How Much Does it Cost to File for 501c3 Tax Exemption

501c3 Application Filing Cost

How much does it cost to file for 501c3 tax exemption?  That depends on which IRS form you use to file, and you have two options.  Let’s take a look at your different application options:

Option One: IRS Form 1023-EZIf you are NOT a church, a school, a hospital, a foreign organization, or a medical research organization, and if your total projected revenue (gross receipts) is less than $50,000 per year, then there’s a good chance you will qualify for 501c3 tax exemption using IRS Form 1023-EZ.  IRS Form 1023-EZ is a shorter and less expensive option for startup nonprofit organizations, and the IRS User Fee is only $275 (as of March, 2018).  The IRS estimates less than 20 hours of total preparation time for completing this application, as opposed to 100+ hours for completing the traditional IRS Form 1023.  Also, the turn around time for IRS approval is faster with the Form 1023-EZ than when filing the longer  IRS Form 1023.

Give us a call at 800.268.4388 and we’ll be glad to walk you through the process, answering your questions and helping you get set up quickly and affordably.

Option Two: IRS Form 1023 – IRS Form 1023 is the traditional application method that many new organizations must file with the IRS to obtain their 501c3 tax exempt status.  There are two parts to the cost:

First, there is the required IRS Form 1023 User Fee, which is now $600 (as of March, 2018) regardless of your organization’s projected future income. This application fee is made online as part of your application to the United States Treasury and submitted as part of your 501c3 application packet. This User Fee payment is non-refundable.

Second, there is the cost of hiring an experienced advisor or professional to prepare your 501c3 application.  This is what we do at Nonprofit Elite, and we are very good at it.  Call 800-268-4388 if you need help.

Or, you have other options:

(a)   Do the work yourself and pay nothing.  Although completing IRS Form 1023 is possible for you to do on your own, it will require many hours of research, writing, and the risk of making mistakes is high. Even the IRS projects 100+ hours of preparation time for a first-time applicant.  If you do decide to prepare this IRS Form 1023 on your own, we strongly recommend that you allow Nonprofit Elite to review your final application the same way the IRS will, so that you can be assured of success.  Yes, we do charge a fee for our IRS Form 1023 Review Service, but it is well worth the peace-of-mind to know that your 501c3 application will be approved.  We always guarantee our work.

(b)   Use a CPA or attorney.  CPA’s and attorneys who specialize in nonprofit organizations routinely charge $2,500–$5,000 for preparation of IRS Form 1023 applications for small organizations, and $6,000-$15,000 for more complex ventures.  We know this because many of them outsource their nonprofit work directly to us! (Formation documents and IRS Form 1023 Applications)  Instead of paying these high prices, give us a call (800.268.4388) and achieve the same results in less time and for less money!

(c)   Online, template-based services.  With a quick online search you’re sure to find published fees as low as $400-$600 (think Legal Zoom or similar type services).  Just be careful to read the fine print and ask enough questions to make certain that you’re getting exactly what you need.  Often these “discounted” fees are for document preparation only and do not include the additional work of editing formation documents (often required) or responding to IRS follow-up inquiries down the road.  Also, many of these companies send you long questionnaires so that you’re basically filling out the forms yourself, and then you’re to blame if something goes wrong.  Too often the initial promise of a $500 preparation fee ends up at three times that amount with a lot more extra time and frustration on your part.

Of course, we believe your very best option for obtaining 501c3 tax exempt status quickly and efficiently is to partner with Nonprofit Elite.  If you choose to work with us, we’ll take on full responsibility for the success of your 501c3 application, and we’re almost always able to do it for less than half of what you’ve already been quoted.  We provide both startup consultation and document preparation hand-in-hand, so that you understand exactly what’s going on every step of the way.  Most important is the peace-of-mind we provide, backed by our 100% approval rate with the IRS and full money-back guarantee.

