The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers a handy tool called the IRS Charity Search, with which people can easily search for and verify the tax-exempt status of charitable organizations or other tax-exempt entities. This feature can benefit those looking to make donations or conduct charitable work confidently, knowing that their contributions are going towards a legitimate and verified cause.
The Internal Revenue Service provides tax exemptions to select organizations that fulfill particular requirements and are actively involved in endeavors that contribute to the betterment of the public or possess a charitable objective. These organizations, which should be listed in the IRS charity search, are granted the privilege of being exempt from paying federal income tax on their earnings and may receive tax-deductible contributions from donors.
What is the IRS charity search tool?
The IRS Charity Search is a valuable tool that can aid individuals in ensuring that their charitable donations are tax-deductible and meet IRS regulations. This platform promotes transparency and accountability in the nonprofit sector by enabling donors to verify the legitimacy and tax-exempt status of the organizations they intend to support.
With the assistance of this resource, donors can have greater confidence in their contributions and make informed decisions about which nonprofits to support. In essence, the IRS Charity Search helps to foster a more trustworthy and reliable philanthropic landscape.
Those proofs promote transparency and accountability in the nonprofit sector by allowing donors to verify the legitimacy and tax-exempt status of the organizations they wish to support.
How to access the IRS charity search: Step by Step
If you want to check the tax-exempt status of charitable organizations, you can enter the IRS charity search at any time, better known as “Tax Exempt Organization Search,” as it appears on the web, where you should follow the following steps to find out the tax status of an NGO:
- Visit the IRS website.
- Go to the “Charities & Nonprofits” section on the upper right side of the screen, as shown in the image.
- Locate the “Tax-Exempt Organization Search (TEOS)” box and click on the “Search Organization” button.
- A new window will open with two options, one for search and one for download. Click on “Tax Exempt Organization Search Tool.”
- Next, click “Search for Tax Exempt Organizations,” as shown in the image below.
- In the next window, select a database, the name of the organization you want to verify, or its Employer Identification Number (EIN), and, to refine the search, you can add additional information, such as city, state, or country.
- Click the “Search” button to start the search according to the provided data.
- You will then be presented with a list of your search results. Click on the corresponding organization.
- Then, you will see a box with all the information about the tax exemption of the organization in question (Exemption Type, Exemption Reinstatement Date, Revocation Date, and Revocation Posting Date).
NOTE: If an organization is categorized as tax-exempt, it fulfills the IRS criteria to accept tax-deductible contributions.
What are the IRS Exemption Types: Codes and meanings
The IRS grants tax-exempt status to specific nonprofit organizations that meet its requirements. Obtaining tax-exempt status means that the organization does not have to pay federal income taxes and that donations made to the organization may be tax-deductible to donors.
In the first search result (Exemption type), you will see a code, such as “501(c)(3)”. There are more than 30 IRS exemption types (codes), the meanings of which are explained in the table below:
|Exemption Type (IRC section)||Description|
|501(c)(2)||Title holding corporations for exempt organizations|
|501(c)(3)||Religious, educational, charitable, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, or prevention of cruelty to children or animals organizations|
|501(c)(4)||Civic leagues, social welfare organizations, and local associations of employees|
|501(c)(5)||Labor, agricultural, and horticultural organizations|
|501(c)(6)||Business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards, etc.|
|501(c)(7)||Social and recreational clubs|
|501(c)(8)||Fraternal beneficiary societies and organizations|
|501(c)(9)||Voluntary employees' beneficiary associations|
|501(c)(10)||Domestic fraternal societies and associations|
|501(c)(11)||Teachers' retirement fund associations|
|501(c)(12)||Benevolent life insurance associations, mutual ditch or irrigation companies, mutual or cooperative telephone companies, etc.|
|501(c)(14)||State-chartered credit unions, mutual reserve funds|
|501(c)(15)||Mutual insurance companies or associations|
|501(c)(16)||Cooperative organizations to finance crop operations|
|501(c)(17)||Supplemental unemployment benefit trusts|
|501(c)(18)||Employee funded pension trusts (created before June 25, 1959)|
|501(c)(19)||Post or organization of past or present members of the armed forces|
|501(c)(20)||Qualified group legal services plans|
|501(c)(21)||Black lung benefit trusts|
|501(c)(22)||Withdrawal liability payment funds|
|501(c)(23)||Veterans organizations (created before 1880)|
|501(c)(24)||Trusts described in section 4049 of the Employer Retirement Income Security Act|
|501(c)(25)||Title holding corporations or trusts with multiple persons|
|501(c)(26)||State-sponsored organizations providing health coverage for high-risk individuals|
|501(c)(27)||State-sponsored workers' compensation reinsurance organizations|
|501(c)(28)||National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust|
|501(c)(29)||Qualified nonprofit health insurance issuers|
|501(d)||Religious and apostolic organizations|
|501(e)||Cooperative hospital service organizations|
|501(f)||Cooperative service organizations of operating educational organizations|
|501(k)||Child care organizations|
|501(n)||Charitable risk pools|
|521(a)||Farmers' cooperative associations|
|Other||For exemption types not included in the above list|
Note that groups that have failed to submit a Form 990-series return or notice for three consecutive years have had their federal tax-exempt status revoked automatically.
Which is the 990-form series?
The Form 990 series is comprised of different forms, each designed to meet the needs of different types and sizes of tax-exempt organizations. The most common forms within the series include:
- Form 990: This is the primary form used by tax-exempt organizations with annual gross receipts over $200,000 or total assets over $500,000.
- Form 990-EZ is an abbreviated version of Form 990 and is used for tax-exempt organizations with annual gross receipts less than $200,000 and total assets less than $500,000.
- Form 990-PF: Explicitly used for tax-exempt private foundations.
- Form 990-T: For tax-exempt organizations generating income unrelated to the primary purpose.
What is the Form 990-N or e-Postcard?
The Form 990-N, more commonly referred to as the e-Postcard, is a simplified tax form that must be filed annually by specific tax-exempt organizations. This particular form is tailored to organizations with an annual gross income of $50,000 or less.
Its purpose is to provide the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with crucial financial information regarding the organization’s activities and to ensure they comply with the applicable tax laws. By filing Form 990-N, tax-exempt organizations can maintain their tax-exempt status and avoid potential penalties or revocation of their tax-exempt status.
- “Tax Exempt Organization Search | Internal Revenue Service.” Internal Revenue Service | An Official Website of the United States Government, https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/tax-exempt-organization-search.