Tax Tips – How to Apply for Tax-Exempt Status for Organizations

If an organization wants to apply for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3), they start by filling out a Form 1023-series application. They must submit a complete application, as well as the user fee. To complete the application, organizations also need their employer identification number. Generally, an organization that is required to apply for recognition of exemption must notify the IRS within 27 months from the date it was formed.

Some organizations, including churches or public charities whose annual gross receipts are normally less than $5,000, may not need to apply for 501(c)(3) status to be tax-exempt. When the IRS determines an organization qualifies for exemption under Section 501(c)(3), it will also be classified as a foundation, unless the organization meets the requirements to be treated as a public charity.

* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.

Tip adapted from IRS.gov5


  1., January 8, 2021