Tax Exempt Organization Reference Chart

Derived from “IRS Publication 557: Tax-Exempt Status for Your Organization (1997)”

Note: This page may not include every type of organization that qualifies for some form of federal tax-exemption. It should not be considered legal advice or otherwise used to determine matters of law, and is provided for educational purposes only. Please use official IRS materials to insure your information is completely up-to-date and accurate.

501(c)1

Description of Organization
Corporations Organized Under Act of Congress (including Federal Credit Unions)

General Nature of Activities
Instrumentalities of the United States

Application Form
No form

Annual return required to be filed
None

Contributions Allowable
Yes, if made for exclusively public purposes

Return to top

 

501(c)2

Description of Organization
Title Holding Corporation For Exempt Organization

General Nature of Activities
Holding title to property of an exempt organization.

Application Form
IRS Form 1024

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
No.

    Exception: An organization exempt under a Subsection of Code section 501 other than (c)(3), may establish a charitable fund, contributions to which are deductible. Such a fund must itself meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3) and the related notice requirements of section 508(a).
Return to top

 

501(c)3

Description of Organization
Religious, Educational, Charitable, Scientific, Literary, Testing for Public Safety, to Foster National or International Amateur Sports Competition, or Prevention of Cruelty to Children or Animals Organizations

General Nature of Activities
Activities of nature implied by description of class of organization

Application Form
IRS Form 1023

Annual return required to be filed
990, 990EZ, or 990-PF

Contributions Allowable
Yes, generally.

Sub-Classes of 501(c)3
All 501(c)3 organizations are further categorized as one of five types under IRC 509(a):

    Private Foundations

      All 501(c)3 organizations that don’t qualify as public charities. Some private foundations are additionally subclassified as private operating foundations or private non-operating foundations, which receive some of the advantages of public charities.

    Public Charities

      509(a)(1): Publicly-supported charities.
      509(a)(2): Excempt purpose activity-supported charities.
      509(a)(3): Supporting organizations for 509(a)(1) or 509(a)(2) charities.
      509(a)(4): Public safety charities.
Return to top

 

501(c)4

Description of Organization
Civic Leagues, Social Welfare Organizations, and Local Associations of Employees

General Nature of Activities
Promotion of community welfare; charitable, educational or recreational.

Application Form
IRS Form 1024

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
No, generally.

    Exception 1: An organization exempt under a Subsection of Code section 501 other than (c)(3), may establish a charitable fund, contributions to which are deductible. Such a fund must itself meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3) and the related notice requirements of section 508(a).
    Exception 2: Contributions to volunteer fire companies and similar organizations are deductible, but only if made for exclusively public purposes.
Return to top

 

501(c)5

Description of Organization
Labor, Agricultural, and Horticultural Organizations

General Nature of Activities
Educational or instructive, the purpose being to improve conditions of work, and to improve products and efficiency

Application Form
IRS Form 1024

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
No.

Return to top

 

501(c)6

Description of Organization
Business Leagues, Chambers of Commerce, Real Estate Boards, Etc.

General Nature of Activities
Improvement of business conditions of one or more lines of business

Application Form
IRS form 1024

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
No.

    Exception: An organization exempt under a Subsection of Code section 501 other than (c)(3), may establish a charitable fund, contributions to which are deductible. Such a fund must itself meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3) and the related notice requirements of section 508(a).
Return to top

 

501(c)7

Description of Organization
Social and Recreation Clubs

General Nature of Activities
Pleasure, recreation, social activities

Application Form
IRS form 1024

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
No.

    Exception: An organization exempt under a Subsection of Code section 501 other than (c)(3), may establish a charitable fund, contributions to which are deductible. Such a fund must itself meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3) and the related notice requirements of section 508(a).
Return to top

 

501(c)8

Description of Organization
Fraternal Beneficiary Societies and Associations

General Nature of Activities
Lodge providing for payment of life, sickness, accident, or other benefits to members

Application Form
IRS form 1024

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
Yes, if for certain Sec. 501(c)(3) purposes.

Return to top

 

501(c)9

Description of Organization
Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Associations

General Nature of Activities
Providing for payment of life, sickness, accident or other benefits to members.

Application Form
IRS form 1024

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
No.

