Are a nonprofit's finances public information?

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Question:

I work for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Are its financial statements available for public viewing -- especially regarding management salaries?

Answer:

Indeed. Nonprofits are required to submit their financial statements and other information -- including the salaries of directors, officers, and key employees -- to the IRS. (For information on who is considered a key employee, see IRS Form 990 and its instructions.)

The IRS and nonprofits themselves are required to disclose the information on Form 990 to anyone who asks. Nonprofits must allow public inspection of these records during regular business hours at their principal offices. However, many people won't even need to ask -- a number of websites make Forms 990 available for the searching, including the Foundation Center at http://fdncenter.org and GuideStar at www.guidestar.org.

In addition, people can request information from the IRS by writing a letter, including the name of the organization, the year, and the type of tax return requested, and send it to:

Commissioner of Internal Revenue
Attn: Freedom of Information Reading Room
1111 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20224

 

Learn more about IRS regulations with Nolo's book, Every Nonprofit's Tax Guide.

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