Understandably, this is one question that we hear over and over again from startup nonprofit organizations looking for 501c3 tax exemption from the IRS. Just yesterday I heard from a woman who told me that an online startup “service” had told her it was possible to have her 501c3 application successfully processed within 30 days. Of course, now she wanted to know if we could do it even faster.

The truth is, the IRS can take between 2-5 months to review your 501c3 application packet, depending on a number of circumstances. These include the time of year, type and classification of the nonprofit organization, and complexity of your application. Most recently, our clients have received their Letters of Determination within 2-3 months, a relatively quick response compared to previous years. While a 30 day response is not totally out of the question, especially for churches or nonprofit organizations with no paid employees, such a turnaround is extremely rare.

Waiting on 501c3 Application

So, how long will it take for the IRS to respond to your 501c3 application? Anywhere from 2-5 months is pretty common, although at the time of this writing, 2-3 months is more likely.