501C is a tax-exempt designation given to a company by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Section 501C, under the Internal Revenue Code, includes nonprofit corporations, community chests, charitable trusts and foundations. Although companies organized under section 501C are not required to pay taxes, they still have to apply for a federal tax ID number. The federal tax ID is also known as the Employer Identification Number (EIN), and is used by 501C organizations to file IRS Form 990 at the end of each tax year. A 501C organization’s EIN is a matter of public record.

Step 1.

Contact the organization directly, and set up a meeting. All 501C organizations are required by the IRS to make Form 990 (which contains the EIN) available for public inspection and photocopying at the organization’s office. Many organizations will also mail copies of Form 990 for a fee after receipt of a written request by mail.

Step 2.

Mail Form 4506-A to the IRS to request a photocopy of an organization’s Form 990. The IRS will mail copies of filings from the past three years directly to you, which is convenient if you are unable to physically visit the organization’s offices or pay a fee to have a photocopy of Form 990 mailed to you.

Step 3.

Call the IRS business help desk if you are searching for your own organization’s EIN. Obtain the EIN immediately over the phone by providing information that proves you are an officer or legal representative of the organization. The business help desk number is (800) 829-4933.

Step 4.

Check the GuideStar database. GuideStar provides information and forms, including Form 990, for over 1.8 million nonprofit organizations. The database is free for public use.