Both Guidestar and the Foundation Center post the IRS 990 forms for non-profits. Non-profits must file with the IRS on the 15th of the 5th month following their fiscal year end, so for December year-end, they file on May 15th. BUT there is a considerable lag in getting the forms online. Here is what the Foundation Center says about how long it takes for the reports to make it to their website:
In most instances, the time between filing Form 990s and posting them on the Center’s Web site is 5-7 months. We receive the latest Forms 990-PF from the IRS every few weeks and add them to our collection, accessible through our various databases.
However, the total lag time between the end of a foundation’s fiscal year and the point when its IRS filing is publicly available can be anywhere from 12 to 18 months. Foundations have 4 1/2 months to file, and they can request filing extensions. Also, not all foundations end their fiscal year on December 31.
You can see when a foundation usually files its return by looking at “Date Received” stamp on past years’ returns. This filing pattern may help you estimate when a funder’s latest IRS filing will be publicly available online.
So what are your options if the current reports are not online? First, I’d check the website of the non-profit you are researching to see if they have posted the 990 form.
You could also make a request in person or in writing. According to IRS disclosure regulations, exempt organizations must make their three most recently filed annual 990 or 990-PF returns and all related supporting documents available for public inspection. Requests made in person must be fulfilled immediately, or within 30 days for a written request, with no charge other than a reasonable fee to cover photocopying and mailing expenses.