Form 1023 Paperwork, In Millions of Hours, 1986 to 2016

Source: U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Click image to learn more.

​​​​​​​​​​​​Real Help With Your 501(c)(3) Application

User Fee
The IRS has charged a non-refundable processing fee for exemption applications since 1987.  All applicants using the long-form 1023 pay $600.  Form 1023-EZ applicants pay $275.

Mailing Address
The Electronic Form 1023 is, of course, an on-line form, so no instructions for mailing are needed.  Your application is transmitted electronically to the IRS after payment of the User Fee.  The IRS will not issue an acknowledgement letter, but the software is supposed to generate an email acknowledgement (within minutes) when the User Fee is submitted.  Applicants should check bank or credit card records to make sure the User Fee payment appears. 

Be sure you make a copy of your Form 1023 for your records.

​IRS Processing Flow Chart

A version of this flow chart appeared on before Form 1023-EZ was released.  As of 11/2016, they still had not revised the flow chart to reflect the new form.  Flow Chart

Inquiry Letters

Since most small/simple organizations can now file Form 1023-EZ, long-form applicants are even more likely to receive an inquiry letter before the IRS makes a decision.  Here is a link to revised IRS inquiry letter procedures issued in late 2015.  (Hint: If you do not respond within their time limit, you may have to submit a new application.)  The IRS website provides sample inquiry questions in nearly two dozen categories.


During the fiscal year ended September 30, 2018, the IRS approved 91% of the 501(c)(3) applications received.  Only .05% of 501(c)(3) applications were denied.  The other nine percent or so includes miscellaneous case closures such as failure to provide additional information when requested, application withdrawn and status granted different from status applied for, but the IRS does not provide a detailed breakdown.

     Return to                             

I like the insider’s view

of the process.

IRS Processing

Prepare Your Own 501(c)(3) Application

By Sandy Deja © 2019  374 pages ISBN 978-1-7340724-0-2​


Money Back Guarantee
(available in pdf as well; send email request)

Buy Now