501(c) Organization

A 501(c) organization, also known colloquially as a 501(c), is a federal income taxes. Sections 503 through 505 set out the requirements for attaining such exemptions. Many states refer to Section 501(c) for definitions of organizations exempt from state taxation as well. 501(c) organizations can receive unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations, and unions.

The most common type of tax-exempt nonprofit organization falls under category 501(c)(3), whereby a nonprofit organization is exempt from federal income tax if its activities have the following purposes: charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering amateur sports competition, or preventing cruelty to children or animals. The 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) categories are for politically active nonprofits, which have become increasingly important since the 2004 presidential election.


  • Types 1
  • General compliance issues 2
  • 501(c)(3) 3
    • Obtaining status 3.1
    • Political activity 3.2
      • Elections 3.2.1
      • Lobbying 3.2.2
  • 501(c)(4) 4
  • 501(c)(5) 5
  • 501(c)(6) 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10


According to the IRS Publication 557†, in the Organization Reference Chart section, the following is an exact list of 501(c) organization types and their corresponding descriptions.[1]

  • 501(c)(1) — Corporations Organized Under Act of Congress (including Federal Credit Unions)
  • 501(c)(2) — Title Holding Corporation for Exempt Organization[2]
  • 501(c)(3) — Religious, Educational, Charitable, Scientific, Literary, Testing for Public Safety, to Foster National or International Amateur Sports Competition, or Prevention of Cruelty to Children or Animals Organizations
  • 501(c)(4) — Civic Leagues, Social Welfare Organizations, and Local Associations of Employees
  • 501(c)(5) — Labor, Agricultural and Horticultural Organizations
  • 501(c)(6) — Business Leagues, Chambers of Commerce, Real Estate Boards, etc.
  • 501(c)(7) — Social and Recreational Clubs
  • 501(c)(8) — Fraternal Beneficiary Societies and Associations
  • 501(c)(9) — Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Associations
  • 501(c)(10) — Domestic Fraternal Societies and Associations
  • 501(c)(11) — Teachers' Retirement Fund Associations
  • 501(c)(12) — Benevolent Life Insurance Associations, Mutual Ditch or Irrigation Companies, Mutual or Cooperative Telephone Companies, etc.
  • 501(c)(13) — Cemetery Companies
  • 501(c)(14) — State-Chartered Credit Unions, Mutual Reserve Funds
  • 501(c)(15) — Mutual Insurance Companies or Associations
  • 501(c)(16) — Cooperative Organizations to Finance Crop Operations
  • 501(c)(17) — Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Trusts
  • 501(c)(18) — Employee Funded Pension Trust (created before June 25, 1959)
  • 501(c)(19) — Post or Organization of Past or Present Members of the Armed Forces
  • 501(c)(20) — Group Legal Services Plan Organizations
  • 501(c)(21) — Black Lung Benefit Trusts
  • 501(c)(22) — Withdrawal Liability Payment Fund
  • 501(c)(23) — Veterans Organization (created before 1880)
  • 501(c)(24) — Section 4049 ERISA Trusts
  • 501(c)(25) — Title Holding Corporations or Trusts with Multiple Parents
  • 501(c)(26) — State-Sponsored Organization Providing Health Coverage for High-Risk Individuals
  • 501(c)(27) — State-Sponsored Workers' Compensation Reinsurance Organization
  • 501(c)(28) — National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust
  • 501(c)(29) — Qualified Nonprofit Health Insurance Issuers (Created in section 1322(h)(1) of the Affordable Care Act)[3]

† 501(c)(20) and 501(c)(24) organization types receive little mention in IRS Publication 557 and are not included in its Organization Reference Chart. 501(c)(20) organizations are no longer tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(20) after June 30, 1992, but they may request to become exempt under Section 501(c)(9) effective July 1, 1992.[4] 501(c)(24) organizations are described as Section 4049 ERISA Trusts; Section 4049 of ERISA has been repealed.[5]

