Category Archives: Application for Exemption

IRS Introduces Form 1023-EZ

The goal of the streamlined application process is to permit small charities without complex issues to get up and running more quickly. The streamlined application will also permit the IRS to spend less time reviewing applications and more time focusing its energies on monitoring compliance for organizations that have been approved.Continue Reading

IRS Announces Streamlined Procedures to Reinstate Tax-exempt Status

This very helpful Procedure sets forth streamlined processes organizations whose tax-exempt status has been automatically revoked for failure to file required annual returns or notices for 3 consecutive years to regain their tax-exempt status retroactive to the date of of revocation. Continue Reading

When to Start a Nonprofit

We are used to hearing lots of folks – including yours truly – complain about the “nonprofit birth control” problem in this country. While it is true that too many nonprofits are formed for the wrong reasons – there are also many good reasons to form a new nonprofit. The trick is to learn to tell the difference. Continue Reading

Hurry up and Wait – Expediting Applications for Exemption

In general, 1023 exemption applications are processed in the order of receipt by the IRS, and expedited processing is available only if there is a “compelling reason” for it. There are reports that over 80% of requests for expedited processing are denied. If the organization needs its determination letter in a hurry because of circumstances that are within its control, the IRS is not likely to feel that the situation justifies expedited handling.Continue Reading

Is it time for a Legal Audit?

A legal audit is an overview of an organization’s non-financial compliance, governance and risk management issues. Organizations typically consider a legal audit when new management takes over and wants to ensure they are starting with a clean slate or the in the wake of a costly mistake. Continue Reading

Self-Declared Exempt Organizations – A Guide to Ensure IRS Compliance

In its 2012 workplan, the IRS announced it will be paying closer attention to self-declared 501(c)(4), (c)(5) and (c)(6) organizations. These groups include social welfare organizations; labor, agricultural and horticultural groups; as well as business leagues and chambers of commerce. Such organizations consider themselves to be tax-exempt because of the nature of their activities, butContinue Reading

Sandy Deja’s 2012 Update of Prepare Your Own 501(c)(3) Application

In 2010, I blogged about Sandy Deja’s ebook, Prepare Your Own 501(c)(3) Application. Ms. Deja has recently updated her popular guide to tackling the exemption process. While not much has changed with the application itself (something Ms. Deja notes may not be true much longer), much has changed in the nonprofit world in the past few years.Continue Reading

Forming a 501(c)(3) Booster Club

Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code allows for tax exemption for organizations organized and operated to foster national or international amateur sports competition so long as no part of the net earnings inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. A parent run booster club must be organized so that it benefits the entire class of athletes or participants and does not benefit certain individuals over others.Continue Reading

Start-up Nonprofits Beware: Ensure your Tax Preparer is Registered with the IRS

Charities should be aware that it is now illegal for anyone to receive compensation for preparing a return for someone else if they have not obtained a PTIN from the IRS first; a paid preparer who is not registered with the IRS is perpetrating fraud. If a charity chooses to work with an unregistered paid preparer, it opens itself up to IRS scrutiny and, possibly, denial of tax exemption plus additional attorneys’ fees to resolve any issues arising from the initial filing. Charities also need to keep in mind that the organization, regardless of whether or not a paid preparer was used, is ultimately responsible for the information in it’s exemption application.Continue Reading

Nonprofit Startups: Repurposing An Existing Nonprofit

Often prospective clients call us wanting to know whether we know of any dormant nonprofits that are going out of business that they could take over. The idea is that taking over an existing entity avoids the hassle and expense of incorporation, creating a governance structure and obtaining tax-exempt status for a brand new entity. Presumably, a new board of directors would be substituted in place of the old board and new officers would be elected.Continue Reading

New Form 8940 for Miscellaneous IRS Approval Requests

The IRS has released a new form for tax-exempt organizations to use when they request determinations (other than initial exemption applications) about their tax-exempt status. In addition to foundation status issues, organizations will use Form 8940, Request for Miscellaneous Determination, to obtain advance approval of certain activities and exemption from Form 990 filing requirements. PriorContinue Reading

Sweet Relief! IRS Announces Retroactive Relief Program for Revoked Nonprofits

Today, the IRS has made public the long awaited list of organizations that automatically lost their tax-exempt status due to their failure to file a Form 990, 990-EZ or 990-N for three consecutive years. The IRS announced that it has revoked the tax-exempt status of approximately 275,000 such organizations, including over 4,000 in Arizona.Continue Reading

CyberAssistant – Not Worth The Wait

The IRS’ continuing delays in launching the CyberAssistant program have left many would be nonprofit founders struggling with the question of whether CyberAssistant and its promise of significantly lower filing fees is worth the wait. Due to the ongoing delays and lack of information regarding an expected launch date, we think not. Continue Reading

Nonprofit Business Planning – Steal All the Underpants!

Finding support and funding in the nonprofit world is often more challenging than finding funding for a for-profit venture. In addition, contrary to the belief of many nonprofit founders, foundation grant dollars do not grow on trees and are, in fact, the most competitive and scarce source of funding available.Continue Reading

Nonprofit Law Jargon Buster: Social Welfare Organizations

A social welfare organization is an nonprofit organization exempt under Code Section 501(c)(4). It is similar to a 501(c)(3) organization in that its income is generally exempt from tax and is subject to the same limits on private inurement and excessive payments to insiders. It is different, however, in that contributions to it are not deductible as charitable contributions and it is able to conduct unlimited lobbying activities. Section 501(c)(4) exempts:

* nonprofit civic organizations operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare; and
* local associations of employees whose earnings are devoted to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes.Continue Reading