Form 990 Questions and Answers (2011)
From the Wikimedia Foundation
2011 Form 990 Questions and Answers'
Covering fiscal year July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012
- When did you file the 2011 Form 990 and where can I find it?
- The 2011 Form 990 was filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on April 30, 2013 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.
- What period does the 2011 Form 990 cover?
- The 2011 Form 990 covers the period of July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012.
- Why does the return year show 2011?
- The tax authorities refer to it as the 2011 return because the fiscal year period that the return refers to began in 2011.
- What is a Form 990 and what is its purpose?
- 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.
- Who is responsible for filling out the Form 990 for the Wikimedia Foundation?
- 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, questions, and advises the Wikimedia Foundation staff as to the correctness of the resulting form.
- This return is over 50 pages long-can you give a quick overview of how it is organized?
- 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 covers compensation. Part VIII provides more revenue information. Part IX contains the functional expense statement. Part X provides balance sheet information. Part XI covers the reconciliation of net assets. Part XII contains financial statements and reporting methods.
- Additional schedules that WMF completes include Schedule A - Public Charity Status and Public Support (this includes the test to make sure that we are properly considered a 501 (c)(3) public charity as opposed to a different type of charity), Schedule B - Schedule of Contributors who gave over a certain threshold, 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 - 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 on that page.)
- What is process for completing and reviewing the Form 990 for the Wikimedia Foundation?
- 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 the 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?
- The Form 990 is due on the 15th of the 5th month following the fiscal year-end, so in our case, November 15. However, the IRS grants a six-month extension to anyone who requests it thus moving the deadline this year for the WMF to May 15, 2013.
- What are your legal responsibilities for posting the Form 990?
- By law, we must submit the full Form 990 to the IRS, and if members of the public request it, 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.
- In the PDF posted on the Wikimedia Foundation's website, parts of the Form 990 such as Schedule B, Schedule of Contributors, do not list names and addresses of donors. Why is that?
- There is certain information that non-profits are required to give to the IRS, but that, conventionally, is not disclosed publicly. For example, in Schedule B, we disclose to the IRS the names of major donors and their addresses. That information is omitted in the PDF (public) version of the Form 990.
- It is the policy of the Wikimedia Foundation to preserve the anonymity of our donors unless they explicitly give us permission to do otherwise. In order to safeguard the privacy of our donors, and to prevent accidentally disclosing private donor information, it's our standard practice to omit all donor information in the Form 990. This is conventional, it's what most charities do. Donors who have chosen to be publicly named can be found on our benefactors page.
- On page 1, Part I, Summary, Line 6 the total number of volunteers is listed as 85,000, where does this number come from?
- This number is the number of active editors in the fiscal year of the report.
- On page 1, Part I, Summary, Line 15, Salaries have increased significantly from the prior year report, what is causing this increase?
- This increase represents the addition of staffing per the Wikimedia Foundation's Annual Plan which called for increasing staffing in many areas of the organization with the largest growth area being Engineering.
- On Page 3, Part IV, Line 4 is marked “Yes” for lobbying activities, why?
- This line is marked “Yes” as the Wikimedia Foundation had lobbying expeditures to influence public opinion (grass roots lobbying).
- On page 6, Part VI, Section B, 10a, the question “Does the organization have local chapters, branches, or affiliates?” is answered “No.” Why?
- This question refers to entities that are not their own legal entities but rather extensions of the parent entity. Wikimedia chapters 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?
- The list is intended to be current for 2011-12 fiscal year, which means it includes anyone who was on the board for all, or any part, of that fiscal year.
- The fiscal year for 2011-12 runs from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012.
- What is included in Sue Gardner's compensation?
- The compensation reported is her W-2 compensation and does not include benefits.
On page 8, Part VII, Section A, how do you determine which staff are listed here?
- The requirements for inclusion on this list are staff that are officers of the corporation, key employees (over $150,000 of reportable compensation) or the five highest compensated employees.
- On Page 15, Part II – Schedule A – Other Income, why is this showing a loss?
- The $56,379 is the total impact of the foreign exchange losses reported by the Wikimedia Foundation for the fiscal year 2011-2012. We are making progress in reducing this loss each fiscal year and are continuing our efforts to continue to reduce this loss.
- What is the purpose of Schedule F, Statement of Activities Outside of the United States (page 31)?
- 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.