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How To Get Tax Exempt Status For Nonprofit

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There Are Quite A Few Advantages To Having The Official Status

How to Apply for Federal Tax Exempt Status for Your Nonprofit

For nonprofit status:

  • If you want to assume fiduciary responsibility for all of the funds and to contract directly with the state, you will need to be an incorporated nonprofit organization
  • As an incorporated nonprofit organization, you’ll be able to take advantage of reduced postal rates for many purposes
  • And, as an officially recognized nonprofit, you can apply for federal tax-exemption, which leads to many more advantages

For federal tax-exempt status:

  • As we mentioned above, you are freed from many taxes, and potential donors can make tax-deductible contributions. The latter is a powerful advantage for many groups who survive mainly on contributions and grants.
  • You can apply for grant funds directly. Almost all foundation or government grants require evidence of federal tax-exempt ) status. If you don’t have it, you will need some kind of fiscal conduit in order for your grant application to be considered.
  • Your group now becomes more independent, free from the potential control of fiscal agents or others who have helped you before, even if they have been generally sympathetic.
  • The independence you gain can be a psychological boost to your organization

Can My Application For Tax

In general, applications are processed in the order received by the IRS. Sometimes, however, the IRS will work an application outside the regular order. For expedited processing to be granted, however, there must be a compelling reason to process the case ahead of others. Compelling reasons include the following:

  • A pending grant, where failure to secure the grant will have an adverse impact on the organization’s ability to continue operating.
  • A newly created organization providing disaster relief to victims of emergencies.
  • IRS errors have caused undue delays in issuing a determination letter.

For a pending grant, the following specific information would help support a request for expedited processing:

  • The name of the person or organization committed to giving the grant or asset,
  • The amount of the grant or the value of the asset,
  • The date the grant will be forfeited or permanently redirected to another organization,
  • The impact on the organization’s operations if it does not receive the grant/asset, and
  • The signature of a principal officer or authorized representative.

A request for expedited processing must be made in writing and must fully explain the compelling reason. Granting expedited processing is at the discretion of the IRS.

An organization may not request expedited handling of a Form 1023-EZ, Streamlined Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code.

See Expedited Application Processing for more information.

How To Get A Non Profit Tax Exempt Number

Knowing how to get a non profit tax exempt number is a necessity for charitable organizations to register for federal tax-exempt status.3 min read

Knowing how to get a non profit tax exempt number is a necessity for charitable organizations to register for federal tax-exempt status. The U.S. is currently home to about 2 million nonprofit organizations that qualify for tax-exempt status under 501 regulations, including schools, arts organizations, labor groups, clubs, political campaigns, churches, civic groups, and many others.

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Protect Your Nonprofits Tax

Loss of tax-exempt status could have disastrous consequences for your charitable nonprofit. It is helpful for every nonprofit leader, whether board or staff, to be familiar with the importance of tax-exempt status, and situations that put a charitable nonprofits tax-exemption in jeopardy.

Below are a summary of the hot button issues that should be on your radar screen and links to resources about protecting and maintaining tax-exempt status.

What Is A Non

How To Get Tax

An NPO, as described in paragraph 149, is a club, society, or association that is not a charity and that is organized and operated solely for:

  • social welfare
  • pleasure or recreation
  • any other purpose except profit

To be considered an NPO, no part of the income of such an organization can be payable to or available for the personal benefit of any proprietor, member, or shareholder, unless the proprietor, member, or shareholder is a club, society, or association whose primary purpose and function is to promote amateur athletics in Canada.

An NPO is exempt from tax under Part I of the Act on all or part of its taxable income for a fiscal period if it meets all of the above requirements for that period.


Although a factual determination must be made in each case, most residential condominium corporations qualify as non-profit organizations under paragraph 149 because they are usually operated for a purpose other than profit.

For more information on whether the organization qualifies as an NPO described in paragraph 149, see Interpretation Bulletin IT-496R, Non-Profit Organizations.

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What Types Of Organizations Qualify For Tax

To be tax-exempt under section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501, and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.

What Is A 501 Organization

Section 501 is a portion of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code and a specific tax category for nonprofit organizations. Organizations that meet Section 501 requirements are exempt from federal income tax. While the Internal Revenue Service recognizes more than 30 types of nonprofit organizations, organizations that qualify as 501 organizations are unique because donations to these organizations are tax-deductible for donors.

In general, there are three categories of organizations that may be eligible for the tax category outlined in Section 501 of the IRC: charitable organizations, churches and religious organizations, and private foundations. The rules outlined in Section 501 are regulated by the U.S. Department of Treasury through the Internal Revenue Service .

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What Does It Mean To Be Tax Exempt

Nonprofit organizations are created according to state law. A corporation that is organized for charitable purposes may be tax-exempt, but cannot earn that status unless the appropriate paperwork is filed with the federal and state government. Nonprofit status does not automatically convey tax exemption.

