The IRS 990 Electronic Filing (Efile) Database refers to a collection of Form 990 documents submitted by tax-exempt organizations starting in 2012. Whereas the NCCS Core data series is more comprehensive in terms of organizations in the dataset (all paper + electronic filers), the Efile database provides the most comprehensive financial and operational information about the organization's activities, governance, and finances.

In 2015 the IRS began releasing Efile data containing almost all of the Form 990 + Schedule fields submitted by nonprofits, which greatly increased availability of the data on nonprofits. Previously most public nonprofit databases like the NCCS Core files were limited to the few dozen financial variables that were released through the IRS SOI Extract tables. The Efile database, in contrast, consists of millions of files containing individual returns that include over 2,000 fields from the 990 forms and schedules.

The data is shared in XML formats that are challenging to use. NCCS provides a version that has been converted into a relational database with 126 distinct tables that reflect the discrte Parts represented on Form 990 and Schedules.


The Efile Data is more comprehensive in terms of the fields that are available, but it is more limited in terms of organizations that appear in the database. Up until 2023 electronic filing was voluntary for most nonprofits. There was rapid adoption because electronic filing is convenient, but it took some time for nonprofits to adapt and transition from paper filings. As a result, you see a steady increase in the number of efilers across time:

990 Efile Returns by Form Type and Tax Year

990 990EZ 990PF 990T
2009 33311 15470 2345 0
2010 123026 63326 25249 0
2011 159504 82048 34597 0
2012 179688 93750 39933 0
2013 198856 104375 45887 0
2014 218620 116417 53442 0
2015 233520 124894 58815 0
2016 243903 130485 62988 0
2017 261612 139146 68950 0
2018 271442 149384 80138 0
2019 283649 152579 87773 0
2020 318850 169296 114605 22616
2021 319445 192642 116404 22469
2022 158730 135775 81631 7154

Form 990 filings contain a wealth of information, including details about an organization's revenue, expenses, assets, liabilities, executive compensation, board members, mission statement, and descriptions of its programs and activities.

While most parts of Form 990 and Schedules are made available to the public, some sensitive information is redacted to protect the privacy of donors.

Due to the absense of paper filers in this data series it is recommended for research that does not require the full population of filers. The larger the organization is the more likely they are to file electronically. Sample weights can be created by comparing efilers to the nonprofits in the BMF or Core files.

More Datasets

527 Political Action Committees

Electronic filings made by 527 organizations.

elections campaign finance 501c4

Business Master File (BMF)

All active organizations that have been granted nonprofit status by the IRS.

BMF sample-framework metadata