This website was designed to help the tens of thousands of organizations who prepare their own 501(c)(3) applications each year.  Here is a summary of the activities or circumstances that make a "Do-It-Yourself" application inappropriate.

1. If your organization is one of the following:

  • limited liability company or other less common type of organization
  • hospital, other medical care facility, or co-operative hospital service organization
  • ​health maintenance organization
  • college, university, or cooperative service organization for an operating educational organization
  • ​agricultural research organization described in § 170(b)(1)(A)(ix)
  • 509(a)(3) supporting organization
  • 509(a)(4) testing for public safety organization
  • private foundation or private operating foundation
  • home for the aged or handicapped
  • successor to a for-profit entity
  • charitable risk pool
  • ​donor advised fund
  • governmental unit described in section 170(c)(1) 
  • communal religious organization described in section 501(d)

2. If you plan to engage in any of the following activities:

  • candidate nights, voter registration, or publishing of voting records
  • tax exempt bond financing
  • low income housing
  • joint ventures
  • consumer credit counseling
  • downpayment assistance  
  • compensation through non-fixed payments
  • non-profit newspaper
  • ​carbon credits or carbon offsets

3. If your group is not different in any way from an organization described unfavorably in a Revenue Ruling.

4. If you are interested in obtaining a group ruling for your organization's affiliates.  (The IRS is not currently accepting applications for group rulings.)

5. If you have doubts about being able to prepare the "good faith and no prejudice to the interests of the government" arguments needed because your organization failed to file its application before the 27 month deadline.

6. If your organization does not easily meet the public support tests and you need help to exclude unusual grants, or make a "10% Facts & Circumstances" argument.

7. If your organization's exempt status was automatically revoked, you are seeking retroactive reinstatement, and your group must show reasonable cause for missed returns.

8. If you receive a difficult inquiry letter, or a denial letter, or if you suspect the agent handling your case is confused about the law, is trying to pull a fast one, or has simply goofed.

You might also consider having your application professionally prepared if you find you keep procrastinating about preparing it yourself.  In any event, it is almost always a good idea to have someone knowledgeable about Exempt Organizations tax law and application procedures review your application before you submit it to the IRS.  You may be able to find someone who can do this for you by contacting your local bar association, CPA society or United Way.

When To Call A Professional

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