Nonprofit Resources


Key Higher Ed Tax Reporting Data from Our Annual Survey

For the sixth year, we’ve surveyed colleges, universities, and seminaries across the U.S. on key tax issues and compiled the data into our Higher Education Tax Reporting Trends Project white paper. The information is designed to help higher education accounting teams gain a better understanding of potential tax reporting issues.

We had 198 respondents to this year’s survey, representing schools of all sizes in 38 states and Puerto Rico. Here’s a look at some of the survey findings:

  • Currently, 16.67% of our respondents pay property taxes on buildings on their main campus. This is an issue that we see increasing across the U.S.
  • Respondents gave their accountable reimbursement plan procedures an average rating of 2.95 on a scale of 1.0 (Unsatisfactory) to 4.0 (Excellent). However, we continue to see procedures that don’t align with the IRS’s rules. This is an important area for institutions to work on.
  • Over 67% of respondents with enrollment of 500 students or higher have constructed a new building in the past two years, or plan to do so within the next two. Among respondents with an enrollment of under 500 students, nearly 31% have undergone new construction or are planning for it.
  • Soccer is getting a lot of attention this year, thanks to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer tournament and the stellar U.S. champions! Among our survey respondents, 59.09% have a men’s or women’s soccer team, and 48.48% own their soccer stadium or field. Keep in mind that all college sports can have unrelated business income tax (UBIT) considerations.
  • Almost 80% of respondents file Form 990 annually, a slight increase since we asked this question in our 2012 survey. We remain concerned that some institutions may not be filing Form 990 when the IRS requires them to do so. Failure to file a required form for three consecutive years can result in revocation of exempt status and carry significant financial penalties.

Download your complimentary copy of the white paper for the full survey results and insight on the responses. We also encourage you to share the white paper with colleagues who may find it useful.

In our next post, we’ll look at some of the Form 990 data from respondents, including average total employees, average current salaries and compensation, and average current year total expenses. Stay tuned!

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