There are two ways to be formally recognized as tax exempt by the federal IRS. One is to apply directly by filing a Form 1023/1024, the Application for Recognition of Exemption, and receiving a letter of determination. The other way is to be included under the group ruling of another tax-exempt organization.

Please note: An Employer Identification Number (EIN) does not grant tax-exemption to nonprofit organizations. Having an EIN does not disqualify your organization from being included in a group exemption, nor will inclusion in a group exemption affect the ability of your organization to be listed separately or receive donations directly.

Check out our How to Get Listed FAQs for more information!

The documentation GuideStar needs to include your organization will depend on whether it is independently determined or under a group ruling. Please send the requirements applicable to your organization (described below) to for review.

Required Documents

Independently determined

If your organization has filed for exemption independently via IRS Form 1023/1024, please send us the following document:

  • IRS letter of determination (all pages) issued by the IRS no more than six months ago - No alternative documents are acceptable.


Under a group ruling

If your organization is under the group ruling of a parent organization, please provide the two (2) documents described below:

  1. A copy of a federal IRS-issued document with the name and EIN of your organization printed on it. Federal IRS EIN Issuance, EIN Verification letters, or IRS correspondence are all acceptable documents. Self-certifying documents will not be accepted.


  2. A copy of the letter from the parent organization verifying your inclusion as a subordinate in good standing under its 501(c) group exemption with the IRS. Letter must fit the following specifications:

    • Includes the name, address, and EIN of your organization

    • Signed by an authorized representative of the parent organization, including the signers printed name and title

    • Must be dated no older than six months at the time of submission to GuideStar.

    • Please provide in non-editable PDF format. Word documents are not acceptable. Links to web documents are not acceptable

We understand that not all organizations are required by the IRS to have this documentation. At this time, however, this is the only documentation GuideStar will accept.

You may email the requested information to us at Once received, we will review the documents and follow up as quickly as possible. You will be notified of your application's status after review. We may request further documentation.

If approved, GuideStar imports new nonprofit organizations each Monday morning unless stated otherwise. If you receive an approval notification, please visit after 3:00 PM EST the following Monday to view your organization's listing.

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