Reporting Requirements

Change of Officer Report

Following each AFS Annual Meeting, Unit leaders (typically the immediate past-president) are sent a Change of Officer Report form to be completed and returned to the AFS headquarters office. This form advises headquarters staff of any changes in leadership that have occurred for the Unit, and allow for the AFS website and other contact and distribution lists to be updated. Completing this form is essential to ensure accurate and timely communications between the Society, Unit leaders, and the membership at large.

To download the form or for instructions regarding submission, see https://fisheries.org/about/Units/guidelines/change-of-officer-report/

Tax Filing Responsibilities

Most organizations exempt from income tax must file an annual information return (Form 990 or 990-EZ) or submit an annual electronic notice (Form 990-N), depending upon the organization's gross receipts and total assets.   Form 990 is an annual information return required to be filed with the IRS by organizations exempt from income tax under section 501(a), and certain other entities. Form 990 reports certain gross income, receipts and disbursements activities along with other information about the organization. This Form is available to the public, and how the public perceives an organization can be determined by information included on the Form.

Filing requirements, including instructions on how and where to file, can be found on the IRS website (referenced using the following link):

https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/annual-electronic-filing-requirement-for-small-exempt-organizations-form-990-n-e-postcard

Organizations with gross receipts normally $50,000 or less will file electronically using Form 990-N on or before May 15, for calendar year end entities. Most AFS Units fall in this category and will file using Form 990-N. There is no penalty for late filing but (and it’s a big one)-- organizations failing to file for three consecutive years will automatically lose their tax exempt status and will have to apply and pay for reinstatement separately from AFS.

Units are solely responsible for filing all tax forms with the IRS/Federal and State agencies. Often this responsibility falls to the treasurer or secretary/treasurer, but each Unit should establish procedures for ensuring officers are aware of filing deadlines and the Unit’s documentation is submitted. See Financial Management section below for additional details regarding tax-related requirements. Additional information may be found at https://fisheries.org/about/Units/guidelines/tax-filing-responsibilities/

Preparing Midyear/Annual Reports to the AFS Governing Board

Reporting is an essential element of transparent and effective governance. For non-profit organizations like AFS, reporting is also important for compliance purposes and maintaining tax-exempt status. Finally, reporting is the means by which we gather quantitative information regarding Society and Unit activities to understand our past successes, guide future efforts, and help others to recognize the value of membership and supporting AFS. Preparing reports for the Governing Board does take time, but it is well worth the investment to prepare thorough and accurate reports. As fisheries professionals, we appreciate the value of reliable data and science-based management. If reports are not reliable representations of your Unit’s activity, they will not help future Unit leaders to better execute the Society’s strategic plan and further the AFS vision. Reports to the Governing Board are typically compiled and submitted by the Unit president, with input and review by the other officers, committee chairs, etc. The precise format of reports to the Governing Board may change from time to time, but they will generally entail:

Motion Report

Recommended Motion: A brief statement (usually 1-2 sentences) summarizing the recommended course of action or decision. This is what voting members will vote for or against.

Minority View: A summary of any dissenting views or alternatives to the recommended motion.

Background for Motion: This is where additional information is provided so that voting members understand the context of the motion and can make informed decisions regarding their vote.

Activity Report

Charge or Annual Program of Work: Committees will typically be charged with specific duties or responsibilities, whereas other Units will derive this information from their Bylaws or president’s plan of work.

Annual Financial Report: a summary of your Unit’s financial activity during the reporting period (e.g., income, expenses, and account standing)

Summary of Outcomes and Accomplishments: This is a quantitative reporting of Unit activities as they relate to the AFS Strategic Plan.

Some may feel that this reporting template is restrictive in that it does not allow for detailed reporting of your Unit’s activities. Understand that the overtly quantitative nature of this template is by design. Descriptive narrative reports are nearly impossible to translate to quantitative measures of Society and Unit activity, especially considering the number of AFS Units involved. Detailed descriptions of Unit activity may be important for your Unit (e.g., names of award winners, titles of symposia, themes of meetings), but that type of information is best captured in the minutes of Unit meetings. Reports to the Governing Board should strive for brevity and focus on the quantitative aspects of your Unit’s activities that are most relevant to the Society at large.