Form 990 Schedule A

Public Charity Status and Public Support

Understanding the intricacies of tax forms is crucial for ensuring compliance and optimizing your tax situation. The 990 Schedule A form is no exception, especially for tax-exempt organizations looking to maintain their status and meet federal requirements. Our comprehensive resource and guide delve deep into what the 990 Schedule A form is, its importance, and how to navigate it effectively.

What is a 990 Schedule A Form?

The 990 Schedule A form, officially titled "Public Charity Status and Public Support," is a necessary document for tax-exempt organizations filing their informational tax returns with the IRS. It's an integral part of the broader 990 series, aimed specifically at organizations claiming exemption from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3).

  • Purpose and Significance: The primary aim of the 990 Schedule A is to provide the IRS with details on an organization's public charity status and sources of public support. This form helps the IRS and the general public understand how an organization is funded and operates, ensuring it meets the criteria for tax-exempt status.
  • Components of the Form: It includes sections to detail the organization's adherence to public support tests, revenue mix, and operational activities that may influence its tax-exempt status.

Who Needs a 990 Schedule A Form?

Organizations required to fill out this form include:

  • 501(c)(3) entities.

  • Organizations looking to qualify or maintain their status as a public charity.

  • Entities required by the IRS to demonstrate their public support criteria annually.

  • Criteria: The form is not universally required by all tax-exempt entities but specifically by those classified under 501(c)(3) as public charities.

  • Obligations: Completing the 990 Schedule A form accurately is crucial for proving that an organization receives a substantial part of its income from the public or government grants, distinguishing it from private foundations.

  • Deadlines: The 990 Schedule A form's deadline aligns with the main 990 form, typically the 15th day of the 5th month after the organization’s fiscal year ends.

How to Read and Understand 990 Schedule A Form

Understanding this form involves breaking down its various parts:

  • Part I: Focuses on the organization's public charity status based on received public support.
  • Common Terms and Figures: Terms like "public support percentage" and "total support" are crucial, indicating the revenue streams qualifying towards maintaining a public charity status.

The form also includes sections addressing different kinds of public charity status, ensuring diverse organizations can account for their operations and support accurately.

How to Get Your 990 Schedule A Form

To access and fill this form:

  1. Procedures: Organizations can download the form directly from the IRS website or use tax software that includes the form.
  2. Direct Link: Download a 990 Schedule A form from the IRS.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Frequent errors include:

  • Incorrect calculation of public support percentages.
  • Failure to include all forms of qualifying support.


  • Meticulously review all instructions and sections to ensure all applicable income and support are reported.
  • Keep detailed records of all revenue streams to accurately calculate the public support percentage.

990 Schedule A Form and Tax Filing

The 990 Schedule A form plays a critical role in tax filing for 501(c)(3) organizations. It:

  • Determines an organization's eligibility for certain tax benefits.
  • Influences the perception of donors and the public regarding the organization's standing and reliability.

FAQ Section

1. Is the 990 Schedule A form required annually?

Yes, organizations that meet the criteria must file it alongside their Form 990 or 990-EZ annually.

2. Can failing to file a 990 Schedule A affect an organization’s tax-exempt status?

Absolutely. Consistent failure to file or incorrect filings can lead to penalties or loss of tax-exempt status.

3. What is the public support test on the 990 Schedule A?

It measures the organization's support from the public versus its total support, ensuring diverse funding sources.

4. How does an organization calculate public support percentage?

Divide the total public support by the total support received over a five-year period.

5. Where can I get help with the 990 Schedule A form?

Consulting a tax professional or leveraging resources from the IRS website is recommended.


Effectively navigating the 990 Schedule A form is essential for maintaining a tax-exempt status and demonstrating public support as a public charity. By understanding its components, criteria, and significance, organizations can ensure accurate and compliant filings. For complex situations or questions, seeking the advice of a tax professional is advisable.

Remember, staying informed and meticulous with your filings safeguards your organization’s status and future.

Always refer to the IRS website or a tax professional for the most accurate and up-to-date information. provides general information and software tools for tax preparation; however, it does not offer personalized tax, legal, or professional advice. It's recommended to consult with a qualified professional for specific advice related to your financial situation.