Organizations that want to apply for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code use a Form 1023-series application. Here are some things organizations should know to help them understand the process:
- The application must be complete. It must also include the user fee.
- The application process on IRS.gov includes a step-by-step review of what an organization needs to know and what to do in order to apply for tax-exempt status.
- There are a few types of organizations that do not need to apply for 501(c)(3) status to be tax-exempt. These are churches and their integrated auxiliaries, and also public charities whose annual gross receipts are normally less than $5,000.
- An employer identification number is an organization’s account number with the IRS and is required for the organization to apply for tax exempt status. Every tax-exempt organization, including a church, should have an EIN regardless of whether the organization has employees. After getting an EIN, the organization must include it on the application. Organizations may get an EIN by calling 1-800-829-4933 or by applying online.
- Generally, an organization that is required to apply for recognition of exemption must notify the IRS within 27 months from the date it was formed.
- When the IRS determines an organization qualifies for exemption under Section 501(c)(3), it will also be classified as a foundation, unless the organization meets the requirements to be treated as a public charity.
- A charitable organization must make certain documents available to the public. These include its approved application for recognition of exemption with all supporting documents and its last three annual information returns.
- The organization must provide copies of these documents upon request. The organization may charge a reasonable fee for reproduction and copying costs. Organizations that fail to comply may face penalties.
- Applying for exemption Frequently asked questions
- Form 1023 Frequently asked questions
- Stay Exempt Tax basics for exempt organizations
- Exempt organization public disclosure and availability requirements Frequently asked questions
- Disclosure Requirements
- Internal Revenue Bulletin 1999-17
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