Certain day care centers may qualify as tax-exempt under Section 501(k).[6][7][8] The day care center must provide child care away from their homes.[7] At least 85 percent of the children served must be cared for while their parent or guardian is either employed, seeking employment, or a full-time student.[9] Most of the day care center's funding must come from fees received for day care services.[9] The day care center must also provide child care services to the general public.[7] The tax exemption for certain day care centers was part of the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984.[8]

General compliance issues

Under Section 511, a 501(c) organization is subject to tax on its "

  • "IRS list of charities eligible to receive deductible contributions search or download". Internal Revenue Service. 
  • "IRS Publication 557" (PDF). Internal Revenue Service.  Publication 557 governs 501(c) organizations.
  • "Look up funds in a 501(c)(3) (990 search)". Foundation Center. 
  • "Historical data regarding the number of 501(c) organizations in the U.S.". Data 360. 
  • "Number, Finances and other data on 501(c) organizations".  

External links

  • Hakanson, Bill (2013). How to Succeed with Nonprofit Trade and Professional Associations.  

Further reading

  1. ^ IRS, Publication 557 "Tax-Exempt Status For Your Organization", pp. 65–66, (Rev. June 2008), Cat. No 46573C. IRS.gov, Retrieved 1/27/2009.
  2. ^ "IRC 501(c)(2) Title-holding Corporations" (pdf). 1986 EO CPE Text. Internal Revenue Service. 1986. Retrieved 2 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "New Guidance for IRC 501(c)(29) Qualified Nonprofit Health Insurance Issuers"
  4. ^ "Publication 557: Tax Exempt Status for Your Organization" (PDF). Internal Revenue Service. p. 60. 
  5. ^ "29 USC § 1349". Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  6. ^ Wikisource:United States Code/Title 26/Chapter 1/Subchapter F/Part I/Section 501#k
  7. ^ a b c "Part 7. Rulings and Agreements; Chapter 25. Exempt Organizations Determinations Manual; Section 3. Religious, Charitable, Educational, Etc., Orgzanizations (Cont. 1); (02-23-1999) Child Care Organizations". Internal Revenue Service. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "IRC 501(k) – Child Care Organizations" (PDF). 1986 EO CPE Text. Internal Revenue Service. 1986. 
  9. ^ a b "IRC 501(k) – Child Care Organization" (PDF). 1989 EO CPE Text. Internal Revenue Service. 1989. 
  10. ^ 26 U.S.C. § 513(f).
  11. ^ Internal Revenue Bulletin 23, 1982, exercising 26 U.S.C. § 6033(a)(2)(B).
  12. ^ "Annual Electronic Filing Requirement for Small Exempt Organizations – Form 990-N (e-Postcard)". Irs.gov. Archived from the original on 5 May 2009. Retrieved 28 May 2009. 
  13. ^ Guidestar access to recent 990 filings is available for free, but requires one to open a free account.
  14. ^ usc|26|6652 and 26 U.S.C. § 6104.
  15. ^ "Corporate and Individual Tax Data". 
  16. ^ "Corporate tax rates table (global corporate tax rates between 2006 and 2014)".  
  17. ^ Exempt Purposes – Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).
  18. ^ IRS Publication 557 "Tax-Exempt Status For Your Organization", Page 19, (Rev. June 2008), Cat. No 46573C., Retrieved 2009-03-09.
  19. ^ Hopkins, Bruce R. (2011), The Law of Tax-Exempt Organizations (10 ed.), John Wiley and Sons, p. 879,  
  20. ^ Judith S. Ballan, "How To Aid a Foreign Charity Through an 'American Friends of' Organization", in Proceedings of the Twenty-Third New York University Conference on Tax Planning.
  21. ^ "Legal Dimensions of International Grantmaking: How a Private Foundation Can Use "Friends of" Organizations". Usig.org. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  22. ^ "Meet the expert: Suzanne M. Reisman, Law Offices of Suzanne M. Reisman". Giving Insights. 2010-03-03. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  23. ^ Larkin, Richard F.; DiTommaso, Marie (2011), Wiley Not-for-Profit GAAP 2011: Interpretation and Application of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, John Wiley and Sons, p. Ch.11,  
  24. ^ IRS, Publication 557 "Tax-Exempt Status For Your Organization", p. 43, (Rev. June 2008), Cat. No 46573C.
  25. ^ IRS, "Life Cycle of a Public Charity/Private Foundation", IRS.gov, Retrieved 2009-03-09.
  26. ^ "Tax guide for churches and religious organizations" (PDF). 26 USC 501(c)(3). Internal Revenue Service. Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 April 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  27. ^ "Review a Charity". GuideStar. Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  28. ^ "IRS Search for Charities". Internal Revenue Service. Archived from the original on 27 April 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  29. ^ "Form 13909: Tax-Exempt Organization Complaint (Referral) Form" (PDF). Internal Revenue Service. Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 April 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  30. ^ "IRS Exemption requirements: 501(c)(3) organizations"
