Improves Charitable Search Website
Jeffrey S. Gold
IRS has recently revised its charities search capabilities
to better help taxpayers check an exempt
federal tax status. It encompasses three different databases
that were formerly found in separate locations.
the IRS’s revamped charity search engine at
and then select “Search for Charities” from
the menu on the left side of the screen. Click “Exempt
Organizations Select Check” in the middle of the
screen. You will see a screen similar to the one to the right.
just a picture of the actual screen. Click on it to go to
The first radio button, “Are eligible to receive tax-deductible
contributions” (which has been selected in the illustration
below), is the charities search that was previously found
here—the old “Pub 78” or “Yellow
Book” list of all deductible charities. The IRS updates
this list on the third Monday of each month. A useful new
feature in the revised search engine is the ability to search
for charities by EIN. This also gives you the ability to
find a charity’s EIN by searching for it by name. In
addition, the IRS has made the deductibility status code
more intuitive: For example, private foundations are “PF” rather
The second choice, “Were automatically revoked,” lists
organizations who have had their exemptions revoked for failing
to file for three consecutive years. This list is also updated
on the third Monday of the month.
The final choice, “Have filed Form
990-N (e-Postcard),” lists
organizations with yearly receipts under $50,000 that have
e-filed that simplified form rather than Form 990 or Form
990-EZ. This list is updated weekly. An e-Postcard requires
only the organization’s name, address, EIN, tax year,
detail for one officer, confirmation that receipts are under
the threshold, and (if applicable) its website address, any
DBAs, and a statement regarding the termination of the entity.
Private foundations, most supporting organizations and political
organizations are not eligible to file the e-Postcard.
Use quotation marks to limit searches. For
example RED CROSS will find all organizations that contain
either the string
of letters RED or CROSS in their name (over 10,000 results).
However “RED CROSS” will return only organization
that have that exact string of characters in their name (12
York attorney general’s Charities
Bureau Registry Search provides a tax-exempt organization’s New York
State registration number, address, registration type (7A,
EPTL, or Dual), and also has downloadable PDF copies of all
filings since 2006, including the New York annual filing
(which usually has a copy of the Federal annual return attached
to it), IRS tax-exempt application (Form 1023), IRS determination
letter and other documents. Pre-2006 documents on file with
the Charities Bureau are listed but cannot be downloaded.
New Jersey’s Division of Consumer Affairs
has a similar search engine in its Directory
of Registered Charities.
S. Gold is vice chair of the NYSSCPA New York, Multistate & Local