Starting and Maintaining a Charity for Disaster Relief


Applying for tax-exempt status

Check with the state where you will do business for requirements for creating a non profit and required organizing documents. Web sites of state officials with information on forming tax-exempt corporations

Apply to the IRS for federal tax exempt status

Federal tax law requirements for forming charities

Apply for an Employee Identification Number (EIN)

Kinds of disaster relief assistance a charity can give

What types of assistance may a charity provide?

Standards for providing relief to individuals

Can a qualified charity that doesn’t provide disaster relief give money to a disaster relief organization helping victims of a particular disaster?

Can a charity help business affected by a disaster?

Documenting relief activities

Publication 1771 PDF, Charitable Contributions, Substantiation and Disclosure Requirements

Employer- Sponsored Disaster Relief Organizations

Publication 3833 PDF, Disaster Relief: Providing Assistance through Charitable Organizations

Working with volunteers

For information about federal tax issues of volunteers for charitable disaster relief organizations, see Working with volunteers.

Information for your donors 

Publication 526 PDF, Charitable Contributions, explains how donors may claim a deduction for charitable contributions.

Webinars and online courses

Stay Exempt Presentation  – Disaster Relief  Part 1 – explains how charitable organizations may provide relief in disaster situations and the special tax rules that apply to such organizations.

Stay Exempt Presentation – Disaster Relief  Part 2 - explains the special rules that apply to employer-sponsored disaster relief organizations, the deductibility of contributions to disaster relief organizations and the tax treatment of distributions to disaster relief victims.

Life Cycle of a Public Charity

Life Cycle of a Private Foundation

Publications (downloadable PDF)

Publication 3833 PDF, Disaster Relief: Providing Assistance through Charitable Organizations

Publication 4220 PDF, Applying for 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status

Publication 557 PDF, Tax-Exempt Status for Your Organization