Applying for charity status

If your organization does not currently hold charity status, the information below can help you with the registration process.

Instructions for US organizations
US organizations must hold 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status granted by the IRS in order to qualify for the Google for Nonprofits program. The information below can help you apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.         

Fill in IRS Form 1023

To obtain a 501(c)(3) tax exemption, most 501(c)(3)s complete and file IRS Form 1023, “Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.” You can do this yourself or hire a lawyer, tax professional, or other knowledgeable person to help you. Be aware that this is a lengthy form that requires knowledge of program and financial information.

Look for help online

There are a number of online-searchable books, articles, and other resources that can help you complete the Form 1023 application. Use your browser to search for “Apply for 501(c)(3) Tax Status” or “How to Form a Nonprofit Corporation.” Look for resources that guide you line-by-line through the application.

How long does it take?

The IRS estimates it will take about 16 hours for you to complete the 1023 form. After you submit your application, be prepared to wait a few months to hear from the IRS. You may be asked to respond to additional written questions posed by an IRS application examiner. Or you may obtain your exemption without further questions, usually in about four to six months.

More information and resources are available at the IRS's website for Charities and Nonprofits.

Instructions for organizations in England and Wales
Organizations in England and Wales must register with the Charity Commission for England & Wales in order to qualify for the Google for Nonprofits program.       

How to register

The Charity Commission for England & Wales provides step by step instructions for applying for charity status on its website.

How long does it take?

According to the Charity Commission for England & Wales, it takes an average of 30 days to process an application for charity status. It can take longer if the application is incomplete or the Charity Commission examiner has questions about the information provided.

If your organization's Google for Nonprofits application was rejected for lack of charity status, you may be able to reapply after attaining charity status. See 'How to reapply' for more information.