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Using Exempt Organizations Master File Data

 

  1. Navigate to the Exempt Organizations: Business Master File Data page as follows: Go to www.irs.gov; click on Charities & Non-Profits; click on More Topics (under the heading Charities & Non-Profits Topics); scroll down and click on Statistical Information About Tax-Exempt Organizations; then click on EO Business Master File Data. The URL for this page is http://www.irs.gov/taxstats/charitablestats/article/0,,id=97186,00.html, and you may use this link to reach it directly.

  2. Immediately under the heading Exempt Organizations Master Listing,  download either the Word or ASCII version of the Instruction Booklet.  It explains the data contained in the EO Business Master File (EO BMF), including (on pages 3 and 4 of the Word version) the fields and the number of characters in each.  You’ll need the field lengths (and associated descriptions) if you choose the option to import the ASCII data into another computer application. 

  3. The state files are now available in both ASCII text or Excel formats.  The data is also available in fewer, larger files via the links at the bottom of the same page.  Note that, due to the large size of most of the files, the ASCII text files are compressed using the PkZip utility (ASCII Text = .Zip) and they must be downloaded and uncompressed before viewing or loading into any application. Click here if you want to download a PkZip readers. For more information, please refer to the Instruction Booklet.

  4. If you choose to work with the ASCII files, download the ASCII files you are interested in and import to your computer application.  We suggest you use a database program such as Oracle, DB2, FoxPro or some other full featured DB program, which give you more options for manipulating the data.

  5. These are compressed files, so they have a .zip file extension.  To open the compressed ASCII file you have downloaded, you will need to have a PkZip utility.  The uncompressed file will have a file extension of .lst.  If the file is very large (New York, for example), you may find it necessary to use a file splitting utility, or, if you have enough PC memory, you can use a word processing program to split the file into manageable pieces. When importing the data, you can safely leave all field types as General.  In particular, do not change any of the date fields to the Date type, because some PC applications do not recognize the BMF date format. 

  6. You can open the .lst files in any application that can read text files (such as Wordpad or Notepad).  While these programs do not offer the tools to summarize the data, they are useful to verify that the files you are trying to import are being read correctly by your database application.

  7. In Step 2 of the Import Wizard, use the field descriptions you printed out earlier to set the correct field widths.  The field widths as automatically generated by Excel will not be correct in most cases.  Click Finish when you are done.

  8. In Step 3, you can safely leave all field types as General.  In particular, do not change any of the date fields to the Date type, because Excel does not recognize the BMF date format.  Click Finish and then OK to put  the incoming data in the current worksheet.  If you are working with a file that exceeds the line limit mentioned above, you’ll receive a warning at this point.  Click OK to allow the import process to continue.

  9. In a few moments (time depends on your computer memory), your data will appear.  You’ll find it easier to work with if you then insert a row at the top for column headings.  If your worksheet is already the maximum size, you must first delete the last row of data before attempting to insert a blank row or you will receive an error message.

  10. If you are working with one of the larger files, you’ll need to repeat this process on the split files to capture the remainder of the data on additional worksheets.   Select the tab for Sheet 2 and then select Data, Import External Data, Import Data from the menu again.  Follow the same steps as before to navigate to and select the correct file.

 

 

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 15-Jul-2014