To be exempt under section 501(c)(3), an organization must file an application for recognition of exemption with the IRS. The law provides limited exceptions to the filing requirement.
File either Form 1023 or Form 1023-EZ to apply for exemption under section 501(c)(3). The applications have instructions, checksheets and worksheets to help you provide the information required to process your application. The IRS will not process an incomplete application.
See When to File for an explanation of the deadlines for filing an application..
Exceptions to Application Requirement
The following organizations are excepted from the exemption application requirement:
- Churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches; and
- An organization that is not a private foundation and the gross receipts (total amounts the organization received from all sources during its annual accounting period, without subtracting any costs or expenses) of which in each taxable year are normally not more than $5,000.
- Gross Receipts Test - Section 501(c)(3) Exemption Application
- Group Exemptions - Publication 4573, Group Exemptions (PDF)
Learn more about the benefits, limitations and expectations of tax-exempt organizations by attending 10 courses at the online Small to Mid-Size Tax Exempt Organization Workshop.