The Internal Revenue Service announced that the publicly available data on electronically filed Forms 990 will now be available for the first time in a machine-readable format through Amazon Web Services (AWS). The publicly available data does not include donor information or other personally identifiable information. Today’s launch of this effort marks an important step forward in access to this important public data.
Previously, this Form 990 data was only available in image files. This data, which includes filings from 2011 to the present, will now be available as an XML file that is downloadable from the web via AWS.
“The publicly available information on the Form 990 series is vital to those interested in the tax-exempt community,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “The IRS appreciates the feedback we’ve received from a variety of outside partners as we’ve worked together to explore improvements to make this data more easily accessible.”
The data includes Form 990, Form 990-EZ and Form 990-PF and related schedules with the exception of certain donor information. The IRS also redacts certain personally identifiable tax-identification numbers to prevent the data’s misuse. Data from Form 990-N (e-postcard) used by certain smaller exempt organizations is not available with this data, but it can be accessed through IRS.gov.
Over sixty percent of all Form 990 returns are electronically filed with the IRS. Both paper and electronically filed 990 returns will continue to have image files made and these files will continue to be available by DVD.
A tax-exempt organization must file an annual information return or notice with the IRS, unless an exception applies. Annual information returns include Form 990, Form 990-EZ and Form 990-PF. Form 990-N (e-Postcard) is an annual notice.
Form 990 is the IRS’ primary tool for gathering information about tax-exempt organizations, educating organizations about tax law requirements and promoting compliance. Organizations also use the Form 990 to share information with the public about their programs. Additionally, most states rely on the Form 990 to perform charitable and other regulatory oversight and to satisfy state income tax filing requirements for organizations claiming exemption from state income tax.