A charitable organization generally will not be treated as tax-exempt unless it applies for recognition of exemption by filing a current Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption, with the appropriate office listed in the Instructions to that form. A user fee must accompany Form 1023; for more information on the specific fee that applies, see User Fees.
Some organizations are not required to file Form 1023. These exceptions do not apply to private foundations, however.
An organization will not be treated as tax-exempt for any period before it files Form 1023 unless it files the form within 27 months from the end of the month in which it was organized. If the application is not timely filed, exemption will be recognized only for the period after the application is received.
In some cases, the IRS may extend the time for filing the notice. See Extension of time for filing of notice for more information.
If an organization that is required to file Form 1023 does not comply with the filing requirements, charitable contribution deductions will not be allowed for any gift or bequest made to the organization.