I asked a 501(c)(3) organization for a balance sheet and financial statement over 4 months ago and they have not responded. Do they have a time limit as to when they need to respond?
If you have asked to see a copy of the Form 990 tax return, which contains a balance sheet but not a certified financial statement, an organization required to file such a Form should produce it for you while you wait if you go to its office, or within 30 days if you ask by mail. (See Ready Reference Page: “Tax Exempts Must Provide Applications, Returns.”) You can probably get the Form 990, however, in a few minutes from GuideStar at www.guidestar.org or through the IRS Tax-Exempt Organization Search feature in the Charities and Nonprofits section of the IRS website.
Whether or not the organization must supply you with a copy of a certified financial statement if you are simply a member of the general public and not an actual member of the organization depends on state law. California passed its nonprofit financial accountability law, a sort of mini-Sarbanes Oxley law, in 2004. The law requires charities with annual revenue of more than $2 million to make copies of their financial statements available to the public. (See Nonprofit Issues®, November 1, 2004.) I think most states do not have such a requirement.
Many states require organizations that have to register to solicit charitable contributions within the state to file a certified financial statement annually if they receive charitable contributions above a certain amount, usually substantially less than $2 million.
Monday, June 25, 2007