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Internet Society Form 990: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is a Form 990?
Form 990 is an annual reporting return that United States federally tax-exempt organizations must file with the United States Internal Revenue Service. It provides information on the filing organization’s mission, programmes, and finances. The goal is not to collect taxes, but to ensure transparency and public interest of tax-exempt organization.
2. What are ISOC’s legal responsibilities for posting the Form 990? 

By law, ISOC 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 ISOC’s commitment to accountability and transparency, we post Form 990 on our website.

3. What is the difference between the Public Inspection Copy and the copy of the Form 990 sent to the IRS?

Donor information is required by the IRS, but, conventionally, is not disclosed publicly.  The Public Inspection Copy is the Form 990 version that omits confidential donor information filed with the IRS on Schedule B.  The Public Inspection Copy is the version provided to the public through ISOC’s website and

4. On page 1, Part I, Summary, Line 5 the total number of individuals employed is listed as 54. Isn’t ISOC headcount higher?

Per IRS instructions, the number reported in this part are individuals employed in the United States only.

5. On page 1, Part I, Summary, Line 6 who is represented in the total number of volunteers listed?

This estimated number comprises volunteers working with the IETF.  While this figure may actually be much greater, it shows that ISOC has a broad base of interested parties.

6. On page 8, Part VII, Column (C) how does the IRS define a “Key Employee”?

A key employee is defined as anyone who receives compensation of more than $150,000 USD; is one of the top 20 compensated employees; and meets any one of these requirements:

  • Has responsibilities, powers, or influence over the organization as a whole;
  • Manages a discrete activity of the organization that represents 10 percent or more of the organization’s total activities, assets, income, or expenses; or
  • Has authority to control 10 percent or more of the organization’s capital expenditures, operating budget, or employee compensation.

7. What does Schedule A, Public charity Status and Public Support report?

Organizations that qualify as charities under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) (e.g. §501(c)(3)) furnish information to enable the IRS to review their ongoing qualifications for public charity status on Schedule A. The list of reasons for public charity status is provided on the Schedule. ISOC has checked box 7 as ISOC normally receives a substantial part of its support from the general public.

8. How is Public Support (Schedule A) percentage calculated?

In computing whether an organization meets the one‐third support test of IRC §501(c)(3):

  • The organization’s total support (as defined in IRC §509(d)) is the denominator;
  • The numerator is the amount of support received from any combination of gifts, grants, contributions and membership fees, and gross receipts from sales and performance of services. Support from large contributors (over 2% of total support) is subject to limitation.

9. What is the 10% Plus Facts and Circumstances?

Since ISOC’s Public Support Test falls below one-third support test, the Company must explain how it qualifies as a non-profit.  Under IRS regulation 1.170A-9(E)(3), the Company’s Public Support Percentage must remain above 10% and ISOC must explain the ‘facts and circumstances’ as to the qualifications for non-profit status.  ISOC explains the ‘facts and circumstances’ and supports non-profit status in detail in Schedule A Part IV.

10. What is reported on Schedule F?

Schedule F is a schedule required for the reporting of activities outside of the United States including grant making, fundraising, unrelated trade or business, program services, or maintaining offices, employees, or agents. Organizations are required to report additional information if it makes more than $5,000 in grants (or other assistance) to organizations or individuals outside the United States.

11. How are the Regions shown on Schedule F defined?

The IRS requires reporting of activities by one of the nine regions below:

  • Central America and the Caribbean
  • East Asia and the Pacific
  • Europe (including Iceland and Greenland)
  • Middle East and North Africa
  • North America (including Canada and Mexico but not the United States)
  • Russia and the newly independent States
  • South America
  • South Asia and
  • Sub‐Saharan Africa

12. What are the Schedule J Compensation Information column headings in Part II  – Officers, Directors, Trustees, Key Employees, and Highest Compensated Employees?

(A) Name & Title
(B) Breakdown of W-2 and/or 1099-MISC compensation
(i) Base Compensation (ii) Bonus & Incentive Compensation (iii) Other reportable Compensation
(C) Retirement and other deferred compensation (D) Nontaxable benefits (E) Total of Columns B(i) – (D) (F) Compensation reported as deferred in prior Form 990

13. What does Reportable Compensation refer to in Schedule J, Part II column (B)?

The amount of each person’s reportable compensation is equal to the amount reported in Box 5 of U.S. Internal Revenue Service Form W‐2, annual Wage and Tax Statement.  For Non U.S. employees, ISOC calculates this amount in a comparable fashion. This compensation is then broken out in columns B(i) Base Compensation, B(ii) Bonus & Incentive Compensation, and B(iii) Other Reportable Compensation as shown above.

14. What does the amount shown in Schedule J Column B(ii) – Bonus & Incentive Compensation and Schedule J Column (C) – Retirement and other deferred compensation represent? 

The amount reported in Column B(ii) of Schedule J is bonus & incentive compensation paid in the current year.  Column B(ii) is included in Column (E) – Total Compensation.

The amount reported in Column (C) of Schedule J is the sum of employer-paid pension contribution and any compensation earned in the current year but not to be paid until the subsequent year (s). Column (C) is also included in Column (E) – Total Compensation.

Note that including both Column B(ii) and Column (C) in Total Compensation – Column (E) can overstate an employee’s reported compensation.  In order to show this overstatement, Column (F) shows amounts paid in the current year but reported as deferred compensation in previous years’ 990s.

See FAQ #17

15. What does the amount shown in Schedule J Column (Biii) – Other Reportable Compensation represent?

The amount reported in Column B(iii) is the sum of employee-paid pension contribution and any benefits taxable to the employee.

16. What does the amount shown on Schedule J Column (D) – Nontaxable Benefits represent?

The amount reported in Column D of Schedule J is the sum of non‐taxable employee benefits (e.g., certain Medical and Dental Insurance).

17. What does the amount shown in Schedule J Column (F) – Compensation Reported as Deferred in Prior Form 990 represent?

Column (E) includes compensation and benefits paid in current year (earned in a previous year) and earned in current year (to be paid in subsequent year), listed in Columns (B)(ii) and (C), respectively. Including both these amounts often overstates an employee’s reported compensation.

Therefore, the amount in Column (F) shows compensation reported in Column (C] in a previous year but Column (B)(ii) in the current year.

18. What is purpose of Schedule O?

The purpose of Schedule O (Supplemental Information to Form 990) is to serve as a coordinated place to expand on information supplied in the Core Form 990 and attached Schedules.  Schedule O for ISOC includes, but is not limited to, further detail on the Company mission, programmes, governance and management policies and procedures, as well as, employment processes.

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