information. However, you must still have documents available for public inspection.

I like to provide you with an overview of topics in my blog posts to answer the most common questions. If you need more detailed information, visit the IRS Web site.