  31. ^ a b IRS "Form 1023" (Rev. 6-2006), p. 12.
  32. ^ a b IRS Exempt Organizations Website Retrieved on 2009-09-07.
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^ "Should You Wait for the Cyber 1023?"
  36. ^ "Internal Revenue Code 7428". Internal Revenue Service. via Legal Information Institute, Cornell University. Retrieved 2 October 2013. 
  37. ^ Journy, Matthew T.; Ziffer, Yosef; Tenenbaum, Jeffrey S. (September 2013). "Tools for Bypassing IRS Delays in EO Applications: Organizations and their representatives missed opportunities to mitigate the consequences of the IRS' delays and requests for inappropriate information" (PDF). Venable LLP. Retrieved 2 October 2013. 
  38. ^ a b "Internal Revenue Manual, Part 4. Examining Process, Chapter 72. Employee Plans Technical Guidelines, Section 13. 403(b) Plans, Eligibility - Examination Steps, Paragraph 1(F)". Internal Revenue Service. Retrieved May 15, 2015. 
  39. ^ "Lobbying".  
  40. ^ Amelia Elacqua, , 2008, page 119 and 141, referenced February 16, 2012Houston Business and Tax JournalEyes wide shut: The ambiguous "political activity" prohibition and its effects on 501(c)(3) organizations,
  41. ^ a b c Chick, Raymond; Henchey, Amy. "Political Organizations and IRC IRC 501(c)(4)" (PDF). Exempt Organizations-Technical Instruction Program for FY 1995. Internal Revenue Service. 
  42. ^ "The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations". Irs.gov. 2012-08-14. Archived from the original on 2 December 2010. Retrieved 9 September 2012. 
  43. ^ "The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations". International Revenue Service. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  44. ^ "Political and Lobbying Activities". Irs.gov. 2009-01-06. Archived from the original on 7 May 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  45. ^ "Form 5768" (PDF). 
  46. ^ Gershman, Jacob (May 16, 2013). "The Surprisingly Muddled History of the 501(c)(4) Exemption". The Wall Street Journal. 
  47. ^ See 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(4)(A).
  48. ^ Reg. 1.501(c)(4)-1(a)(2)(i)
  49. ^ "Rev. Rul. 68-656, 1968-2 C.B. 216" (PDF). Internal Revenue Service. 
  50. ^ "Internal Revenue Manual 501(c)(4) Nonprofit Organizations". 
  51. ^ "Comparison of 501(c) (3)s, 501(c)(4)s, and political organizations" (PDF).  
  52. ^ "Rev. Rul. 67-293, 1967-2 C.B. 185" (PDF). Internal Revenue Service. 
  53. ^ "Rev. Rul. 71-530, 1971-2 C.B. 237" (PDF). Internal Revenue Service. 
  54. ^ "Section 1.501(c)(3)-1(c)(3)(iv)". Internal Revenue Service. U.S. Government Printing Office. 
  55. ^ "1.501(c)(4)-1(a)(2)(ii)". Internal Revenue Service. 
  56. ^ "Donations to Section 501(c)(4) Organizations". 2012-08-14. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  57. ^ a b Reilly, John Francis; Braig Allen, Barbara A. "Political Campaign and Lobbying Activities of IRC 501(c)(4), (c)(5), and (c)(6) Organizations" (PDF). Exempt Organizations-Technical Instruction Program for FY 2003. Internal Revenue Service. 
  58. ^ "Reg. 1.162-20(c)(3)". Internal Revenue Service. vLex. 
  59. ^ "Political activity of environmental groups and their supporting foundations". U. S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. September 2008. p. 6. Archived from the original on 5 March 2010. Retrieved 10 March 2010. 
  60. ^ Adair, Bill (December 11, 2006). "Groups hide behind tax code". St. Petersburg Times. 
  61. ^ Luo, Michael; Strom, Stephanie (September 20, 2010). "Donor Names Remain Secret as Rules Shift". New York Times. 
  62. ^ Kim Barker (13 August 2012). "Two Dark Money Groups Outspending All Super PACs Combined". ProPublica. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  63. ^ Kim Barker (4 October 2012). "How Some Nonprofit Groups Funnel Dark Money Into Campaigns". ProPublica. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  64. ^ "Political Nonprofits". website. opensecrets.org. 30 May 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  65. ^ "IRS inurement guidance"
  66. ^ Tariff Act of 1913, ch.16, § II (G)(a), 38 Stat. 72
  67. ^ Reilly, John Francis; Hull, Carter C.; Braig Allen, Barbara (2003). "Exempt Organizations: Technical Instruction Program for FY 2003 IRC 501(c)(6) Organizations" (PDF). IRS. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  68. ^ Mike Allen; Jim Vandehei (11 September 2013). "The Koch brothers' secret bank".  


