IRS Requires Electronic Filing of Revised Form 1023 for 501(c)(3) Applications
February 4, 2020
By Carlene Lowry and Soheila Shahidi
The IRS recently announced that Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, may only be filed electronically. Although the effective date of the change is January 31, 2020, there is a 90-day transition period during which the IRS will accept paper-filed copies of Form 1023 that are postmarked April 30, 2020 or earlier. Thus, applicants submitting paper versions of Form 1023 after January 31, 2020 should obtain a postmark stamp of the date the form was mailed. There is no current change in the amount of user fee required to submit Form 1023, but the user fee must be submitted along with the application through www.pay.gov. In addition, special procedures exist for requesting expedited handling of Form 1023.
The electronic version of Form 1023 is generally consistent with the prior paper version, but certain updates have been made. For example, a number of questions in the application have been reorganized to group them with similar questions (e.g., questions identifying directors have been moved to Part I, etc.). In addition, certain sections of the application now include additional inquiries that are helpful for organizations in determining proper procedures (e.g., a number of questions have been added in relation to foreign grantmaking procedures, etc.). Certain procedures have also been updated to reflect recent changes in procedural requirements (e.g., the instructions have been updated for a recent change permitting a school to publish its nondiscrimination policy electronically on its website, etc.).
The electronic version of Form 1023 is intended to prevent incorrect and/or incomplete applications from being submitted, as each required part of the application must be completed before moving on to the next part. The application has minimum character requirements in certain parts and will cross-check certain information within the application. Form 1023-EZ, a streamlined version of Form 1023, remains as an alternative for certain types of applicants, but must be filed electronically as well.
Note that the electronic filing requirement does not impact applications for organizations other than Code Section 501(c)(3) organizations (e.g., Form 1024, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(a), Form 1024-A, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code, etc.).