Life Cycle of a Business League (Trade Association)


Trade associations that meet the requirements of Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(6) are exempt from federal income tax as business leagues. The same provision extends exemption to chambers of commerce, real estate boards, boards of trade, and professional football leagues.

During its existence, a tax-exempt business league has numerous interactions with the IRS - from filing an application for recognition of tax-exempt status, to filing the required annual information returns, to making changes in its mission and purpose. The IRS makes information, explanations, guides, forms and publications on all of these subjects available through this IRS website. The illustration below provides links to the documents most organizations need as they proceed though the phases of their "life cycle."

Starting Out

Applying to the IRS

Required Filings

Ongoing Compliance

Significant Events