IRS resumes availability of Form 990 series public inspection copies 

September 9: The IRS has resumed making Form 990 series returns, filed by tax-exempt organizations, available for public inspection after concluding that there is low risk of social security numbers being included in recent Form 990 filings.


Section 6104(b) requires, in relevant part, the IRS to make Form 990 series returns available to the public (in addition to the requirement that organizations themselves make copies of Forms 990 available to the public).

To facilitate this process, Form 4506-A, Request for Public Inspection or Copy of Exempt or Political Organization IRS Form, may be used. Additionally, copies of Forms 990-N (e-Postcard) are available electronically at IRS Select Check.

Public inspection of Form 990 series returns

In July 2013, the IRS suspended production of public inspection copies of Form 990 series returns to third parties in response to a concern that organizations improperly included social security numbers (SSNs) in their filings with the IRS.

Following an internal review, the IRS has resumed making the Form 990 series filed by tax-exempt organizations available. The IRS concluded that there is low risk of SSNs being included in recent Form 990 filings. Read the IRS news release (September 4, 2013).

The instructions to the Form 990 series returns include reminders not to include SSNs on publicly disclosed forms, and the IRS encourages organizations to file their returns electronically in order to reduce the risk of inadvertently including SSNs.

Although the printed Form 990 series instructions state that “by law, with limited exceptions, neither the organization nor the IRS may remove that information before making the form publicly available,” the IRS announced on its website (effective August 2, 2013) that the language regarding its ability to remove such information from public inspection copies was removed.

KPMG observation

Regardless of whether the IRS has the authority to delete certain information, such as SSNs, from public-disclosure copies of Forms 990, its ability to actually do so may be limited. Tax-exempt organizations need to remember not to include personal information that is not required by the form or instructions in their Form 990 returns.

For more information, contact:

Rick Speizman, Partner-in-Charge of KPMG's Washington National Tax Exempt Organizations Tax group

+1 (202) 533-3084

©2013 KPMG LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership and the U.S. member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.

The KPMG logo and name are trademarks of KPMG International.

KPMG International is a Swiss cooperative that serves as a coordinating entity for a network of independent member firms. KPMG International provides no audit or other client services. Such services are provided solely by member firms in their respective geographic areas. KPMG International and its member firms are legally distinct and separate entities. They are not and nothing contained herein shall be construed to place these entities in the relationship of parents, subsidiaries, agents, partners, or joint venturers. No member firm has any authority (actual, apparent, implied or otherwise) to obligate or bind KPMG International or any member firm in any manner whatsoever.

The information contained in herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.

Direct comments, including requests for subscriptions, to
For more information, contact KPMG's Federal Tax Legislative and Regulatory Services Group at:

+ 1 202 533 4366

1801 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20006.

Share this

Share this


Current and future KPMG clients may subscribe to TaxNewsFlash email alerts.

Email your contact information.

TaxNewsFlash-Exempt Organizations by year