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Results of NCCS Survey on E-filing

August 2002

In March 2002, GuideStar hosted a survey written by the National Center for Charitable Statistics at the Urban Institute (NCCS) on nonprofit attitudes toward filing IRS Form 990 electronically. Some 387 nonprofit managers and board members took it, and the results mirror those of an official NCCS survey of a random sample of 485 nonprofit financial executives. The vast majority of respondents to the GuideStar-hosted survey said that they would try e-filing themselves or recommend it to their CPAs. This is big news, coming on top of recent IRS hints that e-filing will be offered in 2004 for submitting returns for fiscal year 2003.

With so many nonprofits on board to try e-filing, what are the implications for the nonprofit sector?

  1. More accurate and more timely nonprofit information will be available to the public.
  2. Nonprofit transparency will increase, leading to increased public trust in the nonprofit sector.
  3. The process of preparing and filing the 990s will be more efficient, reducing the paperwork burden for nonprofits and charity officials alike.
GuideStar wholeheartedly supports these goals and has joined NCCS and the National Association of Attorneys General/National Association of State Charity Officials in an effort to lay the groundwork for electronic filing on a national scale. Twelve state charity offices have committed to building the infrastructure to allow nonprofit organizations to e-file their annual state registration forms and Forms 990. The participating states are California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington.

Zina Poletz, NCCS, August 2002
© 2002, Philanthropic Research, Inc.

Zina Poletz is a research associate with the Urban Institute's National Center for Charitable Statistics in Washington, D.C.