IRS releases final Form 990 and instructions

The Internal Revenue Service announced on December 24 that it has released the final versions of the 2008 Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return, schedules, and instructions effective for the 2008 tax year.

The new form consists of an 11-page, 11-part core form that is required to be completed by all organizations that file the Form 990, and schedules to be completed by those organizations that satisfy the applicable requirements for each schedule.

The redesigned Form 990 must be filed in 2009 for the 2008 tax year. Form 990-EZ generally was not changed, although schedules from the Form 990 redesign must be used with the 2008 Form 990-EZ.

Some areas of major changes in reporting requirements include governance and compensation of officers, directors, trustees, key employees, and highest compensated employees.

Other areas of change include determination of public charity status and public support; supplemental financial statement reporting; and fundraising, special events and gaming. Part IV of the new form is a checklist of required schedules. Organizations are required to answer yes or no to 37 questions.

Changes to the schedules to Form 990 include, according to the IRS's "Background Paper Forms 990, Moving From the Old to the New" include:

  • Schedule A has been revised to emphasize reporting of public charity status and public support.
  • Schedule D contains new reporting requirements for conservation organizations, museums, and other organizations maintaining collections of works of art and other items, credit counseling organizations, and others holding funds in escrow or custodial arrangements, and organizations maintaining endowments.
  • Schedule G requires reporting of certain information regarding arrangements with professional fundraisers, special events, and gaming activities.
  • Other new schedules include those for reporting foreign activities (Schedule F), hospitals (Schedule H), tax exempt bonds (Schedule K), and non-cash contributions.

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