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Form 990

IRS Form 990 - In lieu of filing an income tax return each year, the 501(c)(3) organization must file the Form 990, an information return which allows the public to see what you have done and where your revenue goes.  Although this form can be administratively burdensome, it also serves somewhat as a marketing tool to potential donors.  It is through this transparency document that you can describe your mission, objectives, and programming.  Recently, the IRS has made this form both easier and more difficult.  For new organizations that do not yet receive high amounts of revenue, a mere e-postcard is required.  The next level up is the 990-EZ for another bracket of receipts, while the full 990 (and more difficult) is for even higher earners.  This way, organizations are enabled to ease into the process.  The 990 was revised this year to gain even more transparency and accountability, giving the charities the opportunity to describe their activities in more words.   However, the new form also provides charities with essentially more rope to hang themselves with if unaware of what the IRS is looking for.