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IRS.gov Website
Publication 557
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000199817

Chapter 1
Application, Approval, and Appeal Procedures(p4)

taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000270796Introduction

If your organization is one of the organizations described in this publication and is seeking recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS, you should follow the procedures described in this chapter and the instructions that accompany the appropriate application forms.
For information on section 501(c)(3) organizations, go to Section 501(c)(3) Organizations chapter 3. If your organization is seeking exemption under one of the other paragraphs of section 501(c), see chapter 4.
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000199818

Application Procedures(p4)

rule
Oral requests for recognition of exemption will not be considered by the IRS. Your application for tax-exempt status must be in writing using the appropriate forms as discussed below.
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000199819

Forms Required(p4)

rule
If your organization is seeking recognition of exemption from federal income tax, it must use a specific application prescribed by the IRS in Revenue Procedure 2013–9, sec. 3. If your organization is a central organization with exempt status, see Group Exemption Letter, later. All applications must be signed by an authorized individual.
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000257477

Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption.(p4)

rule
File Form 1023 if you are seeking recognition of exemption under section:
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000257478

Form 1024, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(a).(p4)

rule
File Form 1024 if you are seeking recognition of exemption under section:
Form 8718, User Fee for Exempt Organization Determination Letter Request, must also be sent along with Form 1024.
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000257479

Letter application.(p4)

rule
If your organization is seeking recognition of exemption under section 501(c)(11), (14), (16), (18), (21), (22), (23), (26), (27), (28), or (29), submit a letter application with Form 8718. See Required Inclusions for the information to include with the letter application.
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000257485

Form 1028.(p4)

rule
Use Form 1028 if your organization is a farmers’ cooperative seeking recognition of exemption under section 521. You must also submit Form 8718.
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000257486

Form 8871.(p4)

rule
Use Form 8871 if you are a political party or campaign committee for a candidate for federal, state or local office seeking to be treated as tax-exempt under section 527. See Political Organization Income Tax Return, later.

Some organizations do not have to use specific application forms. The application your organization must use is specified in the chapter in this publication dealing with your kind of organization. It is also shown in the Organization Reference Chart, later.
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000257493

Power of attorney.(p4)

rule
If your organization expects to be represented by an individual such as an attorney, CPA, officer or other person authorized to practice before the IRS, whether in person or by correspondence, you must file a Form 2848 with your exemption application. The power of attorney must specifically authorize an individual to represent your organization. You cannot name an organization, firm, etc. as your representative. Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, can be used for this purpose. The categories of individuals who can represent you before the IRS are listed on the form.
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000199820

Non-exemption for terrorist organizations.(p4)

rule
An organization that is identified or designated as a terrorist organization within the meaning of section 501(p)(2) is not eligible to apply for recognition of exemption.
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000199821

User fee.(p4)

rule
The law requires the payment of a user fee for determination letter requests such as your application for recognition of tax-exempt status. If you are filing Form 1023, user fee information is included in Part XI. If you are required to apply for recognition of exemption by submitting Form 1024, a letter application, etc. and you must pay a user fee, you should use Form 8718 to figure the amount of your user fee and to pay it. Your payment must accompany your request. The IRS will not process a request unless the fee has been paid.
Tax Tip
For the current user fee amount and processing time for applications go to IRS.gov and select "Charities and Non-Profits" from the buttons near the top. Then select the underlined link "How to Apply To Be Tax-Exempt" for the latest user fees or I want to check the status of my application for more information. You can also call 1-877-829-5500.
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Required Inclusions(p4)

rule
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000199824

Employer identification number (EIN).(p4)

rule
Every exempt organization must have an EIN, whether or not it has any employees. An EIN is required before an exemption application is submitted. Information on how to apply for an EIN by using one of the following methods can be found at Employer ID Numbers (EIN):
EIC
Use only one method for each entity so you do not receive more than one EIN for an entity.
If you previously applied for an EIN and have not yet received it, or you are unsure whether you have an EIN, please call our toll-free customer account services number, 1-877-829-5500, for assistance.
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000199825

