How to Read a 990

Many nonprofits submit their annual tax return (990) to the IRS in July or August each year (depending on your fiscal year). The Community Foundation wishes to remind all nonprofit Boards that thoroughly reviewing and understanding your organization’s 990 is one of your most critical roles as board members. The consequences of not filing or filing inaccurately can have big implications for nonprofits (in the worst case scenario, the IRS could revoke your charitable tax status).

We recommend providing a guide to reviewing the 990 to all board members when you share your draft 990 for board approval. Guidestar’s resource, Highlights to Form 990, is a good overview.  In section B, Policies, Line 11A must be checked to acknowledge that all board members saw and reviewed the 990 before filing. As board members, if you have questions, it is important to educate yourself and find out the answer! Remember, the 990 is a public document that can have a significant impact on the organization, its donors, and its other stakeholders.

If you have additional questions on how to read the 990, please contact Karen O’Connor, YVCF’s Finance Director (karen@yvcf.org)