The Internal Revenue Service maintains and tracks a list of tax-exempt organizations, including churches. By searching the IRS website, you can view a church’s tax-exempt status, including how far back the status has been in existence and if the church lost its tax-exempt status during any part of the year. You can call the IRS and speak to a representative if you do not have Internet access and the representative can look up the information or you can request to have a current list mailed to you.
1. Step 1
Log on the Internet and visit the IRS website at IRS.gov. Click on the “Charities & Non-Profits” tab along the top row of menu choices. Look along the left hand side of the page. In the top section, labeled “Charities & Non-Profits Topics” click on “Search for Charities.” A new page will open up and you'll notice the links in the middle of the new page leading to updated listings, additions and recent revocations.
2. Step 2
Click on the “Search Now” link located below the links in the middle of the page to access the listings of approved charities.
3. Step 3
Choose from the drop down menu under the “Organization” heading to tell the system how to search for your results. Put the cursor in the box directly to the right of this and type the name of the church or the major keywords. Click the button to the right of this to tell the system to display the results that either contain all of the keywords you typed in or just at least one of the words.
4. Step 4
Type the name of the city the church is located in the “Location” section. Choose the state from the drop down menu directly to the right, and then choose the country from the next drop down. “USA” is automatically listed for you. Leave the “Deductibility Code” section alone.
5. Step 5
Click “Search” and the results will display.
Some churches belong to or are owned by parent organizations that have a qualifying tax-exempt number. In these cases, the church you inquire about may be authorized under an umbrella of tax exemption and the church’s tax-exempt number would be the same as the parent organization's. It may be helpful to double-check this type of relationship with the church prior to verifying its tax-exempt status.
Call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040, if you do not have Internet access or if you prefer to speak to an operator. Once you get an IRS representative on the line, you can have them look up the church’s tax-exempt number. Representatives are available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. your local time with Alaska and Hawaii following Pacific time.