Thousands of Nonprofits Lose Tax-Exempt Status

By Brett Melson Tuesday, August 9, 2011

If you are thinking about making a tax-deductible donation to a small charity, you may want to make sure it is still a charity.  A few recently lost their tax-exempt status for failing to file documents with the IRS.  Charities, membership groups, and trade associations without tax-exempt status are not allowed to receive tax-deductible contributions and may now have to pay taxes on any income they receive.

On June 8, 2011, the IRS posted a list of approximately 275,000 groups that did not file informational reports for three consecutive years.  Tax-exempt groups other than churches and certain church-related organizations making less than $50,000 a year were required to file the form for the first time in 2007 (after Congress passed the Pension Protection Act of 2006, giving the IRS a way of tracking these organizations.)

The IRS has posted the list on  Information included gives the name, employer identification number (EIN), type of organization, and last known address. The list is searchable by state. They will also post monthly updates with additional information about organizations whose filing dates have come due.  Donations made prior to an organization being added to this IRS list remain tax-deductible.

Publication on this list of organizations whose tax-exempt status has been revoked is intended to serve as notice to donors and others that they should not rely on a prior listing or publication.  The IRS believes that the vast majority of tax-exempt groups have filed their forms and are unaffected by the revocation listing, and many on the list are simply no longer in existence.

The tax agency said procedures have been set up to help those groups who seek to have their tax-exempt status reinstated.  They must fill out an application and pay a user fee, regardless of whether they originally needed to file such an application.  Information on the reinstatement process can be found on

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