Most nonprofit organization’s seek 501c3 status from the IRS as it provides the most tax benefits. 501c3 nonprofits can apply for grants and provide tax deductible receipts to people who support the organization with donations. 501c3s are limited in their ability to lobby so if you want to do explicitly political work most of the time then another type of 501c would be appropriate. 501c4 organizations can participate in political campaigns and electoral politics to an unlimited extent, but donations made are not tax deductible.
We’ll cover the difference between public charity and private foundation 501c3 organizations in another post shortly so stay tuned.
These are a couple of good resources that may help clarify which type of nonprofit your organization is. If you’re still not sure, give us a call for your free 20 minute consultation at 800-928-4161.
IRS Tax Exempt Reference Chart: http://www.nonprofitlegalcenter.com/nonprofit-resources/tax-exempt-organization-chart.html
Common Nonprofit Definitions
501c3: Religious, Educational, Charitable, Scientific, Literary, Testing for Public Safety, National or International Amateur Sports Competitions, Prevention of Cruelty to Children or Animals Organizations.
Charitable contributions are tax deductible. Limited ability or restrictions to lobbying.
501c4: Civic Leagues, Social Welfare Organizations, and Local Associations of Employees.
Charitable contributions are NOT tax deductible. Unlimited ability to lobby for legislation and the ability to participate in political campaigns and elections.