IRS opens data on tax-exempt organizations

By Zach Noble

The IRS is taking a step to open financials data for non-profit organizations with its June 16 announcement that most of the 990 forms will now be available in machine-readable XML format. Up until now, the forms have only been offered as image files.

The XML files will be hosted through Amazon Web Services as an AWS Public Data Set."The IRS' move is a very good thing," said Hudson Hollister, executive director of the pro-transparency Data Coalition. "There is no reason why public information that the government already collects in a machine-readable format can't be published in that same format!"

Covered forms include electronically filed Form 990, Form 990-EZ and Form 990-PF from 2011 to the present, which the IRS is publishing with some personally identifiable tax-identification numbers redacted. According to the agency, more than 60 percent of Forms 990 are filed electronically.

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