On June 27, 2011, the Internal Revenue Service released new filing tips for completing Part VI of IRS Form 990. Part VI requires a tax-exempt organization to provide certain information regarding its governance practices.
Of note, the filing tips clarify that an exempt organization is not required to obtain approval of its full governing body when adopting governance policies, including conflict of interest, document retention and destruction, and whistleblower policies. The current Form 990 instructions state that the questions in Section B of Part VI regarding policies can only be answered affirmatively, if the organization's entire governing body has adopted the policies. However, the tips clarify that a committee of the governing body may approve such governance policies, if the governing body delegated authority to that committee to adopt the policies.
In addition, the filing tips clarify that the policies and governance practices described in Part VI are not required by the Internal Revenue Code. However, the filing tips state that the IRS will use the information reported to assess an organization's noncompliance and risk of noncompliance with federal tax law. The filing tips also acknowledge that the Internal Revenue Code does not require an organization to provide a copy of its Form 990 to its governing body or require the governing body to review the Form 990 prior to its filing, notwithstanding the fact that Part VI specifically asks questions regarding the organization's review process of the Form 990 prior to its filing.
The filings tips can be found on the IRS website (http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=211125,00.html).