Frequently asked questions
Which nonprofits qualify for 501(c)(3) status?
Ones that benefit the general public. Think charitable, educational, literary, religious, and scientific organizations.
Which nonprofits don't qualify for 501(c)(3) status?
Ones that benefit private individuals—instead of the general public. Think lobbying groups.
Do I need to be a corporation to get 501(c)(3) status?
No, but it helps. Getting 501(c)(3) status as a corporation is much easier. It's more complicated when you're an LLC so you might want to talk with an attorney first.
Do you need to renew your 501(c)(3) status?
No, you don't need to renew it as long as you file the required tax forms. If you don't file a Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990) for three straight years, the IRS automatically revokes your 501(c)(3) status. Then, you'd need to reapply.
How long does it usually take before I hear back from the IRS?
Generally, it takes up to two months to process your paperwork. But from time to time, it may take longer due to backlogs.