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Exempt Organizations Annual Reporting Requirements - Form 990, Schedules A and B: Public Charity Support Test

What is the public support test for a public charity?

There are two public support tests for public charities: One for organizations described in sections 509(a)(1) and 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) of the Internal Revenue Code, and one for organizations described in section 509(a)(2). Both tests measure public support over a five-year period.

Generally, the 509(a)(1) test requires that the organization receive at least one-third of its support from contributions from the general public, or meet the 10 percent facts and circumstances test.

Generally, the 509(a)(2) test requires that the organization receive more than one-third of its support from contributions from the general public and/or from gross receipts from activities related to its tax-exempt purposes. Under the 509(a)(2) test, an organization can receive no more than one-third of its support from gross investment income and unrelated business taxable income.

More details on the public support tests under sections 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) and 509(a)(2) are set forth in the instructions to Form 990, Schedule A.

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