  • 527 organization
  • GuideStar offers information on more than 50,000 501(c)(3) public charities and private foundations
  • Political action committee
  • Not-for-profit arts organization

See also

Much like 501(c)(4) groups, there has been some movement toward using 501(c)(6) groups for political purposes. They can receive unlimited corporate, individual, or union contributions. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a large political spender, and Freedom Partners used its 501(c)(6) status to raise and distribute over $250 million during the 2012 election campaigns without disclosing its donors.[68] The group's existence was not publicly known until nearly a year after the election.

The Act related to professional football leagues had both antitrust and tax provisions: The antitrust provision was enacted to permit the merger of the National and American Football Leagues to go forward without fear of an antitrust challenge under either the 1914 Clayton Antitrust Act or the 1914 Federal Trade Commission Act.[67] IRC 501(c)(6) amendment was enacted in 1966 to ensure that a professional football league's exemption would not be jeopardized because it administered a players' pension fund. (H.R. Conf. Rept. No 2308, 89th Cong., 2d Sess. (1966), reprinted in 1966-2 C.B. 958, 963, 964.)

The predecessor of IRC 501(c)(6) was enacted as part of the Revenue Act of 1928 amended the statute to include real estate boards. Rev. Act of 1928, ch. 852, § 103(7), 48 Stat. 700. In 1966, professional football leagues were added to the described organizations. Act of Nov. 8, 1966, Pub. L. 89- 800, § 6(a), 80 Stat. 1515.

Edison Electric Institute and the Security Industry Association, which are not organized for profit and no part of the net earnings goes to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.


501(c)(5) organizations include labor, agricultural, and horticultural organizations. Labor unions, county fairs, and flower societies are examples of these types of groups. Labor union organizations were a primary benefactor of this organization type; dating to the 1800s. IRS, from a federal level, stipulates a federal requirement and duty of providing service to the members first. They have other requirements such as a requirement that benefits may not inure to a specific member but the rules for inurement vary among the three different types of organizations under this segment. They can make unlimited corporate, individual, or union contributions.[65]


The use of 501(c)4's has been affected by the 2010 Citizens United decision, in which the Supreme Court struck the part of the McCain-Feingold Act that prohibited for-profit corporations, non-profit corporations, and unions from broadcasting electioneering communications. The Act defined an electioneering communication as a communication that mentions a candidate's name 60 days before a primary or 30 days before a general election. Through 501(c)4 organizations electioneering communications can since be aired at any time.

