If charitable giving is important to you, you may want to do some investigating to ensure that the charities you support are in good standing with the IRS. Fortunately, a new IRS search tool for tax exempt organizations can simplify this process for you.
While the tool (known as the Select Organizations Exempt Check) isn’t exhaustive, it does offer some helpful information including whether an organization:
- Is eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions.
- Had its tax exemption automatically revoked for failing to file a required Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, for three consecutive years.
- Filed a Form 990-N, Annual Electronic Filing Requirement for Small Exempt Organizations, also called an e-Postcard.
Such information can help a potential donor see an organization as the IRS does. However, the tool is not without some glitches, as addressed in a recent article in the Journal of Accountancy. For example, once an organization is placed on the auto-revocation list (triggered when the organization fails to file a form) it won’t be removed from the list even if the organization re-applies and is re-admitted back into tax exempt status.
With that caveat, the tool provides an excellent means to check the status of a given charity. Nevertheless, if one of your favorite charities is on the auto-revocation list, then you may need to confirm the current standing directly with the charity itself.
Reference: The Journal of Accountancy (March 15, 2012) “New online search tool makes it easier to find information about exempt organizations”
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