The questions that follow will help you determine if an organization is eligible to apply for recognition of exemption from federal income taxation under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code and, if so, how to proceed. If you want to see an in-depth discussion of exemption requirements under section 501(a) of the Code, rather than going through a step-by-step analysis of an organization's eligibility to apply for recognition of exemption from federal income taxation, see Types of Exempt Organizations or IRS Publication 557, Tax Exempt Status For Your Organization. In addition, Publication 4220, Applying for 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt StatusPDF, is designed to help prospective charities apply for tax exemption under the tax law. 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. First Things First. Does The Organization Have an Appropriate Legal Form? For the Internal Revenue Service (the IRS) to recognize an organization's exemption, the organization must be organized as a trust, a corporation, or an association. Is the organization a trust, corporation, or association? Yes | No Additional information State Links for Exempt Organizations contains useful information for tax-exempt organizations, including registration requirements for charities, taxation, information for employers, and more.