How to View Tax Returns of a Nonprofit Online

By Michael Keenan
Charitable organizations, a tax return, informational document

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The Internal Revenue Service requires all nonprofits with more than $50,000 in gross receipts to file a tax return each year. They must make their tax returns available to the public for at least three years after filing. These returns include Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, Form 990-PF, Return of Private Foundation, as well as Form 1065, U.S. Partnership Return of Income. A section 501(c)(3) organization must make any Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return, filed after August 17, 2006, available for public inspection and copying. Most smaller nonprofits whose annual gross receipts are normally $50,000 or less are only required to submit an informational document, Form 990-N, also known as the e-Postcard, to the IRS.

Where to Obtain Returns

The IRS does not maintain an online database of tax returns for nonprofits that you can search. However, many nonprofits make their returns available through their websites. In addition, several nonprofit watchdog groups make copies of the returns filed by nonprofits available through their websites, including Guidestar.org and Foundationcenter.org. When you go to the site, you can search for the nonprofit in which you're interested and find the return.

About the Author

Mark Kennan is a writer based in the Kansas City area, specializing in personal finance and business topics. He has been writing since 2009 and has been published by "Quicken," "TurboTax," and "The Motley Fool."