is an American tax-exempt nonprofit organization.
Section 501(c) of the United States Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 501(c))
provides that 28 types of nonprofit organizations
are exempt from some federal income taxes.
...Many states refer to Section 501(c)
for definitions of organizations exempt from state taxation as well.
...acceptance of goods worth over $5,000
may also trigger special filing and record-keeping requirements.
...Failure to file required returns such as Form 990
(Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax)
may result in monetary fines of up to $250,000 per year.
501(c)(3) exemptions apply to corporations, and any community chest, fund,
cooperating association or foundation, organized and operated exclusively
for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes...
These bodies are often referred to in shorthand form as "Friends of" organizations.
Another provision, 26 U.S.C. § 170, provides a deduction,
for federal income tax purposes,
for some donors who make charitable contributions
to most types of 501(c)(3) organizations, among others.
Regulations specify which such deductions must be verifiable to be allowed
(e.g., receipts for donations over $250).
Due to the tax deductions associated with donations,
loss of 501(c)(3) status can be highly challenging to a charity's continued operation,
as many foundations and corporate matching programs
do not grant funds to a charity without such status,
and individual donors often do not donate to such a charity
due to the unavailability of the deduction.
Testing for public safety is described under section 509(a)(4) of the code,
which makes the organization a public charity and not a private foundation,
but contributions to 509(a)(4) organizations are not deductible
by the donor for federal income, estate, or gift tax purposes.
The two exempt classifications of 501(c)(3) organizations are as follows:
Before donating to a 501(c)(3) organization,
a donor may wish to review IRS Publication 78,
which lists organizations currently exempt under 501(c)(3).
Donors may also verify 501(c)(3) organizations on the web-based, searchable
IRS list of charitable organizations
as well as on lists maintained by the states,
typically on states' Departments of Justice websites.
Consumers may file IRS Form 13909 with documentation
to complain about inappropriate or fradulent
(i.e., fundraising, political campaigning, lobbying) activities
by any 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.