    Exception: An organization exempt under a Subsection of Code section 501 other than (c)(3), may establish a charitable fund, contributions to which are deductible. Such a fund must itself meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3) and the related notice requirements of section 508(a).
Return to top

 

501(c)10

Description of Organization
Domestic Fraternal Societies and Associations

General Nature of Activities
Lodge devoting its net earnings to charitable, fraternal, and other specified purposes. No life, sickness, or accident benefits to members.

Application Form
IRS form 1024

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
Yes, if for certain Sec. 501(c)(3) purposes.

Return to top

 

501(c)11

Description of Organization
Teachers’ Retirement Fund Associations

General Nature of Activities
Teachers association for payment of retirement benefits.

Application Form
No form required. Application is by letter to the address shown on IRS Form 8718. A copy of the organizing document should be attached and the letter should be signed by an officer.

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
No.

    Exception: An organization exempt under a Subsection of Code section 501 other than (c)(3), may establish a charitable fund, contributions to which are deductible. Such a fund must itself meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3) and the related notice requirements of section 508(a).
Return to top

 

501(c)12

Description of Organization
Benevolent Life Insurance Associations, Mutual Ditch or Irrigation Companies, Mutual Cooperative Telephone Companies, etc.

General Nature of Activities
Activities of a mutually beneficial nature similar to those implied by the description of class of organization.

Application Form
IRS form 1024

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
No.

    Exception: An organization exempt under a Subsection of Code section 501 other than (c)(3), may establish a charitable fund, contributions to which are deductible. Such a fund must itself meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3) and the related notice requirements of section 508(a).
Return to top

 

501(c)13

Description of Organization
Cemetery Companies

General Nature of Activities
Burials and incidental activities

Application Form
IRS form 1024

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
Yes, generally.

Return to top

 

501(c)14

Description of Organization
State Chartered Credit Unions, Mutual Reserve Funds

General Nature of Activities
Loans to members.

Application Form
No form required. Application is by letter to the address shown on IRS Form 8718. A copy of the organizing document should be attached and the letter should be signed by an officer.

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
No.

    Exception: An organization exempt under a Subsection of Code section 501 other than (c)(3), may establish a charitable fund, contributions to which are deductible. Such a fund must itself meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3) and the related notice requirements of section 508(a).
Return to top

 

501(c)15

Description of Organization
Mutual Insurance Companies or Associations

General Nature of Activities
Providing insurance to members substantially at cost.

Application Form
IRS form 1024

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
No.

    Exception: An organization exempt under a Subsection of Code section 501 other than (c)(3), may establish a charitable fund, contributions to which are deductible. Such a fund must itself meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3) and the related notice requirements of section 508(a).
Return to top

 

501(c)16

Description of Organization
Cooperative Organizations to Finance Crop Operations

General Nature of Activities
Financing crop operations in conjunction with activities of a marketing or purchasing association.

Application Form
No form required. Application is by letter to the address shown on IRS Form 8718. A copy of the organizing document should be attached and the letter should be signed by an officer.

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
No.

    Exception: An organization exempt under a Subsection of Code section 501 other than (c)(3), may establish a charitable fund, contributions to which are deductible. Such a fund must itself meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3) and the related notice requirements of section 508(a).
Return to top

 

501(c)17

Description of Organization
Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Trusts

General Nature of Activities
Provides for payment of supplemental unemployment compensation benefits.

Application Form
IRS form 1024

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
No.

    Exception: An organization exempt under a Subsection of Code section 501 other than (c)(3), may establish a charitable fund, contributions to which are deductible. Such a fund must itself meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3) and the related notice requirements of section 508(a).
Return to top

 

501(c)18

Description of Organization
Employee Funded Pension Trust (created before June 25, 1959)

General Nature of Activities
Payment of benefits under a pension plan funded by employees.

Application Form
No form required. Application is by letter to the address shown on IRS Form 8718. A copy of the organizing document should be attached and the letter should be signed by an officer.

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
No.

    Exception: An organization exempt under a Subsection of Code section 501 other than (c)(3), may establish a charitable fund, contributions to which are deductible. Such a fund must itself meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3) and the related notice requirements of section 508(a).
Return to top

 

501(c)19

Description of Organization
Post or Organization of Past or Present Members of the Armed Forces

General Nature of Activities
Activities implied by nature of organization.

Application Form
IRS form 1024

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
No, generally.

