5 Expert Tips for Filing IRS Form 990

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media , July 23, 2012

"Nationwide, hospitals spend an average of 11.3% of their total expenses on benefits to their communities. Direct benefits to patients in financial need, which include free care, financial assistance and spending to fill gaps in Medicaid underpayments, averaged 5.7% of total hospital expenses," according to an April AHA study analyzing the first year of Form 990 and 990 Schedule H reports filed by not-for-profit hospitals.

While the AHA findings are good news, these results are just some of the data that can be unearthed by analyzing Form 990 and 990 Schedule H. What might be worrisome to financial leaders, however, is that the IRS is also digging into the estimated 1,700 Form 990 Schedule H currently filed.

Section 9007 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act sets forth requirements for non-profit hospitals that must be followed to retain tax-exempt status. Filing IRS tax form 990 is mandatory.  And so is 990 Schedule H, which gathers information about a hospital through a community health needs assessment, to determine if the organization is truly operating for the community's benefit.

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