How to find information about a nonprofit using the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search (TEOS)
Updated: February 20, 2020
Have you ever wanted to learn some basic information about a nonprofit, such as who sits on the board, how much money it generates, or where the money goes? The IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search (TEOS) is a valuable website for persons interested in basic information about a tax-exempt organization and includes information about its board of directors and, for larger organizations, its financial information.
To search, go to the IRS website or a search engine and type in TEOS. You can search by organization name, EIN, address, or geographic location.
On TEOS, you can learn:
- whether an organization is eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions;
- whether an organization has had its tax-exempt status automatically revoked. (Revocation occurs when an organization fails to file its annual Form 990 Information Return for three consecutive years.);
- an organization’s determination letter (for letters issued on or after January 1, 2014); and
- an organization’s Form 990 information returns. The Form 990 provides detailed information about the nonprofit’s finances, including income, donations received, expenses, and payments to leadership and members of the board of directors. Note, many small nonprofits file a 990-N Postcard which does not contain financial information.
What is the impact of TEOS on nonprofits?
The impact should be negligible, as this information has long been publicly available from the IRS or other sources, such as Guidestar.com.
That being said, organizations should take a moment to review the information available on TEOS to ensure it is accurate.
The IRS TEOS website is a good opportunity to verify your organization’s exemption has not been automatically revoked. This is not an uncommon occurrence for small clubs in which the treasurer changes every year or two and the organization does not have a formal postal address. Automatic revocations can easily slip by the club and not be noticed until a donor (or prospective) donor uses the TEOS to verify the deductibility of a contribution.
Lastly, the TEOS is an easy way to look up an organization’s Form 990. Historically, you had to subscribe or register to a service that published this information. You no longer have to do that being with Tax Year 2018 filings.