    Exception:Contributions to these organizations are deductible only if 90% or more of the organization’s members are war veterans.
Return to top

 

501(c)20

Description of Organization
Group Legal Services Plan Organizations

General Nature of Activities
N/A

Application Form
N/A

Annual return required to be filed
N/A

Contributions Allowable
N/A

Return to top

 

501(c)21

Description of Organization
Black Lung Benefits Trust

General Nature of Activities
Funded by coal mine operators to satisfy their liability for disability or death due to black lung diseases.

Application Form
No form required. Application is by letter to the address shown on IRS Form 8718. A copy of the organizing document should be attached and the letter should be signed by an officer.

Annual return required to be filed
IRS form 990-BL.

Contributions Allowable
No. Deductible as a business expense to the extent allowed by Code section 192.

Return to top

 

501(c)22

Description of Organization
Withdrawal Liability Payment Fund

General Nature of Activities
To provide funds to meet the liability of employers withdrawing from a multi-employer pension fund.

Application Form
No form required. Application is by letter to the address shown on IRS Form 8718. A copy of the organizing document should be attached and the letter should be signed by an officer.

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
No. Deductible as a business expense to the extent allowed by Code section 194A.

Return to top

 

501(c)23

Description of Organization
Veterans Organization (created before 1880)

General Nature of Activities
To provide insurance and other benefits to veterans.

Application Form
No form required. Application is by letter to the address shown on IRS Form 8718. A copy of the organizing document should be attached and the letter should be signed by an officer.

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
No, generally.

    Exception: Contributions to these organizations are deductible only if 90% or more of the organization’s members are war veterans.
Return to top

 

501(c)25

Description of Organization
Title Holding Corporations or Trusts with Multiple Parents

General Nature of Activities
Holding title and paying income from property to 35 or fewer parents or beneficiaries.

Application Form
IRS form 1024

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
No.

Return to top

 

501(c)26

Description of Organization
State-Sponsored Organization Providing Health Coverage for High-Risk Individuals

General Nature of Activities
Provides health care coverage to high-risk individuals.

Application Form
No form required. Application is by letter to the address shown on IRS Form 8718. A copy of the organizing document should be attached and the letter should be signed by an officer.

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
No.

Return to top

 

501(c)27

Description of Organization
State-Sponsored Workers’ Compensation Reinsurance Organization

General Nature of Activities
Reimburses members for losses under workers’ compensation acts.

Application Form
No form required. Application is by letter to the address shown on IRS Form 8718. A copy of the organizing document should be attached and the letter should be signed by an officer.

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
No.

Return to top

 

501(d)

Description of Organization
Religious and Apostolic Associations

General Nature of Activities
Regular business activities. Communal religious community.

Application Form
No form required. Application is by letter to the address shown on IRS Form 8718. A copy of the organizing document should be attached and the letter should be signed by an officer.

Annual return required to be filed
1065. Although the organization files a partnership return, all distributions are deemed dividends. The members are not entitled to “pass-through” treatment of the organization’s income or expenses.

Contributions Allowable
No.

    Exception: An organization exempt under a Subsection of Code section 501 other than (c)(3), may establish a charitable fund, contributions to which are deductible. Such a fund must itself meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3) and the related notice requirements of section 508(a).
Return to top

 

501(e)

Description of Organization
Cooperative Hospital Service Organizations

General Nature of Activities
Performs cooperative services for hospitals.

Application Form
IRS form 1023

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
Yes.

Return to top

 

501(f)

Description of Organization
Cooperative Service Organizations of Operating Educational Organizations

General Nature of Activities
Performs collective investment services for educational organizations.

Application Form
IRS form 1023

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
Yes.

Return to top

 

501(k)

Description of Organization
Child Care Organizations

General Nature of Activities
Provides care for children.

Application Form
IRS form 1023

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
Yes.

Return to top

 

501(n)

Description of Organization
Charitable Risk Pools

General Nature of Activities
Pools certain insurance risks of 501(c)(3)

Application Form
IRS form 1023

Annual return required to be filed
990 or 990EZ

Contributions Allowable
Yes.

Return to top

 

521(a)

Description of Organization
Farmers’ Cooperative Associations

General Nature of Activities
Cooperative marketing and purchasing for agricultural producers.

Application Form
IRS form 1028

Annual return required to be filed
1120-C

Contributions Allowable
No.

Return to top

 

Selected IRS Forms

Return to top