The rules of creating a nonprofit organization may vary from state to state. Some businesses that may qualify for tax exemption include:

  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Unincorporated associations

Partnerships do not qualify for tax-exempt status.

When your organization qualifies for tax exemption, you will still need to file anannual information return with the IRS. Smaller companies, defined as those with gross receipts of $50,000 or less, might only be required to file IRS Form 990-N, which is also known as the e-postcard.

Your tax-exempt status means that you will not be required to pay federal or state income taxes, state property tax, or state sales tax if applicable. It does not exempt you from all taxes. For example, you will still need to pay the employer’s share of Medicare and Social Security taxes and withhold and pay the employee’s share of those taxes.

One final note: if your organization engages in some business transactions that do not qualify for tax exemption, you will be required to file a tax return and pay federal and state income taxes on that income. You can find additional information on the IRSwebsite.

Tax Exemption And Nonprofit Status: What Ptos Should Know

How to Get Tax-Exempt Status Back for Revoked Small Nonprofits

Our guide to the legal terms related to 501 status and incorporation for school PTOs and PTAs.


Do tax exemption, 501, and nonprofit mean the same thing?People tend to use these terms interchangeably, but they do have distinct definitions. Tax exemption refers to section 501 of the federal IRS tax code. Nonprofit refers to incorporation status at the state level.

Does my group have to be both incorporated and tax-exempt?No. You can be incorporated in your state and not be a federally recognized tax-exempt organization. Or, you can be registered as a 501 organization and not be incorporated. Incorporating as a nonprofit is generally pretty inexpensive and simple to do, howeverand its complicated to do it later if you change your mind. So we recommend incorporating first, then filing for tax-exempt status.

Here are steps we recommend to apply for both:

Apply for an EIN

An employer identification number is assigned by the IRS to identify your group as a legal business entity. You need this to open a bank account and to apply for federal tax-exempt status. Having an EIN does not automatically make you tax-exempt .

To check whether your PTO has its own EIN, ask the school for its EIN. Then check the EIN being used for your bank account.


Benefits of incorporating:

Apply for 501 Tax-Exempt Status

Benefits of becoming tax-exempt:

Keep Your Determination Letter Safe

Apply for State Tax Exemption

Resources and Tips

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How Do You Start A 501

To create a 501, you must define the type of organization and its purpose or mission. Before selecting a name, search to ensure that it is not taken. If available, secure the name by registering it with your state. Otherwise, secure the name when filing the articles of incorporation. The articles of incorporation must be filed with the state in which it will be organized and according to the state’s rules for non-profit organizations.

After filing, apply for the 501 IRS exemption and state tax exemption for non-profit organizations. Upon completion, create your organization’s bylaws that specify how the organization will be structured and governed. Finally, appoint and meet with your board directors.

Maine Sales Tax Exempt Organizations

The State of Maine does not provide a blanket sales and use tax exemption for nonprofit organizations that have been granted a federal tax exemption, known as 501 organizations.

The Sales and Use Tax Law provides specific exemptions for a number of different kinds of organizations and institutions, such as hospitals, schools, churches and libraries, etc. Entities that fall into one of the categories of organizations that qualify for an exemption must submit an application to Maine Revenue Services and provide the information and documents specified in the application. The requirements for exempt status vary depending on the particular exemption being applied for.

Review the list below to determine if there is an exemption provided for your organization. Click on the organization for which you may qualify to review the statutory requirements that have to be met. This should appear near the top of the page. Each type of organization has a different application form. Click on the application number next to the type of organization to download an application form. Return the completed application with all additional requested documentation or information to Maine Revenue Service, P.O. Box 1060, Augusta, ME 04332-1060. For assistance, you may call 624-9693.

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There Is No Doubt That Your Nonprofit Is Ready To Experience The Highs Of Seeing Your Work Impact Lives And Change The Community For The Better But Along With Those Moments Come The Gritty Details And The Tedium Of Running A Legitimate Organization

One of the most important parts of founding a nonprofit is ensuring your tax-exempt status, which can be substantial in moving your efforts forward. Were here to provide a simple and comprehensive guide on how to file for tax-exempt status. There will be plenty of little details, but it doesnt have to be a painful process!

Organizations With Gross Receipts Of Not More Than $50000 Per Year

How to Get Tax

Organizations with gross receipts that are not normally more than $50,000 per year must electronically submit IRS Form 990-N, also known as the e-Postcard, annually . The e-Postcard is due by the 15th day of the 5th month after the close of the organizations tax year.

Note: Organizations that were not formally granted federal tax exempt status through the filing of either Forms 1023 or 1024, but that are recognized as tax exempt should contact the IRS Account Services Unit prior to the initial e-Postcard filing at -829-5500 to request the IRS to set up the organizations account to allow filing of the e-Postcard. Organizations that received formal IRS approval of exempt status do not need to contact the IRS prior to filing the e-Postcard.

