Being a Non-Profit Legally and Competitively
Most chambers are 501(c)(6) non-profit organizations and need to adhere to the IRS guidelines for record keeping. Non-profit organizations are required to file 990's, which are public information and available GuideStar.org
IRS 501(a) Compliance Guide for Tax-Exempt Organizations, including 501(c)(6)
IRS Public Disclosure and Availability of Exempt Organizations Returns and Applications: Documents Subject to Public Disclosure
- States that: Record Retention Periods vary depending on the types of records and returns. (page17)
- Permanent Records – Some records should be kept permanently. These include the application for recognition of tax-exempt status, the determination letter recognizing tax-exempt status, and organizing documents, such as articles of incorporation and by-laws, with amendments, as well as board minutes.
- Employment Tax Records – If an organization has employees, it must keep employment tax records for at least four years after the date the tax becomes due or is paid, whichever is later.
- Records for Non-Tax Purposes – When records are no longer needed for tax purposes, an organization should keep them until they are no longer needed for non-tax purposes. For example, a grantor, insurance company, creditor, or state agency may require that records be kept longer than the IRS requires.
Document Retention Policies for Nonprofits
- Lists what tax documents an exempt organization must make available for public inspection and copying.
from the National Council of Nonprofits
Model Document Retention Policy for Nonprofits
- Document retention policies are one of several good governance policies that the IRS highlights on the IRS Form 990 by asking whether the filing nonprofit has adopted a written record retention policy. This guide describes the documents that should be retained, but each non-profit is responsible for following the IRS guidelines.
KnowledgeBase: How long should nonprofit organizations retain business-related records?
- Example template for a document retention policy.
Answered by GrantSpace
Association Management Principles e-book
- Retention periods vary for different types of records or documents. Nonprofit organizations should have a written, mandatory policy for document retention and destruction that complies with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. The retention periods suggested in the resources below are intended as general guidelines only. Nonprofits are advised to seek legal counsel regarding your own document retention policies.
, By Bob Harris
The Grand Rapids Chamber
- See the chapter on “Seven Organizational Skills,’ starting on page 9; and see page 6 which references 2 footnotes:
- 6. The appendix includes a reference to nearly every document and tips for creating and maintaining (pg. 17)
- 7. Public records for 501(c) organizations include Form 1024 or 1023, Form 990 for up to three years, and the IRS Letter of Designation.
provides this fact sheet, How Long Must My Business Keep Its Records?
to download from their informative page on Business Advice Articles
See more on Bookkeeping/Financial Management
- The Non-Profit Checklist Every Organization Needs to Stay on Track - This basic checklist from Wild Apricot covers non-profit essentials for board management, data and financial planning, membership communication, fundraising, volunteer management, event planning, and technology.
- Nonprofit Essentials FAQ from BoardSource - Get the answers to some frequently asked questions, including how to safeguard against conflicts of interest, how nonprofits are regulated, financial oversight, and the difference between a governing board and an advisory board.
- A Primer on Detecting, Preventing, and Investigating Nonprofit Fraud, Embezzlement, and Charitable Diversion, from Venable LLP (February 2015)
- Multiple Nonprofit Legal Articles and Presentations, from Venable LLP (2012)
- Unrelated Business Income Tax for Nonprofits: The Basics, from Venable LLP (October 2011)
- Understanding Compensable Time Issues for Nonprofits under the Fair Labor Standards Act, from Venable LLP (July 2011)
- Important Change to the Domain Name System: What Nonprofits Need to Know - Do you need a new web address to stay globally competitive?, article from Venable LLP (June 2011)
- The New IRS Form 990: What Does It Mean For Your Chamber?, article by George E. Constantine, III, Esq. for Chamber Executive magazine (Spring 2009)
- Legal Matters: Form 990s Becoming More Publicly Available Than Ever, article by George E. Constantine for Chamber Executive magazine (Winter 2008)
- Knockin’ on Your Association’s Door: What You Need to Know about Membership Restrictions and the Antitrust Laws - When "members only" shouldn't be used, article by by Jeffrey S. Tenenbaum, Esq. and Andrew E. Bigart, Esq., Venable LLP
Convention & Seminar Resources
Videos, Webinars, and ACCE U Resources
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| Being a Non-profit Legally and CompetitivelyLast Updated: 12/5/2017