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Modesto California Form 990-EZ: What You Should Know

As with any tax return, the 990 can be a useful tool to make sure that the organization is eligible for a particular tax exemption. However, the 990 forms can be a very complex document to manage and read. Some tax professionals even advise people to not  rely on the 990 forms at all. In fact, a person should be very careful while reading the 990 forms to the extent that it includes information that is inconsistent with the organization's legal status or that could affect another tax-exempt status that is being challenged. So how does the new 990 relate to California law? While it is certainly true that the 990 has been revised since its previous form in 2008, some questions remain about what the IRS has said or changed with respect to California law. First, the IRS has said that the 990 forms may be used as a resource to help determine which organization is or is not eligible for a specific exemption; however, the new 990 does not contain any information about California law.  Therefore, the new 990 does not provide any “legal advice” on California tax law. The 990s of 2024 and 2024 may not show the specific exemption that the organization is claiming, as a result of the changes made to how the 990 and 990-EZ forms are prepared in 2017.  Since that guidance was posted in April 2017, a number of organizations have filed 990-EZ (filing on Oct. 22, 2017) or 990-PF (filing on Sept. 12, 2017) regarding the state of California tax laws. Some of these reports (which were filed on or before the date of the guidance posted on April 13, 2017) can be helpful in determining whether the organization is claiming a specific exemption. However, the 990 is not meant as a guide to the exact facts contained in the state or federal tax laws. Instead, it documents many of the general facts about the organization, such as its size, number of officers, directors, employees with tax-exempt status, amount of income and expenditures, etc.  Therefore, it is important that the information in the 990 does not include information that is inconsistent with, or that might indicate that the organization is not entitled to claim a specific exemption under state or federal tax law.

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