Organizing documents.(p5)

rule
Your application should include a copy of the organizing or enabling document that is signed by a principal officer or is accompanied by a written declaration signed by an authorized individual certifying that the document is a complete and accurate copy of the original or meets the requirements of a conformed copy.
If your organizing or enabling document are articles of incorporation, include evidence that it was filed and approved by a state official. (For example, a stamped "Filed" copy dated by the Secretary of State is prima facie evidence that it was filed and approved by a state official.) A copy of the articles of incorporation can also be submitted with a written declaration signed by an authorized individual indicating the copy is complete and was filed and approved by the state, including the date filed.
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Bylaws.(p5)
Bylaws alone are not organizing documents. However, if your organization has adopted bylaws, include a current copy. The bylaws need not be signed if submitted as an attachment.
If your organization's name has been officially changed by an amendment to your organizing instruments, you should also attach a conformed copy of that amendment to your application.
Tax Tip
Bylaws may be considered an organizing document only if they are properly structured (includes name, purpose, signatures, and intent to form an organization).
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000199828
Conformed copy.(p5)
A conformed copy is a copy that agrees with the original and all amendments to it. If the original document required a signature, the copy should either be signed by a principal officer or, if not signed, be accompanied by a written declaration signed by an authorized officer of the organization. With either option, the officer must certify that the document is a complete and accurate copy of the original. A certificate of incorporation should be approved and dated by an appropriate state official.
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000199829

Attachments.(p5)

rule
When submitting attachments, every attachment should show your organization's name and EIN. It should also state that it is an attachment to your application form and identify the part and line item number to which it applies.
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000199830
Original documents.(p5)
Do not submit original documents because they become part of the IRS file and cannot be returned.
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000199831

Description of activities.(p5)

rule
Your application must include a full description of the proposed activities of your organization, including each of the fundraising activities of a section 501(c)(3) organization and a narrative description of anticipated receipts and contemplated expenditures. When describing the activities in which your organization expects to engage, you must include the standards, criteria, procedures, or other means that your organization adopted or planned for carrying out those activities.
To determine the information you need to provide, you should study the part of this publication that applies to your organization. The appropriate chapter will describe the purposes and activities that your organization must pursue, engage in, and include in your application in order to achieve exempt status.
Often, your organization's articles of organization (or other organizing instruments) contain descriptions of your organization's purposes and activities.
Your application should describe completely and in detail your past, present, and planned activities.
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Financial data.(p5)

rule
You must include in your application financial statements showing your receipts and expenditures and a balance sheet for the current year and the 3 preceding years (or for the number of years your organization was in existence, if less than 4 years). For each accounting period, you must describe the sources of your receipts and the nature of your expenditures.
If you have not yet begun operations, or have operated for less than 1 year, a proposed budget for 2 full accounting periods and a current statement of assets and liabilities will be acceptable.
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Exempt status established in application.(p5)

rule
If your application and its supporting documents show that your organization meets the requirements for tax-exempt status under the Code section you applied, the IRS will issue a favorable determination letter or ruling.
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000199834

Miscellaneous Procedures(p5)

rule
To help in processing your application, be sure to attach all schedules, statements, and other documents required by the application form. If you do not attach them, you may have to resubmit your application or you may otherwise encounter a delay in processing your application.
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000199835

Incomplete application.(p5)

rule
If an application is not complete and does not contain all the required attachments found under Required Inclusions, the IRS may return it to you for completion. The IRS may keep the application and send a letter requesting the missing information if most of the information has been received.
If the IRS returns the application or requests additional information from you, that application will be considered filed on the date the substantially completed application is postmarked, or if no postmark, received at the IRS.
Generally, the user fee will not be refunded if an incomplete application is filed.
Additional information may be requested if necessary to clarify the nature of your organization.
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000199836

Application made under wrong paragraph of section 501(c).(p5)

rule
Occasionally, an organization appears to qualify for exemption under a paragraph of section 501(c) that is different from the one for which the organization applied. If the application was made on Form 1024, which applies to more than one paragraph of section 501(c), the organization can be recognized as exempt under any paragraph to which the form applies if the organization has agreed to have its application considered under that paragraph. It must also supply any additional information required for the application under the new paragraph.
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000199837
Different application form needed.(p5)
If a different application form is required for your organization, the IRS will so advise your organization and will provide the appropriate application form for your convenience in reapplying under that paragraph, if you wish to do so. Although supporting information previously furnished need not be duplicated, you must provide any necessary additional information required for the application. If your reply is not received within a limited time, your application will be processed only for the paragraph under which you originally applied.
When a specific application form is needed for the paragraph under which your organization qualifies, that form is required before a letter recognizing exemption can be issued. This includes cases in which a determination letter is modified to recognize an organization's exempt status under a paragraph other than the paragraph under which it originally established exemption.
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000199838

