Understanding Cooperative Finance

Suggested reading:

  • Georgia Electric Membership Corporation IRC 501c12 Compliance and Transparency (Source: Georgia Watch)
    Description: Report from Georgia Watch on transparency and compliance with the IRS tax-exempt cooperatives designation of 501c12 applied to all Rural Electric Co-ops. "Georgia Watch found that five out of the six cooperatives we reviewed were compliant with the minimum requirements of the I.R.C. § 501(c) (12), but we observed a range of commitment to compliance with cooperative principles, especially as it relates to wider inclusion of members on governance matters."

  • Intro to 990s (Source: We Own It)
    Description: This is an overview of some of the major sections of a 990 tax form including areas that you might want to check related to board compensation, conflicts of interest and more. It also includes links to databases where you can access 990 forms for free.

  • Introduction to FOIA requests (a way to access financial info for your co-op) (Source: We Own It)
    Description: This document provides a template of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request, which could be used to access financial information from USDA, if your co-op has a loan with USDA's Rural Utility Service (as many co-ops do). Also include templates of the financial documents that you could access and links to the USDA borrowers report from 2010 & 2011 to see if your co-op has a USDA loan.