An End to the Form 990 Revision Process – Mostly!

by Linda M. Lampkin, Senior Nonprofit Compensation Specialist 19. September 2011 09:17

Form 990 revisions started by the IRS in 2007 (incorporated in the 2008 Form 990, typically filed in 2009) are at last final! Form 990 had not been significantly revised since 1979, and both the IRS and those having to file the form and use the data were in agreement that major revisions were needed to reflect changes in the law and with the increasing size, diversity, and complexity of the tax-exempt sector. The redesign was a collaborative process with a public comment process that included more than 800 comments. These final regulations represent a milestone.

For those concerned with compensation, there were many important changes in reporting requirements, including new threshold amounts for reporting compensation and a requirement that compensation be reported on a calendar year basis, whatever the fiscal year of the organization. See all of the details in the instructions and in the Form itself here. Each year, the IRS provides a summary about all the changes from year to year. Click here for the 2010 details.

While Form 990 is done, Form 990-PF for private foundations and Form 990-EZ for smaller nonprofits remain unrevised. The IRS has said that prospects for changes in these forms are going to be done in the near future because of budget constraints.

And don’t expect the minor changes in Form 990 to end -- the IRS continues to refine and address issues with all of its forms on a continuous basis, so while these major revisions are done, all filers have to read the instructions carefully each year.