Although they are exempt from income taxation, exempt organizations are generally required to file annual returns of their income and expenses with the Internal Revenue Service. Small tax-exempt organizations with gross receipts under a certain threshold may be required to file an annual electronic notice. Some organizations, such as churches and certain church-affiliated organizations, are not required to file annual returns or notices.
If an organization has unrelated business income, it must file an unrelated business income tax return. In addition to filing an annual exempt organization return, exempt organizations may be required to file other returns of and pay employment taxes. Some organizations may be required to file certain returns electronically.
In addition to required filings, a charity may have other ongoing compliance obligations.
Learn more about the benefits, limitations and expectations of tax-exempt organizations by attending 10 courses at the online Small to Mid-Size Tax Exempt Organization Workshop.
The IRS’ Tax Exempt Organization Search helps users find information about a tax-exempt organization’s federal tax status and filings. You can find:
- Organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions (Pub 78 data).
- Users may rely on this list in determining deductibility of their contributions. (Users may also download a complete list.) Data posting date: 02-10-2020
- Be aware of the following when searching for organizations that can receive tax-deductible contributions:
- Automatically revoked organizations
- By law, tax-exempt status is revoked when an organization does not file required Form 990-series returns or notices annually for three consecutive years. The automatic revocation date listed for each organization is historical; it reflects an organization’s effective date of automatic revocation, but not necessarily its current tax-exempt status. The organization may have applied to the IRS for reinstatement of exemption and been recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt after its effective date of automatic revocation. (Users may also download a complete list.) Data posting date: 02-10-2020
- IRS determination letters dated on or after January 1, 2014
- IRS issues a determination letter recognizing an organization as tax-exempt under the sub-section for which it applied. An organization must apply and pay a user fee to receive a determination letter. Data posting date: 02-14-2020
- Form 990-series returns
Forms 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF and 990-T (990-T returns for 501(c)(3) organizations only). (Users may also download a complete list.) Data posting date: 01-24-2020
- Organizations that have filed a Form 990-N (e-Postcard)
- Form 990-N (e-Postcard) is an annual electronic notice most small tax-exempt organizations (annual gross receipts normally $50,000 or less) are eligible to file instead of Form 990 or Form 990-EZ. (Users may also download a complete list.) Data posting date: 03-02-2020
Search Tips for Tax Exempt Organization Search
JAWS Users should visit Tax Exempt Organization Search: Frequently Asked Questions for information on how to use the search tool.
- Frequently asked questions – Tax Exempt Organization Search Tool
- Revocations of 501(c)(3) Determinations
- Suspensions Pursuant to Code Section 501(p)
- Exempt Organizations Business Master File Extract (EO BMF): a list of organizations recognized as exempt by the IRS
- www.StayExempt.irs.gov – Interactive Training for Charities
Because Arizona modified its nonprofit corporation law effective January 1, 2017, to eliminate the newspaper publication requirement for corporations that have a place of business in Maricopa County or Pima County I reduced our fee to form an Arizona nonprofit corporation from $1,297 to $1,097, a reduction of $200.
Effective January 1, 2017, Arizona nonprofit corporation law was modified to eliminate the previous requirement that all new Arizona nonprofit corporations must publish their Articles of Incorporation in a newspaper approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the publication requirement will continue for all Arizona nonprofit corporations that have a known place of business in a county other than Maricopa or Pima.
National Council of Nonprofits: “The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed sweeping new regulations designed to expand overtime protections for millions of workers employed by nonprofits, for-profits, and governments. The draft regulations, which will not go into effect (if at all) until after a period of public comment and analysis, would more than double the minimum salary level that white-collar employees must be paid (from $23,660 to $50,400) to exempt them from overtime pay of time and half of wages for hours worked in excess of 40 in any week. The Labor Department is also proposing raising the minimum salary level for ‘highly compensated employees’ from $100,000 to over $120,000 per year, and seeking comments on whether the government should establish a mechanism for automatically raising these salary levels in the future. The National Council of Nonprofits encourages all nonprofits to conduct a mission-based analysis of these proposed regulations.
To learn more download the National Council of Nonprofits’ white paper called “DOL Proposed Overtime Reforms and the Impact on Nonprofits.”
Wall St. Journal: “Underestimating paperwork and placing relatives on the board are among the bungles. People who are passionate about a cause typically have several options. They can volunteer their time. They can donate money to a charitable organization. Or, if they are especially passionate and ambitious, they can start a charity. . . . Here are four common mistakes people make when they start a charity—and how to avoid them:”
The Chronicle of Philanthropy: “Criminals are using poorly protected charity websites to test the validity of stolen credit-card numbers, cybersecurity experts said this week, costing some groups thousands of dollars. Simplified online donation pages make it easy for people to give — but also serve as prime testing ground for credit-card thieves. ‘There’s a giant target painted on the industry’s back that is very advantageous for credit-card thieves,’ said Kevin Conroy, chief product officer at GlobalGiving. Although not a new problem, it is now “near universal,” said Matt Holford, chief technology officer at DoSomething.org.”