Starting an NGO – IRS update

DrDaveThe IRS is making it a bit easier for the NGO startups after their advance ruling period.  Below is the updated information. This is an addendum to the “So You Want to Start an NGO” post.


Under the Internal Revenue Code, there are advantages for a Section
501(c)(3) organization to be classified as a “publicly supported”
organization. To be “publicly supported,” that organization must meet
certain mathematical tests demonstrating a broad base of donor support
(as compared to a small non-public pool of donors, such as a single

Previously, organizations that expect to meet the public support test
would file a Form 1023 exemption application and seek a five year
advance ruling. With such a ruling, the organization would generally
be treated as publicly supported for its first five years. Then, it
would need to submit a Form 8734 to show that its fundraising meets
the publicly supported requirements, and if it did, the IRS would
issue a final ruling establishing publicly supported status (or if it
did not meet that status, it would be reclassified as a private

The IRS has now withdrawn the need to file a Form 8734 after 5 years.
Instead, the taxpayer makes its own determination after 5 years, and
if it meets the publicly supported requirements (and for so long as it
does), it will report as a public charity without the need for a final
determination by the IRS. The IRS will police the fulfillment of the
public support requirement by new disclosures required on the Form 990
filings of the entity (assuming such a filing is required).

Note that if a public charity does not meet the public charity support
requirements for two continuous years, it will lose its public charity

The IRS has issued a FAQ in question and answer format that address
various transitional rules and other issues relating to the new
reporting method.

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