- An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number assigned by the IRS used to identify operating businesses – it may also be referred to as a Federal Tax Identification Number. Your EIN will allow you to apply for federal tax exemption status as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. EINs do not expire.
- You can obtain an EIN for free through the IRS by mail, fax, toll-free phone, or online submission. Click here to read more on how to apply, or download Form SS-4 right now.
Apply for Tax Exemption
- After qualifying your organization as a non-profit corporation, you may wish to further apply for a 501(c)(3) tax exemption. There are many benefits to qualifying as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization, including exemption from federal and, in some states, state taxes, as well as qualifying your organization for special grants and government funding. Donors favor these organizations, as their contributions will be deducted from their own taxes.
- If you are applying for 501(c)(3) status, the main form you will need to process is Form 1023, the Application for Recognition of Exemption. Although roughly 80% of all Form 1023s are filled out by individuals, it is recommended that you have an attorney or tax law expert look over your work to avoid delays due to mistakes. For in-depth help with filling out Form 1023, we recommend looking at Form 1023 Help, which was also recommended by the Non-Profit Resource Center. They provide step-by-step instructions and explanations for each of the form’s 11 sections.
- You can elect to be permitted to make limited expenditures to influence legislation as a 501(c)(3) if you file Form 5768. Please see our following blog post on the legal problems with lobbying to ensure your organization is protected from receiving fines.
- Tax exemption is not limited to 501(c)(3) organizations. For information about qualifying for and receiving tax-exempt status for your business read the IRS’s Publication 557 to see if you qualify.
- If you qualify for tax-exempt status under §§ 501(c)(2), (c)(4)-(13), (c)(15), (c)(17), (c)(19) or (c)(25) and have to fill out Form 1024, and you must also fill out Form 8718, which is your application fee file. Both files must be sent together.
- If you want your organization to be represented by an agency or agent, you must file a Power of Attorney form along with your tax exemption files. This can be found with Form 2848.
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