Documents that require ready access

If someone came to your office and asked to see documentation about your organization’s nonprofit status, could you produce the correct forms? According to the IRS, you are obligated to produce copies of certain annual returns and applications for exemption to individuals who request them. In-person requests must be produced immediately, and written requests have a 30-day fulfillment window. (And, you can charge for the copies and applicable postage in both cases.) Here’s the list of what you need to have available:

–         Exemption application – include IRS Forms 1023 or 1024, as applicable, along with any correspondence from the IRS regarding the application. (Note: Forms 1023 and 1024 are for organizations that filed applications after July 15, 1987.)

–         Annual returns for three years – all of the versions of Form 990 that apply: 990-EZ, 990-PF, 990-T (filed after 8/17/2006), along with Form 1065, the U.S. Partnership Return of Income. Include the schedules and attachments that relate to unrelated business income.

–         For private foundations only: the name and address of contributors.

–         For political organizations only: Form 8872, Political Organization Report of Contributions and Expenditures

Being prepared with the correct documents in one easy-to-find location can reduce stress and will also put you in a good position for times that you need to refer to the documents for information.