Review of “Prepare Your Own 501(c)(3) Application” by Sandy Deja

Now that the IRS’ CyberAssistant program is on indefinate hold, more and more would be nonprofit founders are looking to create a self-prepared or partly self-prepared applications for exemption. For years I have recommended Prepare Your Own 501(c)(3) Application to clients or would be clients who have more time to spend on a self-prepared exemption application than money to pay a lawyer. For those that lack funds to hire a professional to prepare their application, I often recommend they use this book to prepare their own application and hire me just to review it.  Sure, paying me to do it for you is easier and provides the peace of mind to know it is done correctly, but I am the first to admit that most exemption applications are not rocket science. If you are willing to invest the time and energy in researching the requirements for tax exemption and understanding the application process, then this book is a great place to start.

Sandy Deja draws on her decades of experience with the exemption application process both inside and outside of the IRS to illuminate the complexities of 501(c)(3) qualification. The book is sold in electronic form and is aptly sub-titled “How to Make the IRS Love Your Form 1023.” In plain and simple language, Prepare Your Own 501(c)(3) Application gives the reader a lesson in 501(c)(3) fundamentals. Sandy walks her readers through the exemption application process, addressing specific questions on the Form 1023, offering visual aids, form resolutions and policies, as well as practice pointers and tips along the way. Even experienced 1023 preparers will learn some new tricks from Sandy.

Most importantly, Sandy acknowledges that some applications really do require the assistance of a trained professional. Her section titled “When to Call a Professional” helps readers weigh the risks of going it alone. I highly recommend that anyone considering preparing their own application for exemption purchase a copy of Prepare Your Own 501(c)(3) Application.

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