Information Resources for Charities and Nonprofits

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Melaney:

Hi, I'm Melaney Partner,

Tim:

I'm Tim Christmann. We work for the IRS Exempt Organizations Office and we're here to talk about the resources the IRS has to help charities and nonprofits.

Running a non-profit or tax exempt organization is a demanding job. For most of you who run or work for these organizations, dealing with tax-related issues is not on the top of your to-do list.

Doing your charitable work is most important. But knowing about the tax-related requirements for nonprofits is important. Sometimes it can mean the difference between keeping and losing your federal tax-exempt status.

Melaney:

Our job is to help the tax-exempt community navigate the information, rules and regulations and help organizations understand their tax responsibilities. We try to break down the information into more understandable segments we accomplish this through different products to accomplish this, such as:

Our educational website, StayExempt.irs.gov.

  • Various online webinars
  • The EO Update electronic newsletter.
  • The charities on-line search tool called EO Select Check .
  • Our live workshops for Small and Medium-sized 501 (c)(3) organizations
  • Educational Services to nonprofits
  • And our IRS.gov homepage

Tim:

People who use the Internet for tax information are probably most familiar with the IRS homepage, at www.irs.gov. The IRS homepage has wide-ranging information for individuals, government entities, tax professionals, and businesses. But if you're interested mainly in tax-exempt organizations it links to the Exempt Organization's Charities & Non-Profits homepage at www.irs.gov/charities. That page is currently divided into headlines and new or important developments at the top of the page, followed by categories, based on the type of information most visitors want.

Melaney:

Another useful resource is our educational website called StayExempt. You can find it by entering StayExempt.IRS.gov into your Web browser or, if you're on the Charities & Non-Profit page clicking on StayExempt.IRS.gov.

StayExempt offers online courses about how to apply for exemption, how to keep your tax-exempt status intact - and it also answers questions that more seasoned charities may have.

The site includes a virtual workshop on EO Tax Basics, multimedia mini-courses on topics of interest to charities and nonprofits, as well as a resource library and links to IRS forms, publications, and notices.

Currently, StayExempt has mini courses ranging from very basic topics, such as Navigating EO Resources, to much more in depth technical topics such as the courses on the Redesigned Form 990. There are also more sophisticated topics, such as The Wonderful World of Foundation Classification.

Tim:

EO creates several webinars each year on topics of interest to exempt organizations. For example, the webinar Do's and Don'ts for Churches and Religious Organizations was presented on July 25, 2012 and covered

  • How to apply for tax-exempt status…
  • The do's and don'ts of maintaining your tax-exempt status…
  • Special rules for compensation of ministers.

We also have a webinar, Starting off Right: What New 501(c)(3) Organizations Need to Know for new nonprofits or those looking for the basics on starting a nonprofit.

Webinars are an effective way to educate thousands of people in the tax-exempt community each year about issues important to them. And although we want as many people as possible to register for the live webinars, we know how busy you are. For that reason, all IRS webinars - including EO presentations - are archived on the IRS Video Portal.

The IRS Video Portal contains scores of video and audio presentations on topics of interest to small businesses, individuals and tax professionals. To find those of interest to non-profits, click the nonprofits tab.

You'll find video clips of tax topics, archived versions of live panel discussions and webinars - including all EO webinars. You can find the IRS Video Portal by going to irsvideos.gov.

Melaney:

Although webinars and the IRS video portal are important in communicating useful educational information topics, people sometimes prefer face-to-face communications. That's one of the reasons the EO workshops are so successful.

These one-day workshops for small and medium-sized 501(c)(3) organizations are schedule in cooperation with academic institutions every year. The workshops, presented by experienced IRS Exempt Organizations specialists, explain what 501(c)(3) entities must do to keep their tax-exempt status and comply with tax obligations. These introductory workshops are designed for administrators, volunteers and representatives of small and mid-sized organizations who are responsible for tax law compliance. Exempt Organizations has conducted one-day workshops for years. But now academic institutions are acting as hosts for all of our workshops. If you live near one of the workshop locations, please attend and encourage others that may benefit.

Check the Calendar of Events as more workshops are being planned. Also, if you're affiliated with a college or university with an interest in hosting a workshop or two, please call 202-283-8946 for information. EO is always looking for new locations.

Tim:

In addition to workshops and webinars, many groups submit requests for a speaker to talk about specific topics of interest at outreach events. In fact, each year EO responds to approximately 300 requests for EO speakers across the country to talk on a wide-range of topics.

If you want an EO speaker for a large group - 50 - or more people or at least 25 organizations - we can arrange to have a trained local IRS EO representative speak to you. If we do not have someone local - and our representative has to travel - we require about 100 participants or at least 75 exempt organizations. We can only take requests from a nonprofit organization or government entity.

If you want an EO speaker, send an e-mail request with your organization's name, and the name and phone number of the person we should contact, and desired speaking date to tege.eo.ceo@irs.gov.

A member of our team will contact you about the request.

Melaney:

As you explore the Charities & Non-Profits homepage, you'll be interested in the "Calendar of Events" page. It gives information about our scheduled events of interest to charities and nonprofits including -Webinars and phone forums -Workshops for Small and Medium-Sized 501 (c)(3) Exempt Organizations -Conferences presented or sponsored by the IRS -And IRS Nationwide Tax Forums

Often you can register for events directly from the Calendar.

Tim:

If you want to keep up with the latest tax-related developments for tax-exempt organizations, you can subscribe to EO Update, our periodic electronic newsletter. It's useful to tax professionals who represent tax-exempt organizations. But it's also valuable to employees and volunteers who run the business side of the organization and the organization's programs.

Over the past several years, the EO Update has become quite popular- and now has close to 200,000 subscribers.

Signing up for the EO Update is easy. Go to the Charities & Non-Profits webpage and look for EO Update. You can subscribe and read archived issues.

Melaney:

One of the main reasons people come to the Charities and nonprofits page is to search for a charity. Exempt Organizations has a new on-line search application on this page called EO Select Check.

EO Select Check is a one-stop site to search, sort, select, and check information on.

-990-N, e-Postcard filers and filings -Organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions.

This is also referred to as Publication 78 data and organizations that have had their tax-exempt status automatically revoked.

Tim:

Another useful resource is the Life Cycle pages.

We've broken down the different types of exempt organizations - private foundations, public charities, social welfare organizations, and others - to show what they should do at the five major life stages of their organization.

  • Starting Out
  • Applying for Exemption
  • Required Filings
  • Ongoing Compliance
  • Significant Events

Each of these stages has links to other places on IRS.gov with explanations of what's important for the organization to know at that point in its life cycle.

EO resources also include a site that addresses Frequently Asked Questions for tax-exempt organizations.

These FAQs include:

  • Applying for tax exemption
  • Annual reporting requirements for exempt organizations
  • Issues of interest to the general public about exempt organizations
  • Operating as an exempt organization
  • And many more…

Melaney:

As we've added more information to our web site over the years, it's become more difficult to find specific information. So, we created the A-Z Site Index to make things a little easier. We're constantly updating it. And sometimes it's a good place to start if you new to the Charities and Nonprofits page.

That's all we have to say right now. I hope we've helped you learn a little more about what IRS has available to help your organization stay exempt.

If you have any comments on how we can improve our Charities and Nonprofits pages, you can email us at tege.eo.ceo@irs.gov.