Tax-Exempt Activities

The IRS devotes significant resources to meeting the special needs of tax-exempt organizations, employee retirement benefit plans, and Government entities in complying with tax laws. While these entities are not subject to Federal income tax, they nonetheless represent a significant aspect of tax administration. Although information on the administration, processing, and examination of returns filed by these entities is provided throughout the IRS Data Book, Section 6 focuses on issues related to governance.

This chart shows the number of IRS recognized tax-exempt organizations, nonexempt charitable trusts, and nonexempt split-interest trusts in fiscal year 2018. In fiscal year 2018, the IRS recognized more than 1.8 million organizations as tax exempt. 1.7 million of these were exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c) with more than 1.3 million qualifying as tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).

View chart details (XLS). For additional graphs from this section, download the PDF of this year’s Data Book.

Highlights of the Data

  • In Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, the IRS issued a total of 5,132 determination letters on employee retirement plans. These consisted of 1,404 determination letters for defined benefit plans and 3,728 determination letters for defined contribution plans (Table 23).
  • In FY 2018, the IRS closed 91,981 applications for tax-exempt status. Of those, the IRS approved tax-exempt status for 91.2 percent of the applications (Table 24a).
  • In FY 2018, the IRS recognized more than 1.8 million organizations, including new determinations, as tax-exempt. Almost 1.7 million of these organizations were exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c), with more than 1.3 million qualifying as tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) (Table 25).

Index of Data Book Tables


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