What organizations should understand about applying for tax-exempt status

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What organizations should understand about applying for tax-exempt status

Organizations that want to apply for recognition of tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code use a Form 1023-series application. Here are some tips to help them understand the process.

• The application process on IRS.gov includes a step-by-step guide explaining how to apply for tax-exempt status.

• Form 1023-series applications for recognition of exemption must be submitted electronically online at www.pay.gov. The application must be complete and include the user fee.
 
• Some types of organizations don’t need to apply for Section 501(c)(3) status to be tax-exempt. These include churches and their integrated auxiliaries, and public charities with annual gross receipts normally no more than $5,000.
 
• An employer identification number is a nine-digit number that IRS assigns to identify a business’ tax accounts. Every tax-exempt organization should have an EIN, even if they don’t have any employees. Their EIN must be included on the application. Organizations can get an EIN by calling 800-829-4933 or apply online.
 
• The effective date of an organization’s tax-exempt status depends on their approved Form 1023. If they submit this form within 27 months after the month they legally formed, the effective date of their organization’s exempt status is the legal date of its formation. If an organization doesn’t submit this form within those 27 months, the effective date of its exempt status is the date it files Form 1023
 
• Once the IRS determines an organization qualifies for tax-exempt status under the law, it will also be classified as a private 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. See Publication 557Tax-Exempt Status For Your Organization for additional information on public inspection requirements.

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