Approximately two-thirds of the organizations that are registered as tax-exempt don’t file a Form 990 with the IRS in any given year, according to NCCS. Congregations and some other religious organizations, as well as organizations with less than $25,000 in gross receipts, are in this category.
They do, however, need to file the brief form 990N electronic postcard. But this gives no details about the organization or its finances.
Here are all the exceptions – from the “Guide to Using NCCS Data“:
Unless a public charity falls under one of the filing exceptions below, it is required to file IRS Form 990.
1. A church, an interchurch organization of local units of a church, a convention or association of churches, an integrated church (such as a men’s or women’s organization, religious school, mission society, or youth group).
2. Church-affiliated organizations that are exclusively engaged in managing funds or maintaining retirement programs.
3. A school below college level affiliated with a church or operated by a religious order.
4. A mission society sponsored by, or affiliated with, one or more churches or church denominations, if more than half of activities are conducted in, or directed at persons in foreign countries.
5. An exclusively religious activity of any religious order.
6. A state institution whose income is excluded from gross income.
7. An organization that is described as an instrument of the United States and is exempt from federal income taxes.
8. A private foundation exempt under section 501(c)(3) and described in section 509(a)- Use Form 990-PF (described below).
9. A black lung benefit trust described in section 501(c)(21).
10. A stock bonus, pension, or profit-sharing trust that qualifies under section 401.
11. A religious or apostolic organization described in section 501(d).
12. A foreign organization whose annual gross receipts from sources within the U.S. are normally $25,000 or less.
13. A governmental unit or affiliate of a governmental unit.
14. A political organization that is
a. A state or local committee of a political party;
b. A political committee of a state or local candidate;
c. A caucus or association of state or local officials;
d. An authorized committee of a candidate for federal office;
e. A national committee of a political party;
f. A United States House of Representatives or United States Senate campaign committee of a political party committee;
g. Required to report under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 as a political committee; or
h. An organization described under section 6033(g)(3)(G)
15. An organization whose annual gross receipts are normally $25,000 or less.