Choppin’ Up with the Schedules Part 1

They call the Form 990-EZ the “short form.” But looking at it, you might be thinking, “What’s so short about it? There are schedules and everything like the long form.” While you may have a point, let’s just think about it. A Form 990-EZ is for tax-exempt organizations with gross receipts less than $200,000 and total assets less than $500,000; you know this already.
With that cap limit in place, your organization probably isn’t participating in every activity each schedule is asking about versus a tax-exempt organization that needs to file a 990 Long (Form 990). And, once you understand simply what each schedule is asking for, you’ll soon figure out which ones apply to your organization. With that knowledge, you’ll be able to chop down the Form 990-EZ like a lumberjack with sticks of butter on his feet, skating in Paul Bunyan’s giant skillet to cook flapjacks… No, it doesn’t make sense, but we’re about taxes here, not whimsical forest fantasies.

Form 990-EZ Schedules

Schedule A
No matter what, any tax-exempt organization recognized under 501(c)(3) will have to complete a Schedule A because it explains what type of organization you have. Your organization may be classified as:

  • Government
  • Education
  • Community Organization
  • Grassroots

The schedule also asks about your public support like where it comes from and in what form it comes in such as grants, gifts, etc.

Schedule B
This form wants to know about your contributors. Generally, if your organization receives a single contribution that’s worth over $5,000, it will be reported here. Any contribution from an exclusively religious contributor that’s over $1,000 is reported on this form as well.

The IRS lists a “Special Rule” that could determine how you file this particular form:

For an organization described in section 501(c)(3) organizations that meets the 33 and 1/3% support test of the regulations under sections 509(a)(1) and 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) and not just the 10% support test (whether or not the organization is otherwise described in section 170(b)(1)(A)), list in Part I only those contributors whose contribution of $5,000 or more during the tax year is greater than 2% of the amount reported on Form 990-EZ, Line 1.

For more details on the “Special Rule” visit the Schedule B (Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF), Schedule of Contributors page of the IRS.

Schedule C
If your organization is politically active, then you’ll need to complete a Schedule C. On this form, you will need to provide information about your organization’s political and lobbying activities. According to the IRS, lobbying activities are considered as…

An attempt to influence legislation by propaganda or otherwise, presentation of testimony at public hearings held by legislative committees, correspondence and conferences with legislators and their staffs, communications by electronic means, and publication of documents advocating specific legislative action.

Schedule E
Ok, here’s a hint. If your organization operates as a school, you’ll need to fill out this form. It inquires about your school’s policies, facilities, and benefits in detail.

Another Hint: Answering “Yes” in Part VI, line 48 of Form 990-EZ pretty much guarantees a Schedule E being completed.

At this point, you’ve already chopped the Form 990-EZ in half. And you know what they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Nothing wrong with you taking a well-deserved break. Next time, we’ll chop through the second half of schedules for the Form 990-EZ.

Cut even more time during your tax season by e-filing with Express990. We support all the schedules needed for the Form 990-EZ, and we offer a safe, secure, and accurate e-filing process, backed by expert professionals that will save you time and money.

For assistance with e-filing any of our available 990 forms, contact our live support by phone Monday through Friday from 9am to 6pm, Eastern Standard Time, at (704) 839-2321, by email at, or by live chat at

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