The IRS has issued a new Form 1024-A, Application for Recognition of Exemption under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code for an organization that chooses to apply for recognition of exempt status under Section 501(c)(4).
The recently enacted Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act (“PATH Act”) imposes a new requirement for Code Section 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations to notify the IRS of their existence within sixty (60) days of their incorporation.
The group exemption permits a central or parent organization to certify that each subordinate qualifies for exemption and to include it under its umbrella for tax-exemption purposes. The process is designed to reduce paperwork for both taxpayers and the IRS where affiliated entities are similar in their purpose, structure and operations.
The IRS has posted in links to the questions Exempt Organizations specialists are instructed to ask in relation to various issues raised by applications for exemption and miscellaneous determination requests.
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.
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.
Just a few months ago, we were still telling clients to expect the process to take approximately one year. Now we are telling clients to prepare to wait two full years before they receive a determination letter.
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.
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, but they have not filed for nor received a formal determination letter from the IRS. These groups are allowed to operate without an official IRS determination because, unlike the 27 month filing deadline for 501(c)(3) charities, they are not subject to a deadline for filing an application for exemption.
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.
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.
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.
Here’s a tip for nonprofits planning to apply for tax exempt status: submit the application for exemption in 2009, before […]
Forming a nonprofit corporation is not the same as being tax-exempt. To obtain 501(c)(3) status, newly formed entities must apply to the IRS for a formal determination of exemption. Entities seeking 501(c)(3) status apply by filing Form 1023. (Entities seeking exemption under other sections of 501(c) file Form 1024.)
Newly formed organizations applying for exemption face a chicken and egg dilemma. Form 1023 requests considerable detail regarding the charity’s planned programs and activities. The attitude of the IRS is that requiring applicants to articulate detailed plans is a small price to pay for the significant tax benefits associated with 501(c)(3) status.