Tax exempt status

If you have submitted form 1023 to the IRS in order to get your 501.c.3 status you may be wondering how long it will take the government to process your application. The IRS website and the letter you most likely received confirming receipt of your application say that the application will be processed or assigned to an agent within 90 days.  But for many, the process can take much longer.

Here are some factors that can determine the time it takes to process your exempt application:
What to do...

  • Does your application have any errors? If so, to what extent? The IRS breaks this down into three categories.
    1. Those that can be approved immediately,
    2. Those that need minor additional information to be approved,
    3. Those that require development.
  • What time of year is it? (Holidays slow down everything).
  • How many applications has the IRS received? Currently, they are near record highs.
  • Is the Government fully funded or shut down? In the past year, our government has enacted across the board spending cuts (sequester) and shut down for several weeks.

How to Find out if your Application has been Assigned

There are two ways to get updates on your application:

  1. On the IRS website there is a page called “Where is my Exempt Application?” (If the link I just provided doesn’t work, just go to the IRS website and type in “where is my exemption application” in the search bar.) This page gives you information on the application process and also lets you know “The average date of pending applications”. Pending application dates are the dates the applications that are currently being process. If the pending application date is April 2013 then anyone who submitted an application in April is currently getting their application reviewed.
  2. If you want to talk directly to the IRS about your application, or if your application was submitted prior to the pending application date and you haven’t heard from an agent, then give their toll-free Customer Account Services a call at 877-829-5500. Be sure to have the following information:
  • The name and address of the organization on whose behalf the request was submitted;
  • The organization’s employer identification number (EIN);
  • The document locator number assigned to the request (if you have received one); and
  • A proper power of attorney submitted with the exemption application, unless you are an officer or director and legally authorized to represent the organization.


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