We include the rental income from our low income apartment house on line 6 of our Form 990 tax return under gross rents. Is that correct?
Probably not. If one of your charitable purposes is to provide low income housing, the income from the activity should be reported on line 2 as program service revenue. Many organizations that receive rent from related activities, or interest from program related loans, make the mistake of reporting on the income on the rental or interest lines of the form when they should report under program service revenue. The error makes the organization look like it is doing a lot less of the charitable work for which it was formed than it is actually doing. It can also misstate the public support percentage of the organization because rental income goes to the denominator of the fraction only, while program service income is not counted at all in a 509(a)(1) organiczation and can be counted in the numerator of a 509(a)(2) organization as well.