IRS responses.(p5)

rule
Organizations that submit a complete application will receive an acknowledgment from the IRS. Others will receive a letter requesting more information or returning an incomplete application. Applicants also will be notified if the application is forwarded to EO Technical Office for consideration. These letters will be sent out as soon as possible after receipt of the organization's application.
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000199839

Withdrawal of application.(p5)

rule
An application may be withdrawn at any time before the issuance of a ruling or determination letter upon the written request of a principal officer or authorized representative of your organization. However, the withdrawal will not prevent the information contained in the application from being used by the IRS in any subsequent examination of your organization's returns. The information forwarded with an application will not be returned to your organization and, generally, when an application is withdrawn, the user fee paid will not be refunded.
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Requests for withholding of information from the public.(p5)

rule
The law requires many exempt organizations and private foundations to make their application forms and annual information returns available for public inspection. The law also requires the IRS to make available for public inspection, in accordance with section 6104 and the related regulations, your approved application for recognition of exemption (including any papers submitted in support of the application) and the ruling or determination letter (discussed later, under Rulings and Determination Letters.)
Any information submitted in the application or in support of it that relates to any trade secret, patent, process, style of work, or apparatus, upon request, can be withheld from public inspection if the IRS determines that the disclosure of such information would adversely affect the organization. Your request must:
  1. Identify the material to be withheld (the document, page, paragraph, and line) by clearly marking it "Not Subject To Public Inspection."
  2. Include the reasons for your organization's position that the information is of the type that can be withheld from public inspection.
  3. Be filed with the office where your organization files the documents in which the material to be withheld is contained.
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000199841

Where to file.(p6)

rule
Send your application for exempt status and Form 8718, (if required) to:

Internal Revenue Service
PO Box 12192
Covington, KY 41012-0192


Your application will be considered by EO Determinations, who will either issue a favorable determination letter to your organization, issue an adverse determination letter denying the exempt status claimed in the application, or refer the case to the Exempt Organizations Technical Office (EO Technical).
Form 8940, Request for Miscellaneous Determination. You can request miscellaneous determinations under sections 507, 509(a), 4940, 4942, 4945, and 6033 with Form 8940. Nonexempt charitable trusts also file Form 8940 for an initial determination of section 509(a)(3) status or change to their type. See Form 8940 and instructions for more information.
Due date
Requests other than applications. Requests other than applications for recognition of exemption or Form 8940 (for example, requests for rulings involving feeder organizations, application of excise taxes to activities of private foundations, taxation of unrelated business income, etc.) should be sent to:

Internal Revenue Service
Attention: EO Letter Rulings
PO Box 27720
McPherson Station
Washington, DC 20038


These requests, similar to applications for recognition of exemption previously discussed, must be accompanied by the appropriate user fee. The schedule for user fees, including those for requests other than applications, can be found in Revenue Procedure 2013-8, 2013-1 I.R.B. 237.
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Referral to EO Technical.(p6)

rule
EO Determinations will refer to EO Technical any exempt organization issue concerning qualification for exemption or foundation status for which there is no published precedent or for which there is reason to believe that nonuniformity exists. EO Determinations can request technical advice on any technical or procedural question that cannot be resolved on the basis of law, regulations, or a clearly applicable revenue ruling or other published precedent. An organization can request that an issue be referred to EO Technical for technical advice if it feels that a lack of uniformity exists as to the disposition of the issue or if an issue is so unusual or complex as to warrant consideration by EO Technical. If a determination letter is issued based on technical advice from EO Technical regarding qualification for exemption or foundation status, no further administrative appeal is available on the issue that was the subject of technical advice.
taxmap/pubs/p557-001.htm#en_us_publink1000199844

Reminder.(p6)

rule
The law requires payment of a user fee for determination letter requests. Go to IRS.gov/Charities and select Current User Fees-Exempt Organizations to find the required payment. Payment must accompany each request.