The Guide to Nonprofits and Tax Exemption

One of the great misconceptions surrounding nonprofit corporations is the idea that they all qualify for tax exemptions. The truth is that jumping through all the hoops to obtain tax-exempt status is hard work and many nonprofit organizations pay taxes like their for-profit counterparts. For those that do qualify for tax-exempt status, the most common designation, known as a 501(c)(3) status, is available for entities that qualify as public charities and private foundations. This one designation, however, doesn’t come close to providing options for the wide range of nonprofit organizations in existence.

To accommodate many other kinds of nonprofit organizations seeking tax exempt status, the IRS has created 33 different tax-exempt statuses for which nonprofits can apply. See the chart below for more information:

Nonprofit tax exemption chart 1

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* Applicants will need to read the appropriate 501(c) tax code to find out what the IRS requires. Typically these organizations will need to submit a letter describing the entity’s functions and character along with a copy of the organization’s formation documents.

About the Author

Drake Forester, Chief Legal Strategiest - Northwest Registered AgentDrake Forester is the chief legal strategist at Northwest Registered Agent, LLC. Throughout his career, Drake has researched many complicated nonprofit compliance issues and provided whitepaper and publications for many leading nonprofit organizations in the United States.