Public Inspection of Exemption Applications and Annual Returns
A tax-exempt organization must make the following documents available for public inspection and copying upon request and without charge (except for a reasonable fee for copying). The IRS also makes these documents available for public inspection and copying. Because certain forms by law must be made publicly available by the IRS and the filer, do not include any personal identifying information, such as social security numbers not required by the IRS, on these forms.
Exemption Application — A non-501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization must make available for public inspection its exemption application, Form 1024, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(a), along with each of the following documents:
• all documents submitted with Form 1024,
• all documents the IRS requires the organization to submit in support of its application, and
• the exemption ruling letter issued by the IRS.
Annual Information Return — A tax-exempt organization must disclose its annual information return (Form 990 series) with schedules, attachments, and supporting documents filed with the IRS. The organization may not disclose the names and addresses of contributors listed on Schedule B of Form 990. However, other information on Schedule B is open for public inspection unless it clearly identifies the contributor. Returns need to be available for public inspection for only three years after the due date or filing date of the return (or the filing date of an amended return).
Disclosure Procedures — A tax-exempt organization may place reasonable restrictions on the time, place, and manner of in-person inspection and copying, and may charge a reasonable fee for providing copies. The organization can also charge the actual postage costs it pays to provide copies. A tax-exempt organization does not have to comply with individual requests for copies if it makes the documents widely available. This can be done by posting the documents on a readily accessible Web site.
All publicly available information may be obtained from the IRS for a fee by using Form 4506-A, Request for Public Inspection or Copy of Exempt or Political Organization IRS Form. An organization may obtain a complete copy of its own application by filing Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return.