Two states, California and New Mexico, require nonprofits registering to solicit charitable contributions to submit a copy of Form 1023 or Form 1024 with their initial applications. Form 1023 is used to apply for 501(c)(3) status, while Form 1024 is used to apply for another type of federal exemption, such as 501(c)(4) or 501(c)(6).
Many nonprofits no longer have a copy of their original application for federal tax exemption because of the age of the organization or due to incomplete or unorganized records. However, to register successfully in California and New Mexico, most organizations must produce a copy of Form 1023 or 1024. Additionally, organizations may wish to supplement their records and restore missing copies of their original exemption application.
How to Request Copies of IRS Documents
The public can request copies of any organization’s original exemption application using Form 4506-A. The same form can be used to obtain copies of federal determination letters, letters affirming exempt status, Form 990 returns, and more.
To request a lost 1023 or 1024 application, an organization simply completes Form 4506-A and enters the reason for the request. For organizations needing the 1023 or 1024 to register in California or New Mexico, it can state that it is “Requesting a copy of Form 1023 (or 1024) for the purposes of state charitable solicitation registration.”
Form 4506-A can be mailed or faxed to the IRS at the information on the form’s instructions. Ordinarily, the IRS will mail the requested copy to the information designated on Form 4506-A within 60-90 days. However, due to the current constraints created by the COVID-19 pandemic, IRS processing time is around 6 months.
How to Proceed with State Registration During IRS Processing Time
Given the lengthy federal processing time, California and New Mexico offer a workaround to registering organizations. Both states accept Form 4506-A as a placeholder until the organization receives a response from the IRS. The organization can supplement its original registration application by submitting their Form 1023 and Form 1024 to the states upon receipt from the IRS.
Must Organizations Exempt from Charitable Registration File Form 1023 or 1024?
Currently, in California, organizations attempting to obtain exemption from registration must submit a copy of Form 1023 or 1024. In New Mexico, Form 1023 or 1024 is not required for organizations that pursue exemption from registration. However, should the organization not qualify for exemption, Form 1023 or 1024 may be required.
Are There Any Exceptions?
Yes, both of which apply to older organizations.
In New Mexico, organizations are generally not required to submit Form 1023 or 1024 if their determination ruling year precedes 1986.
Additionally, around 1949, the IRS destroyed its archives of exemption applications. Extremely old organizations with ruling years preceding 1949 simply cannot obtain copies from the IRS. In response to Form 4506-A submissions, the IRS returns a letter stating as such. Typically, reminding the California Registry of Charitable Trusts of this historical event will get them to approve the registration.