As an organization based in New York, or any other state of the United States, you may want to apply for 501c3 tax-exempt status. This often involves numerous paperwork and the need to understand several legal requirements. With the help of experienced attorneys, the process of applying for 501c3 can be made simpler.

This article will answer some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about 501c3 application. It will guide readers through the various legal requirements of applying for the tax-exempt status in New York as well as other states of the United States. So, let’s get started.

What is a 501c3?

A 501c3 is a nonprofit organization with charitable, religious, educational, and scientific goals. It was established in the US by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for organizations that are not formed for private benefit. As such, the nonprofit organizations that fall under the 501c3 exemption are exempted from paying income tax.

Who can apply for 501c3?

The IRS encourages most domestic organizations, public charities, private foundations, tribal governments, and religious organizations to apply for 501c3. It is important to keep in mind that the organizations should not be formed with any kind of political or private purpose.

What are the legal requirements for 501c3?

There is no single answer as academic organizations, religious organizations, charities, and private foundations all have different requirements. These can be broadly summarized as the following:

The organization must have a unique purpose that serves public/religious/educational/charitable interests

The organization must not involve itself in political activities or activities promoting private interests of any particular individual or firm

The organization must not earn profits or enter a transaction from which it will earn excessive gains

The organization must not contribute to or support any political candidates or political parties

The organization must have a board of directors that represents it

The organization must maintain detailed records of its activities, expenditures, fundraising, and other financial activities

The organization must provide detailed reports to IRS as to its activities, finances etc.

How to apply for 501c3 status?

In order to apply for a 501c3 exemption from taxation, you must submit the form 1023 to the IRS. The form 1023 is a lengthy application document which must be completed to the full satisfaction of the IRS. The form requests for detailed information on the organization’s structure, its activities, its fundraising activities, its expenditure, its financial documents, and its missions.

What are the legal requirements in New York?

Organizations based in New York seeking 501c3 status must also comply with the state law. The organization must appoint a board of directors and make sure that the board meets at least once a year. It is important to note that the board of directors must be represented from all walks of life. The directors must not take any private benefit from the organization nor should they involve themselves in any political activities. The organization must also keep accurate financial records and make sure that all its activities correspond to its tax-exempt purposes.

Do I need a lawyer for 501c3 application in New York?

Having a lawyer will be beneficial as he or she can help guide you through the paperwork and other legal requirements. A specially experienced lawyer will have sound knowledge of New York laws and regulations relating to the 501c3 application and will provide expert legal advice on the paperwork and other legal processes involved.

At UpCounsel, you can consult experienced attorneys for the best legal services. With an impressive experience of 14 years on average, the attorneys at UpCounsel make sure that all paperwork relating to the 501c3 application process is completed in accordance with the state laws.


Applying for a 501c3 tax-exempt status is a complex process that requires input from experienced attorneys. The intent of this article was to answer the most frequently asked questions about the 501c3 application and help the organizations based in New York understand the local regulations. UpCounsel's network of experienced lawyers can provide you with the required legal advice and help make the 501c3 application process easier.



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