A ruling or determination letter will be issued to your organization if its application and supporting documents establish that it meets the particular requirements of the section under which it is claiming exemption. However, the IRS will not ordinarily issue rulings or determination letters recognizing exemption if an issue involving the organization's exempt status is pending in litigation or is under consideration within the IRS. taxmap/pubs/p557-002.htm#TXMP5b873058
A ruling or determination letter may be issued in advance of operations if your organization can describe its proposed operations in enough detail to permit a conclusion that it will clearly meet the particular requirements of the section under which it is claiming exemption. A restatement of the organization's purpose or a statement that it will be operated in furtherance of that purpose will not satisfy this requirement. The organization must describe fully the activities in which it expects to engage. This includes standards, procedures, or other means adopted or planned by the organization for carrying out its activities, expected sources of funds, and the nature of its contemplated expenses.
When an organization does not supply the information previously mentioned under Application Procedures, or fails to furnish a sufficiently detailed description of its proposed activities to permit a conclusion that it will clearly be exempt, a proposed adverse determination letter or ruling may be issued. taxmap/pubs/p557-002.htm#TXMP346f91e6
If an organization is unable to describe fully its purposes and activities, resulting in a refusal by the IRS to issue a ruling or determination letter, that refusal is considered an adverse determination, which the organization can appeal. See Appeal Procedures, later. taxmap/pubs/p557-002.htm#TXMP4c33bc3e
A ruling or determination letter recognizing exemption is usually effective as of the date of formation of an organization if, during the period before the date of the ruling or determination letter, its purposes and activities were those required by the law. (See Application for Recognition of Exemption in chapter 3 for the special rule for organizations applying for recognition of exemption under section 501(c)(3).) Upon obtaining recognition of exemption, the organization may file a claim for a refund of income taxes paid for the period for which its exempt status is recognized.
If an organization is required to alter its activities or substantially amend its charter to qualify, the ruling or determination letter recognizing exemption will be effective as of the date specified in the letter. If a nonsubstantive amendment is made, such as correction of a clerical error in the enabling instrument or the addition of a dissolution clause, exemption will ordinarily be recognized as of the date of formation if the activities of the organization before the ruling or determination are consistent with the exemption requirements.
A ruling or determination letter recognizing exemption may not be relied upon if there is a material change, inconsistent with exemption, in the character, the purpose, or the method of operation of the organization. Also, a ruling or determination letter may not be relied on if it is based on any inaccurate material factual representations.taxmap/pubs/p557-002.htm#TXMP6831da6f
A ruling or determination letter recognizing exemption may be revoked or modified by:
- A notice to the organization to which the ruling or determination letter originally was issued,
- Enactment of legislation or ratification of a tax treaty,
- A decision of the United States Supreme Court,
- Issuance of temporary or final regulations, or
- Issuance of a revenue ruling, a revenue procedure, or other statement published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin or Cumulative Bulletin.
If the organization omitted or misstated a material fact, operated in a manner materially different from that originally represented, or, with regard to organizations to which section 503 applies, engaged in a prohibited transaction (such as diverting corpus or income from its exempt purpose), the revocation or modification may be retroactive. taxmap/pubs/p557-002.htm#TXMP51378cff
If there is a material change, inconsistent with exemption, in the character, purpose, or method of operation of the organization, revocation or modification will ordinarily take effect as of the date of that material change. taxmap/pubs/p557-002.htm#TXMP11ed02ad
If a ruling or determination letter was issued in error or is no longer in accord with the holding of the IRS, and if section 7805(b) relief is granted, retroactivity of the revocation or modification ordinarily will be limited to a date not earlier than that on which the original ruling or determination letter was modified or revoked. For more information on requesting section 7805(b) relief, see Revenue Procedure 2008-4 (or later update). taxmap/pubs/p557-002.htm#TXMP1e3678d1
The determination of the effective date is the same for the revocation or modification of foundation status or operating foundation status unless the effective date is expressly covered by statute or regulations.taxmap/pubs/p557-002.htm#TXMP1d143316
If an EO area manager concludes, as a result of examining an information return or considering information from any other source, that a ruling or determination letter should be revoked or modified, the organization will be advised in writing of the proposed action and the reasons for it.
The organization will also be advised of its right to protest the proposed action by requesting Appeals Office consideration. The appeal procedures are discussed next.