IRS 990 Forms
This page lists links to access 990 forms online and provides a description of the 990 forms and how they are used for grants research and for researching nonprofit organizations.
On this page:
Web Links to Access 990 Forms
- Foundation Directory Online Free
- A free look-up tool, from the Foundation Center, that allows you to search for the IRS information returns of private foundations, public charities, and other nonprofit organizations. A detailed explanation of 990-PF forms is available at "What are Forms 990-PF and where can I find them?"
- Registration required but it is free. Searchable database of over 2,000,000 nonprofits and charities including information on programs and finances of some, based on the organization's IRS Form 990. Includes scanned images of IRS Form 990's and 990-PF's for many nonprofits. More information on 990 forms is available at GuideStar's Form 990 FAQs.
Explanation of the 990-PF
Start with the Foundation Center's FAQ on interpreting the information provided on the IRS Form 990-PF at and their excellent tutorial that explains 990-PF forms and how to use them.
Guidestar also offers a how-to video tutorial for reading the Form 990.
What is the 990-PF?
The annual Information Return that U.S. private foundations file with the IRS.
The 990 form is public information and is available on the Internet, from the IRS, from the State's Attorney General's office or from the foundation itself.
Why is the 990-PF important?
It may be the only source where you can find complete grants list, particularly for smaller and mid-sized foundations. Larger foundations often issue annual reports and/or have Web sites which contain this information.
What information is included?
- Financial data
- Application guidelines
- Names of foundation's board/officers/trustees
- Complete list of grants awarded
How current are they?
Typically one to two years behind.
Where can I view them online?
How do I find the information I need on a 990-PF?
The Foundation Center explains the form with this diagram (PDF).
- Page 1, top section & line 25: Date, name, address, assets, grants paid
- Page 6, Part VIII, line 1: List of board/officers/trustees*
- Page 9, Part XV, line 2, a, b c, d: Application information*
- Page 10, Part XV, line 3: Grants paid*
*Often you will be referred to supplementary pages at the end of the form for this information. For example, "See Statement 6, 8, etc."
All public charities no matter their size must file a form of the 990 form. The Foundation Center explains that "Under the old rules, charities with annual gross receipts under $25,000 did not need to file a return. Now these organizations will be required to file the new Form 990-N, or "e-Postcard," to report basic information on the organization. Charities that do not file their 990s are at risk for losing their federal tax exempt status."
The Foundation Center explains How can I obtain copies of a public charity's IRS Form 990?