IRS Launches Tax Exempt Organization Search Tool
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), has recently improved one of their nonprofit web pages in a way that may save you time and money.
This website, https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/tax-exempt-organization-search, has been known by a few different names in the past. First it was “Publication 78.” Then it was updated to “Select Check EO.” Today it goes by “Tax Exempt Organization Search.” But what it’s called isn’t nearly as important as what it does.
This revamped search tool not only allows you to look-up exempt organizations by name or employer identification number (EIN) – as you have in the past – it now grants users the ability to filter search results by choosing from various available databases.
Easily Access Tax-Exempt Determination Letters
One new feature that has generated a lot of excitement is that Tax-Exempt Determination Letters issued on or after Jan. 1, 2014, can now be easily accessed online. This is a big deal because your organizations determination letter serves as proof of tax-exempt status, and helps donors know to what extent their donation is tax-deductible. To retrieve a copy of your determination letter (or another nonprofit’s determination letter), all you have to do is enter your organization’s name of and click on the “search” button. Really, what could be easier?!
Financial Data Is Only A Click Away
Another new feature you might want to take a look at is the availability of certain filed 990-series forms. Currently, only forms filed since January of 2018 and later are available through the IRS search. However, it is certainly worth mentioning. One possible application of this feature is that it makes it very easy for Loan Officers and Grantors to gather pertinent information for grant applications and loan renewal. The fact that the website doesn’t require any special login, release form, or encryption and already excludes any information not open for public inspection and helps save time and protects donor anonymity. Accessible forms include:
- and for 501(C)(3) organizations, also forms 990-T & 990-PF.
Aliases Are Not Allowed
If you’re poking around on the site and are having trouble finding your nonprofit, it could be because you haven’t been searching your organizations legal names. Doing Business as (DBA) names, are not applicable. Additionally, certain eligible donees such as churches, organizations that have a group rulings, and certain governmental organizations may not be included in the results either. If you don’t believe the organization you’re searching for falls into one of those categories, try an old search feature entitled Master List which can be downloaded by state or region as an alternative. If you use this feature, be sure to also check out the handy information sheet which explains the classifications and codes used in the file. Both can be found at https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/exempt-organizations-business-master-file-extract-eo-bmf.
Did You Miss The Cutoff?
Lastly, if you missed the cutoff dates that were noted above and need to request either a copy of your Tax-Exempt Determination Letter or a filed 990-series form, you’ll have to rely on one of the traditional methods, which may include the need to file Form 4506-A. Unfortunately, don’t be surprised to see delays and a processing fees accompany the form. More guidance can be found at https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/eo-operational-requirements-obtaining-copies-of-exemption-determination-letter-from-irs and the form and its instructions can also be found at https://apps.irs.gov/app/picklist/list/formsPublications.html.
If you need help accessing your nonprofit’s determination letter or financial information, or you need help completing filing your next 990, give me a call! Our team of nonprofit specialists are happy to help.
By Katie Brown, CPA (Zanesville office)