Skip to main content

Apply for 501(c)(3) Status

How do we obtain tax-exempt status?

You must file with the Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3). Fill out and file the multi-page form 1023.  After your application is approved, you will receive a letter granting tax-exempt status to your organization.

Why should we incorporate and be tax-exempt?

Nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations:

  • may be exempt from property taxes on all or part of their real property
  • are exempt from federal income taxes on income related to the organization’s exempt purposes
  • are exempt from federal unemployment taxes
  • are often exempt from state sales taxes
  • can collect tax-deductible contributions
  • can receive grants from private foundation grants and government grants and contracts
  • may be eligible for reduced postal rates
  • often have a more elevated status in the eyes of donors and the public


As a separate legal entity, incorporation inserts a legal buffer between the corporation and the trustees, officers, members or other individuals. The assets at risk in a lawsuit or claims of creditors are the corporation’s, not the personal assets of the individual trustees, officers, volunteers, etc.

Publication 557, “Tax-Exempt Status for Your Organization”