skip navigation

Search Help
Navigation Help

Topic Index
ABCDEFGHI
JKLMNOPQR
STUVWXYZ#

FAQs
Forms
Publications
Tax Topics

Comments
About Tax Map

IRS.gov Website
Publication 557
taxmap/pubs/p557-028.htm#en_us_publink1000200337

501(c)(8) and 501(c)(10) - Fraternal Beneficiary Societies and Domestic Fraternal Societies(p55)

rule
This section describes the information to be provided upon application for recognition of exemption by two types of fraternal societies: beneficiary and domestic. The major distinction is that fraternal beneficiary societies provide for the payment of life, sick, accident, or other benefits to their members or their dependents, while domestic fraternal societies do not provide these benefits but rather devote their earnings to fraternal, religious, charitable, etc., purposes. The procedures to follow in applying for recognition of exemption are described in chapter 1.
If your organization is controlled by a central organization, you should check with your controlling organization to determine whether your unit has been included in a group exemption letter or can be added. If so, your organization need not apply for individual recognition of exemption. For more information, see Group Exemption Letter in chapter 1 of this publication.
taxmap/pubs/p557-028.htm#en_us_publink1000200338

Tax treatment of donations.(p55)

rule
Donations by an individual to a domestic fraternal beneficiary society or a domestic fraternal society operating under the lodge system are deductible as charitable contributions only if used exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.
taxmap/pubs/p557-028.htm#en_us_publink1000200339

Fraternal Beneficiary Societies (501(c)(8))(p55)

rule
A fraternal beneficiary society, order, or association must file an application for recognition of exemption from federal income tax on Form 1024. The application and accompanying statements should establish that the organization:
  1. Is a fraternal organization,
  2. Operates under the lodge system or for the exclusive benefit of the members of a fraternal organization itself operating under the lodge system, and
  3. Provides for the payment of life, sick, accident, or other benefits to the members of the society, order, or association or their dependents.
taxmap/pubs/p557-028.htm#en_us_publink1000200340

Lodge system.(p55)

rule
Operating under the lodge system means carrying on activities under a form of organization that comprises local branches, chartered by a parent organization and largely self-governing, called lodges, chapters, or the like.
taxmap/pubs/p557-028.htm#en_us_publink1000200341

Payment of benefits.(p55)

rule
It is not essential that every member be covered by the society's program of sick, accident, or death benefits. An organization can qualify for exemption if most of its members are eligible for benefits, and the benefits are paid from contributions or dues paid by those members.
The benefits must be limited to members and their dependents. If members will have the ability to confer benefits to other than themselves and their dependents, exemption will not be recognized.
taxmap/pubs/p557-028.htm#en_us_publink1000200342
Whole-life insurance.(p55)
Whole-life insurance constitutes a life benefit under section 501(c)(8) even though the policy may contain investment features such as a cash surrender value or a policy loan.
taxmap/pubs/p557-028.htm#en_us_publink1000200343
Reinsurance pool.(p55)
Payments by a fraternal beneficiary society into a state-sponsored reinsurance pool that protects participating insurers against excessive losses on major medical health and accident insurance will not preclude exemption as a fraternal beneficiary society.
taxmap/pubs/p557-028.htm#en_us_publink1000200344

Domestic Fraternal Societies (501(c)(10))(p55)

rule
A domestic fraternal society, order, or association must file an application for recognition of exemption from federal income tax on Form 1024. The application and accompanying statements should establish that the organization:
  1. Is a domestic fraternal organization organized in the U.S.,
  2. Operates under the lodge system,
  3. Devotes its net earnings exclusively to religious, charitable, scientific, literary, educational, and fraternal purposes, and
  4. Does not provide for the payment of life, sick, accident, or other benefits to its members.
The organization can arrange with insurance companies to provide optional insurance to its members without jeopardizing its exempt status.