Not-for-Profit Tax Compliance Resources
The regulatory environment in the not-for-profit (NFP) sector is always changing. NFPs and their auditors run the risk of not remaining informed. Some of the key areas that affect NFPs are: obtaining and maintaining tax-exempt status, federal and state filing requirements, employment and payroll-related tax compliance, and state charitable solicitation laws.
Looking for something in particular? Try the search filters on the left to narrow your search. The types of resources you will find under "by document type" include checklists, practice guides, background papers, articles, and more.
The following resources are created and intended as an individual benefit of AICPA Not-for-Profit Section membership. The materials are copyrighted and may not be used without permission this includes any further distribution of the materials (including posting on a website)..
These resources are designed as educational and reference material; they do not establish standards or preferred practices, and they are subject to change. Where specific permission is granted for use (not distribution or posting), users are responsible for final content; please review those resources carefully and make any changes necessary for your specific use.
Note: Please be aware as you are browsing and downloading resources that we are currently in the process of updating many of them for new FASB standards becoming effective.
Quick reads are blogs or short-form articles that deliver actionable information in a "quick read." They are unlocked and available to the public.
Creative Fundraising Ideas from a Tax Perspective
Today’s nonprofits are using many contemporary, creative, and exciting fundraising methods. It's important to plan for these types of events and ventures carefully and deploy them strategically. This article covers key considerations to keep in mind from a tax-compliance perspective.
2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: What’s Ahead for Not-for-Profits
The Conference Committee has agreed upon a final set of tax reform provisions. This article summarizes key provisions of interest to not-for-profit organizations.
Exempt Organization Executive Compensation: Compliance and Curiosity
Compliance is critical given the IRS's focus on executive compensation arrangements. Here's how the IRS—and the public—are watching exempt organizations in this area, and how the enactment of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act raised the stakes for exempt organization executive compensation.
Tell Your Not-for-Profit's Story with Form 990 Schedule O
This article covers the basic requirements of Schedule O and, equally important, ways to use it to tell your not-for-profit organization's story.
IRS Uses Data-Driven Approach to Audit Selection
This article compares the IRS's old and current approaches for audit selection, and discusses the effects of eliminating subjectivity from how auditees are identified and selected.
Form 990 Resources
Help! IRS Form 990 Doesn't Align with the New Not-for-Profit Accounting Standard
Those adopting the new financial reporting standard may be wondering why the IRS hasn't updated Form 990 to reflect applicable accounting changes. Learn about the AICPA's recommendations for Form 990 updates submitted to the IRS, and what you can do if the IRS doesn't update the form before your next filing deadline.
Form 990: Most Common Errors
Read about the most common errors on Form 990, as compiled by the IRS Exempt Organizations Division, based on what they saw on the “new” Form 990 in the early years of filing that return.
Form 990-PF: Most Common Errors
This article describes the most common errors made when preparing IRS Form 990-PF for private foundations.
Overview of Form 990 Series of Returns (PDF)
This article provides an overview of the key components and schedules of each of the forms in the 990 series of returns.
Form 990 Red Flags for 501(c)(3) Charitable Organizations (PDF)
This article is intended to be used as a guide for a Form 990 reviewer to identify potential red flags that should be examined or considered prior to filing.
Differences Between GAAP Financial Statements vs Form 990 (PDF)
Do you know the differences between the requirements of GAAP and the required presentation of financial information in Form 990? This reference chart will help you understand the key reconciling differences.
Form 990 Schedule-Specific Resources:
Navigating the Challenges of Schedule A – Public Support Test
Schedule A is required by most U.S. charities that file Form 990 (or Form 990-EZ). Learn how to navigate this challenging schedule's public support tests.
The Ins and Outs of Schedule B
Schedule B, the Schedule of Contributors for exempt organizations preparing and filing the Form 990, 990-EZ, and 990-PF, generally is filed annually by any organization receiving contributions in excess of $5,000 from a single donor. Learn more about the intricacies of this complicated requirement.
Compliance Brief: Reporting Political Activities and Lobbying (PDF)
Get an overview of Form 990 Schedule C reporting considerations for tax-exempt entities.
