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.
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