IRS tax issues and information/2014 Wikimedia Foundation Form 990 Frequently Asked Questions

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See also: Form 990 FY 2014-2015 (PDF)

Contents

Overview[edit]

What is a Form 990 and what is its purpose?[edit]

The Form 990 is the annual informational return required by the IRS for non-profit organizations in the United States. The purpose of the filing is to provide information to the IRS and the public for evaluation purposes; this is in addition to our public financial reports and our annual audit performed by KPMG.

What are financial statements for?[edit]

The tax authorities refer to it as the 2014 return because the fiscal year period that the return refers to began in 2014.

When did you file the 2014 Form 990, and where can I find it?[edit]

The 2014 Form 990 was filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on May 5, 2016, and has now been posted on the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) website. It will also eventually propagate to other websites such as the ones belonging to the Foundation Center, Guidestar, etc.

Who is responsible for filling out the Form 990 for the Wikimedia Foundation?[edit]

The Form 990 is the responsibility of the management of the Wikimedia Foundation. KPMG provides an information template to the Wikimedia Foundation, which our accounting and management staff complete. That information is then loaded into the tax return software by KPMG to create the Form 990 in the proper IRS format. KPMG reviews the final product and questions and advises the Wikimedia Foundation staff as to the correctness of the resulting form.

What is the process for completing and reviewing the Form 990 for the Wikimedia Foundation?[edit]

As discussed above, the Wikimedia Foundation accounting and management staff work to provide data to KPMG. KPMG then provides a first draft of the Form 990 to the WMF. There may be several drafts. Once Wikimedia Foundation accounting staff and management are comfortable with a "final draft," it is presented to the Wikimedia Foundation Audit Committee for a detailed, line by line review. Once the Audit Committee approves it, it is given to the Wikimedia Foundation Board. The Wikimedia Foundation Board has a period of time to ask questions and then the Form 990 is officially filed with the IRS by KPMG.

What are the due dates for filing the Form 990?[edit]

The Form 990 is due on the 15th of the 5th month following the fiscal year-end, so in our case, November 16. However, the IRS grants a six-month extension to anyone who requests it thus moving the deadline this year for the WMF to May 16, 2016.

What are your legal responsibilities for posting the Form 990?[edit]

By law, we must submit the full Form 990 to the IRS, and if members of the public request, we must also provide suitable copies for their review. As part of the Wikimedia Foundation's commitment to accountability and transparency, and to make it easy for people to find it, we post the form 990 as a PDF on the Wikimedia Foundation website.

This return is 64 pages long-can you give a quick overview of how it is organized?[edit]

The Form 990 consists of the core return form with parts numbered from Part I to Part XII.

  • Part I (Summary) provides a snapshot of the core form, including the organization's mission, activities and current and prior year's financial results;
  • Part III is a summary of the main program service accomplishments (i.e. what are the main focus areas of our work);
  • Part IV includes a checklist to determine which additional schedules need to be completed outside of the core form;
  • Part V includes statements regarding tax filings and compliance;
  • Part VI includes questions/statements re governance, management and disclosure;
  • Part VII includes compensation;
  • Part VIII includes more revenue information;
  • Part IX includes the functional expense statement;
  • Part X includes the balance sheet information;
  • Part XI includes the reconciliation of net assets; and

Part XII includes the financial statements and reporting method.[edit]

Additional schedules that WMF completes include:

  • Schedule A - Public Charity Status and Public Support (this includes the test to make sure that we properly considered a 501 (c)(3) public charity as opposed to a different type of charity);
  • Schedule B – Schedule of Contributors;
  • Schedule C – Political Campaign and Lobbying Activities;
  • Schedule D - Supplemental Financial Statements including reconciliation of audited revenue and expenses vs revenue and expenses per the Form 990;
  • Schedule F – Statement of Activities Outside the U.S. (This includes operational activities as well as grants or assistance to organizations and /or individuals outside of the United States);
  • Schedule G - Supplemental Information Regarding Fundraising;
  • Schedule I - Grants and Other Assistance to Organizations and Individuals in the United States;
  • Schedule J - Compensation;
  • Schedule M - Non-cash Contributions; and
  • Schedule O - Supplemental information (this includes information on process and policy and continuation of items that don't fit completely on the standard form pages such as the full mission statement which is asked for on page 2 but wouldn't fit in its entirety there).

Key Highlights[edit]

On page 1, Part I, Summary, Line 6 the total number of volunteers is listed as 80,000, where does this number come from?[edit]

This number is the number of active editors in the fiscal year of the report.

On page 1, Part I, Summary, Line 15, Salaries has increased significantly from the prior year report, what is causing this increase?[edit]

This increase represents the addition of staffing per the Wikimedia Foundation's FY 2014-15 Annual Plan. The FY 2014-15 Annual Plan called for growth in many areas of the organization, with Engineering & Product representing the most significant area of increase.

On Page 3, Part IV, Line 4 is marked “Yes” for lobbying activities, why?[edit]

This line is marked “Yes” as the Wikimedia Foundation engaged in SOPA and PIPA legislative activities in the fiscal year 2011-12.

On page 6, Part VI, Section B, 10a, the question “Does the organization have local chapters, branches, or affiliates?” is answered “No.” Why?[edit]

This question refers to entities that are not their own legal entities but rather extensions of the parent entity. Wikimedia affiliates are independent organizations.

On page 7, Part VII, Section A, there is a list of “current officers” which includes people who are no longer on the board and staff and does not include people who are currently on the board and staff. Why?[edit]

The list is intended to be current for 2014-15 fiscal year, which means it includes anyone who was on the board for all, or any part, of that fiscal year and was active at June 30, 2015. The fiscal year for 2014-15 runs from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015.

On pages 7 & 8, Part VII, Section A, how do you determine which staff are listed here?[edit]

The requirements for inclusion on this list are staff who are officers of the corporation, key employees (over $150,000 of reportable compensation) or the five highest compensated employees.

On Page 14, Part II – Schedule A – Other Income, what does this represent?[edit]

This is the total impact of the foreign exchange gains/losses reported by the Wikimedia Foundation.  In fiscal year 2014-15, we had a net foreign exchange gain of $2,927.  

What is the purpose of Schedule F, Statement of Activities Outside of the United States (page 34)?[edit]

This schedule shows what activities the organization has outside of the United States and how much the expenses are related to those activities. Furthermore, the IRS asks us to break the activities down by region; for example, North America includes Canada and Mexico (but not the U.S. since this schedule is focusing outside of the U.S.), East Asia and the Pacific includes Australia, South Asia includes India. Expenses include payments for services such as bandwidth, contractors, grants to organizations and individuals, etc. The IRS also asks about Fundraising activities. Through our online donations, we receive donations from every region that the IRS lists. We don't show expenses in those regions related to Fundraising because we do not pay individuals or organizations to fundraise in regions outside of the U.S.