This tax year will see the launch of a new Form 990 by the IRS. Let me say the new form has many things that I am ambivalent about. For example, why listing board members who are no longer on the board at the time the form is completed matters I do not know. Or asking if the board looked at the 990 without qualifiying what “reviewed the 990″ means is anybody’s guess.
However, the idea of asking more indepth questions about your governance and requiring a narrative about your programs…now that is a plus. Even if the length of the answers varies by organization it is a useful exercise to go through!
Do not get me wrong…there is not likely to be an office of IRS agents combing through these answers ready to judge them worthy and then picking a scant few to possibly audit. But they do ask…and for any organization that struggles with a description of their governance structure and programs should be ashamed!
For those organizations that can still file the 990-N (less than $25,000 in revenue) it might be worth considering how you would answer these questions. Engaging in deeper thought could put you on the road to growing as an organization. Imagine, the IRS presents our sector with an opportunity to think beyond our current state…pretty neat.