[64] The lack of disclosure has led to extensive use of the 501(c)(4) provisions for organizations that are actively involved in [59] 501(c)(4) organizations are not required to disclose their donors publicly.

[57] Contributions to 501(c)(4) organizations are usually not deductible as charitable contributions for

[55][41] direct or [53] An "action" organization is one whose activities substantially include, or are exclusively,[52] An "action" organization generally qualifies as a 501(c)(4) organization.[51] The tax exemption for 501(c)(4) organizations applies to most of their operations, but income spent on political activities—generally the advocacy of a particular candidate in an election—is taxable.[50] and, unlike 501(c)(3) organizations, they may also participate in political campaigns and elections, as long as their primary activity is the promotion of social welfare.[49] 501(c)(4) organizations may inform the public on controversial subjects and attempt to influence legislation relevant to its program

501(c)(4) organizations are generally civic leagues and other corporations operated exclusively for the promotion of "social welfare", such as civics and civics issues, or local associations of employees with membership limited to a designated company or people in a particular municipality or neighborhood, and with net earnings devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes.[47] An organization is considered by the IRS to be operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare if it is primarily engaged in promoting the common good and general welfare of the people of the community.[41][48]

[46] The origins of 501(c)(4) organizations date back to the


[45] To clarify the standard of the "substantial part" test, the

In contrast to the prohibition on political campaign interventions by all section 501(c)(3) organizations, public charities (but not private foundations) may conduct a limited amount of lobbying to influence legislation. Although the law states that "No substantial part..." of a public charity's activities can go to lobbying, charities with large budgets may lawfully expend a million dollars (under the "expenditure" test), or more (under the "substantial part" test) per year on lobbying.[44]


Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Certain activities or expenditures may not be prohibited depending on the facts and circumstances. For example, certain voter education activities (including presenting public forums and publishing voter education guides) conducted in a non-partisan manner do not constitute prohibited political campaign activity. In addition, other activities intended to encourage people to participate in the electoral process, such as voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives, would not be prohibited political campaign activity if conducted in a non-partisan manner. On the other hand, voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention.

Organizations described in section 501(c)(3) are prohibited from conducting political campaign activities to intervene in elections to public office.[42] The Internal Revenue Service website elaborates on this prohibition:[43]


[41] Section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from supporting political candidates, and are subject to limits on

Political activity

Prior to October 9, 1969, nonprofit organizations could declare themselves to be tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) without first obtaining Internal Revenue Service recognition by filing Form 1023 and receiving a determination letter.[38] A nonprofit organization that did so prior to that date could still be subject to challenge of its status by the Internal Revenue Service.[38]

[37][36] There is an alternative way for an organization to obtain status if an organization has applied for a determination and either there is an actual controversy regarding a determination or the Internal Revenue Service has failed to make a determination. In these cases, the

The IRS also expects to release a software tool called Cyber Assistant, which assists with preparation of the application for tax exemption, but as of late 2011 the release date is unclear.[35]

  • Churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches[33]
  • Organizations that are not private foundations and that have gross receipts that normally are not more than $5,000[34]

The basic requirement of obtaining tax-exempt status is that the organization is specifically limited in powers to purposes that the IRS classifies as tax exempt purposes. Unlike for-profit corporations that benefit from broad and general purposes, non profit organizations need to be limited in powers to function with tax exempt status, but a non profit corporation is by default not limited in powers until it specifically limits itself in the articles of incorporation and/or nonprofit corporate bylaws. This limiting of the powers is crucial to obtaining tax exempt status with the IRS and then on the state level.[30] Organizations acquire 501(c)(3) tax exemption by filing IRS Form 1023. As of 2006 the form must be accompanied by a $850 filing fee if the yearly gross receipts for the organization are expected to average $10,000 or more.[31][32] If yearly gross receipts are expected to average less than $10,000, the filing fee is reduced to $400.[31][32] There are some classes of organizations that automatically are treated as tax exempt under 501(c)(3), without the need to file Form 1023:

Obtaining status

Consumers may file IRS Form 13909 with documentation to complain about inappropriate or fraudulent (i.e., fundraising, political campaigning, lobbying) activities by any 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.[29] Think tanks are often incorporated as 501(c)(3) organizations, and such a level of political influencing is usually considered acceptable.

