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Types of Organizations Exempt under Section 501(c)(4)

Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(4) provides for the exemption of two very different types of organizations with their own distinct qualification requirements. They are:

  • Social welfare organizations: Civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare, and
  • Local associations of employees, the membership of which is limited to the employees of a designated person(s) in a particular municipality, and the net earnings of which are devoted exclusively to charitable, educational or recreational purposes.

Homeowners associations and volunteer fire companies may be recognized as exempt as social welfare organizations if they meet the requirements for exemption. Organizations that engage in substantial lobbying activities sometimes also are classified as social welfare organizations. 

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Return to Life Cycle of a Social Welfare Organization