Demystifying Form 990 Schedule L (PDF)
Download our quick reference guide to help reviewers and preparers of Form 990 understand the key requirements of IRS Form 990 Schedule L, Transactions With Interested Persons.
Form 990 Preparation Checklists:
- Form 990 Organizer (PDF)
- Form 990 Checklist (PDF)
- Form 990-EZ Checklist (PDF)
- Form 990-PF Checklist (PDF)
- Form 990-T Checklist (PDF)
Terms and Notice for Readers
The Form 990 Checklists are used by tax preparers and reviewers to ensure compliance with reporting and documentation requirements, as well as to identify planning opportunities and potential exam or audit risks on the Form 990 series of returns. The Form 990 Organizer is a client-facing document meant to assist in the collection of client information necessary to prepare a Form 990.The Form 990 Checklists and Organizer do not cover all nuances and circumstances, nor are they intended to be a substitute for thoroughly reading and understanding the Form 990 series of returns, their schedules, and the accompanying instructions
The Form 990 Checklists and Form 990 Organizer are created by and copyrighted to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), which reserves all rights. Access is intended as an individual benefit of AICPA Not-for-Profit Section and Tax Section membership. These resources are designed as educational and reference material; they do not establish standards or preferred practices, and they are subject to change. Users are responsible for final content; please review these resources carefully and make any changes necessary for your specific use.
Compliance Issues for NFPs
Nonprofits and Legislative Activity: Peaceful Co-existence?
Not-for-profit and governmental activities often intersect, as nonprofits seek to influence the actions of federal, state, local, school board, and other authorities. This article presents key considerations to keep nonprofits on the road to success with political activity.
Compliance Issues for Fundraising Organizations
Special events generate a great deal of excitement, but they can also result in headaches if compliance issues are overlooked. This article summarizes some of the biggest compliance-related challenges associated with special events and gaming activities.
How to Prove Certain Business Expenses
This easy-to-use tool tells you what details your records need to include to substantiate various types of business expenses.
FAQs: Tax-Exempt Church Schools
Churches face a number of unique tax compliance considerations, filing requirements (and exceptions) that don't apply to other tax-exempt not-for-profits. This list of frequently asked questions regarding church schools was created to help eliminate any resulting confusion.
Unrelated Business Income Taxes (UBIT)
Debt-financed Property – The Basics
Does your not-for-profit have unrelated business taxable income from debt-financed property? The unrelated debt-financed income rules are complex, but this primer will help you understand the basics.
Unrelated Business Income Taxes (UBIT) in a Nutshell
Do you know whether your NFP has unrelated business activities? This article provides an overview.
Unrelated Business Income Taxes (UBIT) (PDF)
Read this article for a primer on UBIT and learn about the most common UBI generating activities. Also discussed are typical exemptions, exclusions and exceptions.
Unrelated business income tax (UBIT) is an area of the tax law that can cause headaches for many who work with not-for-profit organizations. Everyone needs to know about UBIT – and how these rules might affect their organizations. This article provides some examples of concepts that may warrant further investigation.
Employment and Payroll Compliance
IRS Accountable Plan Requirements: A Primer for NFPs (PDF)
It is common for NFPs to reimburse employees for out-of-pocket expenses. Did you know that NFPs, like any other business, are required to report reimbursements that do not qualify under an accountable plan as W-2 earnings, and the amounts paid are subject to payroll tax withholding requirements? With some careful planning and diligent recordkeeping, NFPs can avoid these reporting requirements by creating an accountable reimbursement plan (ARP) that meets IRS Guidelines. Learn how to properly structure your ARP to comply with IRS requirements.
Compliance with State Charitable Solicitation Laws
Overview of Laws Regarding Charitable Solicitation and Registration Requirements (PDF)
Learn about registration requirements and initiatives to simplify and clarify the registration process. Topics discussed include the Unified Registration Statement (URS) and Charleston Principles that apply to entities that use a website to solicit contributions.
Get the targeted learning you need to perform highly effective audit engagements. The AICPA offers CPE-eligible courses developed by leading experts in coordination with the NFP Section's technical staff. Section members receive an exclusive 20% discount on continuing education and other not-for-profit products offered by AICPA. Learn more about the exclusive discounts available for our member community.