Before donating to a 501(c)(3) organization, a donor may wish to consult the searchable online IRS list of charitable organizations[28] as well as lists that may be maintained by a state on a portion of its web portal devoted to its "department of justice" or "office of attorney general".

[27] This guide outlines activities allowed and not allowed by churches under the 501(c)(3) designation. A private, nonprofit organization, [26] Churches must meet specific requirements in order to obtain and maintain tax exempt status; these are outlined in IRS Publication 1828: Tax guide for churches and religious organizations.

  • A public charity, identified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as "not a private foundation", normally receives a substantial part of its income, directly or indirectly, from the general public or from the government. The public support must be fairly broad, not limited to a few individuals or families. Public charities are defined in the Internal Revenue Code under sections 509(a)(1) through 509(a)(4).
  • A private foundation, sometimes called a non-operating foundation, receives most of its income from investments and endowments. This income is used to make grants to other organizations, rather than being disbursed directly for charitable activities. Private foundations are defined in the Internal Revenue Code under section 509(a) as 501(c)(3) organizations, which do not qualify as public charities.

The two exempt classifications of 501(c)(3) organizations are as follows:[25]

purposes. gift tax but contributions to 509(a)(4) organizations are not deductible by the donor for federal income, estate, or [24] Another provision,

[23][22][21][20][19] 501(c)(3) exemptions apply to corporations organized and operated exclusively for

An approved 501(c)(3) exemption allows donors to the organization to reduce their own taxable incomes by deducting the amounts of their donations given, and thus to reduce their personal income taxes. And it allows the 501c3 organization to avoid federal income taxes on the difference between revenues (donations, grants, service fees) received vs. expenses (wages, supplies, state & local taxes paid, etc.) in its main operations. In a for-profit business, that difference would represent taxable income and be taxed at Federal corporate tax rates of 15 to 39 percent.[15] 501c3 status may also provide exemption from state and local corporate income taxes that range from 0 to 12 percent.[16]

A 501(c)(3) or 501c3 organization, also colloquially known as a 501c3, is a United States Internal Revenue Service to be tax-exempt under the terms of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Most charitable non-profits in the United States that Americans commonly know of, and often make donations to, are 501c3 organizations.


Failure to file such timely returns and to make other specific information available to the public also is prohibited.[14]

Failure to file required returns such as Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax) may result in fines of up to $250,000 per year. Exempt or political organizations, excluding churches or similar religious entities, must make their returns, reports, notices, and exempt applications available for public inspection. The organization's Form 990 (or similar such public record as the Form 990-EZ or Form 990-PF) is available for public inspection and photocopying at the offices of the exempt organization, through a written request and payment for photocopies by mail from the exempt organization, or through a direct Form 4506-A "Request for Public Inspection or Copy or Political Organization IRS Form" request to the IRS of for the past three tax years. Form 4506-A also allows the public inspection and/or photocopying access to Form 1023 "Application for Recognition of Exemption" or Form 1024, Form 8871 "Political Organization Notice of Section 527 Status", and Form 8872 "Political Organization Report of Contribution and Expenditures". Internet access to many organizations' 990 and some other forms are available through GuideStar.[13]

Tax exemption does not excuse an organization from maintaining proper records and filing any required annual or special-purpose [12] Form 990-N must be submitted electronically using an authorized IRS e-file provider. Other types of Form 990 may be submitted via mail and some are available electronically through an IRS e-file provider.

Disposal of donated goods valued over $2,500, or acceptance of goods worth over $5,000 may also trigger special filing and record-keeping requirements. [10]

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