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You’ve identified your passion and cause, now you’re ready to start formally serving and providing support to that effort. It’s no secret that applying for your 501c(3) can be a demanding task. However, there are a number of things you can do to make the process run more smoothly.

Follow the checklist below to shorten your tax-exempt application process:

  • Be sure you pay the correct user fee amount. This hinges on your average annual gross receipts.
  • Ensure that you have a completed an organizing document and related amendments. You can include the actual articles of incorporation or by-laws.
  • Include enough details and information about how you will achieve the exempt purpose. Use the “Who, What, When, Where, Why and How” method to ensure you capture all aspects in your response.
  • Complete all the required pages and schedules of Forms 1023 and 1024. Be sure to review each line as some lines require supporting schedules.
  • Highlight when your organization’s annual accounting period ends. Make sure the accounting period’s end date on the application is the same date that’s stated in the by-laws and financial statements.
  • Be sure to include all the required financial data that’s needed. Refer to the instructions for IRS Form 123 for specific information.
  • Include your organization’s rules of operation or by-laws: Make sure the board has adopted those documents.
  • Make sure the correct person or authorized board member signs all necessary forms: Generally, this is the principal officer, like the president, vice president or secretary.
  • You must include names, mailing addresses, titles/positions and annual compensation (if any) of your principal officers and board of directors.

While this won’t guarantee a speedy approval process, these suggestions can help minimize the contact from IRS personnel for incomplete and missing information from your registration packet. To learn more about the exemption process, visit https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations.

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