After much anticipation, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has streamlined the process for applying for tax exempt status. Most small start-up non-profit organizations are now able to apply for recognition of exemption under IRS Section 501(c)3 online, and at a reduced user fee of $275 (formerly $400). Eligible organizations are no longer required to decipher the burdensome 26-page standard IRS Form 1023. This new process also reduces the need to hire a professional to complete the form on your behalf; however, BellTower Consulting Group is more than happy to do it for you!
Use this checklist to guide you through the process of submitting your application. I am assuming that at a minimum, you have already incorporated your non-profit, secured an employee Identification number (EIN), and assembled your board of directors.
ο Visit irs.gov and complete the Form 1023-EZ Eligibility Worksheet. If you can answer “No” to all of the questions listed on the Eligibility Worksheet, then you are free to move on to the next item of this checklist. If you answer “Yes” to any of the questions listed, then contact BellTower Consulting Group for assistance with filing the standard Form 1023.
ο Now that you have determined that your organization is eligible to apply using Form 1023-EZ, it is time to access the online application. Visit pay.gov; this is a payment processing site for various government agencies. You will be asked to create an account if you do not already have one (personal or company/organization).
ο Once you have set up your user account and gained access to the site, search for “IRS 1023-EZ”, and you will be directed to the form 1023-EZ page
ο On the 1023-EZ page, you can press [Preview Form] and you will be able to see what the form is asking prior to starting the online process. Click HERE for a copy of the form. The IRS warns organizations to choose your foundation classification wisely. For more information check out Part IV of the Form 1023 Instructions guide.
ο Press [Continue to Form] to begin the application process. You will fill in the questions as listed on the preview form.
ο Finally, you will have to enter your payment information.
ο Once your payment is made, you will be prompted to review and submit your application. You will receive immediate confirmation of submittal.
ο Now celebrate your most recent achievement!
From my experience I have not seen a reduction in the time that it takes to receive a final approval of applications, so I would say the wait time is anywhere from two (2) to six (6) months. Have you tried applying for 501(c)3 recognition of exemption using the Form 1023-EZ process? Tell us about your experience.
BellTower provides aspiring non-profit organizations with assistance in forming their organization and applying for exemption. Email us at info@belltowergroup.org or give us a call at (786)232-0771 or (888)778-5930 if you would like us to help you get started today!

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Founded in 2009, BellTower Consulting Group has assisted nonprofit organizations and municipalities in securing grant funding for youth programs, social services, infrastructure, parks and recreation, arts programming and much more.

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