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Tax Exempt Organizations

Question: What does it mean to be tax exempt?

Answer: To be tax exempt means that an organization has been granted favorable taxation treatment by the government. Tax exempt status is usually extended to certain non-profit organizations.

Question: What is a non-profit organization?

Answer: A non-profit organization is one that does not conduct business solely for the purpose of making profits for the personal use of it's owners.

Question: What types of organizations are given tax exempt status?

Answer: Tax exempt status is given to many religious and charitable organizations.

  • Churches, synogogues, temples, and other religious institutions.
  • The Salvation Army, YWCA, YMCA, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the American Red Cross, Community funds and certain cancer and other medical societies and hospitals.
  • Research institutions, colleges, universities, and other schools that do not practice descrimination along racial, religious, or ethnic lines.
  • Certain military organizations.
  • Fraternal organizations, trade associations, and labor unions.

Questions: Are all incomes produced by non-profit organizations exempt from taxation?

Answer: Although an organization may have a tax exempt status, certain unrelated business earnings may be taxed if it is derived from sources not protected by it's non-profit status such as investment income and rental income arrangements.

Question: How do I find out if a particular organization is non-profit?

Answer: If an organization is non-profit, you can find it under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code, or call 1 (800) 829-1040 for information.

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