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Organizations With Gross Receipts Of Not More Than $5000 Per Year

An organization that normally has gross receipts of not more than $5,000 per year and which is organized and operated exclusively for taxexempt purposes will generally be recognized as taxexempt under Internal Revenue Service Code Section 501 without applying to the IRS for approval of IRC Section 501 status.

Example Of A 501 Organization

The American Red Cross, established in 1881 and congressionally chartered in 1900, is one of the United States’ oldest non-profit organizations. The Red Cross’s mission is to prevent and alleviate “human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.” And since its inception, its goal remains to serve members of the Armed forces and provide aid during disasters.

Located in more than 200 countries, the Red Cross operates the largest network of volunteers in the world. This 501 organization is segmented into three divisions: The National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which include the American Red Cross, aim to relieve human suffering globally by empowering subordinate organizations to operate within its nation’s borders to provide disaster relief, education, and other related services.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies provide global humanitarian aid during peacetime, such as assisting refugees. The International Committee of the Red Cross provides humanitarian relief for people affected by war or other armed conflicts.

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Advantages And Disadvantages Of Nonprofit Status

As with anything, there are pros and cons to becoming a 501 nonprofit.

The advantages of becoming a nonprofit include:

  • Tax advantage. The tax exemption status allows nonprofits to put more money to the fulfillment of their goals.
  • Grant eligibility. Many public and private grants wont consider organizations that arent a registered 501.
  • Formal structure. Being a formal structure keeps founders and volunteers separate from the organization. This helps limit the liabilities of the organization away from founders, board of directors and volunteers unless someone used the organization to shield illegal or irresponsible actions.

The disadvantages of becoming a nonprofit include:

  • Administrative work. Nonprofits require detailed records that must be kept along with annual filings to the IRS.
  • Most states require a 501 nonprofit to have several members on the board who are responsible for electing officers who determine organizational policy.
  • Public scrutiny. Because a nonprofit is dedicated to the public interest, it is subject to having its records and accounts reviewed by the public upon request. This includes salaries and expenditures.

Does A Government Entity Need To Apply For Exemption

How to apply for 501c3 IRS Tax Exemption Status for your Nonprofit Organization

Most state and local government entities are not required to pay federal income tax. For non-tax reasons, though, government entities are sometimes asked to provide a tax-exempt number or determination letter to prove their status as a tax-exempt organization. State and local governments are not required to apply for this exempt status, however. As discussed in Affirmation of Your Tax-Exempt Status, the IRS will issue a letter describing the tax status of government entities. Most organizations and individuals will accept this letter as the substantiation that they need. No application is required, and no fee is associated with this letter.

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Does The Organization You Represent Have To File A Non

Under subsection 149, an organization may have to file Form T1044, Non-Profit Organization Information Return for a fiscal period ending after December 31, 1992, if it is:

  • a non-profit organization described in paragraph 149
  • an agricultural organization, a board of trade or a chamber of commerce described in paragraph 149

However, the organization will only have to file an NPO information return if:

  • it received or was entitled to receive taxable dividends, interest, rentals, or royalties totalling more than $10,000 in the fiscal period
  • the total assets of the organization were more than $200,000 at the end of the immediately preceding fiscal period
  • it had to file an NPO information return for a previous fiscal period


Corporations operating only to provide low-cost housing for the aged, where no income is payable to or available for the personal benefit of any proprietor, member, or shareholder, do not have to file form T1044. Subsection 149 does not apply in such cases, since these corporations are exempt from Part I tax under paragraph 149.

Registered charities, registered Canadian amateur athletic associations, and registered national arts service organizations do not have to file form T1044.

When calculating whether or not you have to file an NPO information return, you should only include the amounts your organization received or was entitled to receive in the form of taxable dividends, interest, rentals or royalties in the fiscal period.


Nonprofit Law Basics: Does A Nonprofit Need Tax Exempt Status

February 28, 2017 By Mollie Cullinane

A common misconception is that all nonprofits are automatically tax-exempt.

We have outlined in other posts the difference between nonprofit corporations and tax-exempt organizations. Many nonprofits are organized as both a nonprofit corporation and a tax-exempt entity. In short, nonprofit status refers to state-law status tax-exempt status refers to state and federal tax exemption under tax regulations.

A nonprofit organization, whether incorporated or not, can decide whether or not it wants to apply for tax-exempt status.

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Asking Us To Acknowledge Your Return

If you would like us to acknowledge the receipt of your NPO information return, include two copies of a letter with the return asking us for acknowledgement. We will date-stamp the letters and return one copy to you.

We will only send a notice of assessment if we have to charge a penalty to the organization for late filing or failure to file.

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