Public Trust in the Public Face of Charities

Research Report

Public Trust in the Public Face of Charities

March 30, 2004

Abstract

Public charities file Form 990 with the IRS each year, and the Form is the only public disclosure required of charities by government. Consequently, donors and regulators rely on the form when making assessments of these organizations. This essay suggests that questionable quality of reporting by charities on Form 990 constitutes a crisis of trust between charities and the people who rely on their financial reports when making giving decisions.

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