Qualifying for Public Charity Status

Most officers’ of publicly-supported organization have questions about their organizations’ public charity status. It can be complicated at first, but the Express990 Team has a few tricks to make it a bit easier. Obtaining public charity status is important to understand as well as how to maintain it. To avoid possible loss of public charity, it is important to monitor your organization’s financial support. Here are a few helpful ways to check if your organization qualifies as a public charity:

Identifying Current Status

To check your current status with the IRS, you can visit their EO Select Check page. You can also check to make sure your status hasn’t been revoked by going to the IRS Automatic Revocation of Exemption List. It’s a lot of links right off the bat, but trust me, it is sometimes much easier to check on your status through the IRS web page then having to call them directly. 
Public Charity Status

Public charity status is only applicable to 501(c)(3) organizations. To receive this status you would have filed a Form 1023. For more information on receiving 501(c)(3) status check out my blog – How Does An Organization Receive 501(c)(3) Status?

Public Support Test
The public support test is basically a fraction. It is the sum of the organization’s public support during the five year period over the sum of the organization total support during the five-year period. In simple words, the organization must have at least 33 and 1/3 public support to qualify as publicly supported.

Supporting Organization
Public support is classified as a gift, grants and contributions from government and public sources; gifts, grants and contributions from private sources, such as individuals, businesses and private foundation; government contracts to provide a service or maintain a facility for the benefit of the general public; qualified sponsorship payment; and membership fees for the organization general support.

Let’s Sum It Up
As long as organization receives more than 33 and third percent of it support from the items listed above, they will be considered a public charity. Don’t forget you can always check your status on the IRS EO Select Check page and you can make sure your status hasn’t been revoked through the IRS revocation list – linked above.  

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