Here’s what’s included in the cost for our 501c3 application services:

— Prepare or review your state Articles of Incorporation (state formation documents) for appropriate purpose, dissolution, and nonprofit clauses.  These important paragraphs in your formation documents are often left out, even by attorneys and CPAs, and this is the number one reason why so many IRS Form 1023’s are rejected by the IRS!

— Prepare or review your organizational Bylaws for any IRS red flags.  Bylaws are your organization’s governing document and are necessary for filing for federal tax exempt status.

— Obtain your Employee Identification Number (Federal Tax Identification Number), if needed.

— Prepare IRS Form 1023-EZ or IRS Form 1023 – Application for Recognition of Exemption, including all schedules, financial projections, narratives, and attachments.

— Continue working on your behalf, including IRS follow-up correspondence, until you have received your successful Letter of Determination from the IRS granting your organization 501c3 tax exempt status.

If you have additional questions about the cost of your 501c3 application or would like to know more about Nonprofit Elite and the services we provide, please contact us today.  We are easily accessible (800.268.4388) and always glad to help!

  1. 1.CPA’s and attorneys who specialize in nonprofit work routinely charge $1,500 – $3,500 for preparation of IRS Form 1023 for small organizations, according to your article…what is an estimate of what your company’s fee for providing your comprehensive 100% approval rate and full money-back guaranteed package….

    2. Does that fee include the actual incorporation of the non-profit

    3. Are there any other hidden fees…our organization is small anticipated income over the next 3 years will exceed $10,000 assuming that we are successful

    • Hello Bill, I am trying to reinstate my 501(c)3 non profit charity. No income since it was formed. My Charity is Kids Need Help, Inc. I was told by the IRS that I could do a 1023EZ form which I submitted on two occasions. I was turned down both time because I was over the 15 month threshold. My reason for revocation was because I did not fill out the yearly 990-N tax forms. I have most of the 1023 forms filled out and need someone with experience to check out my 1023 forms before I submit them to the IRS. What is you cost to do this?

      • I to have similar questions like bills but I haven’t tried to refile yet but need cost..

      • I too have a similar situation and question.

  2. Bill, I am sending you an email with answers to your questions. -BW

    • I also have similar questions as Bill. We are just a group of 3 whose purpose is to help the homeless and those in need. We don’t anticipate ever having more than $1,000… therefore knowing the all of the fees and being able to afford them is critical.

      Thank you for your time

    • Can you Share the answer to Bills questions with me as well?

    • Hi Bill,

      I have similar questions, can you also send the respond to my email

      Thank you,

      • Hello Bill

        I know it’s been a while but if you could forward me the answers from nonprofitelite, I’d appreciate it.

    • Why would you not post it for everyone to read? It makes me suspicious when you won’t come
      Out and say your price. I’m interested in your service but want to know upfront how mich this will cost me.

      • Stop trying to file back to Incorporation unless you file 1023 paper with 3 years of 990. Us the online 1023-EZ just check reinstatement.

      • I see this a lot out there. It should just be straight forward.

  3. I have heard 2 sides of the story some people say you can collect donations and/or gifts to pay for your 501c(3) filing fee and some say it’s illegal. I am very confused! Can anyone clear that up?

    • Very good question. As long as you file your organization’s IRS F1023 Application within 27 months of the date of your incorporation, and as long as your application is approved by the IRS, then your approval as an exempt organization is retroactive back to the date of your incorporation. Practically, this means that you may indeed begin operating as a tax exempt organization prior to receiving your Letter of Determination, including making and accepting tax-deductible donations. So yes, you are able to make/accept donation to your organization and then use those funds to pay for your startup filings, you just don’t have any proof of status to show people.

      However, you must follow through with obtaining your successful IRS Letter of Determination within 27 months, or else your your exemption goes away (actually it never happened to begin with), leaving you with the responsibility of making the appropriate changes to all of your preceeding accounting records. Hope this helps!

      • This is very helpful.

        What does retroactive really mean in terms of past income tax? Our organization was set up as a NYS nonprofit C corp in 2016, but because we don’t have 501(c)(3) we paid income tax. Does the retroactive nature mean we could be entitled to a rebate?
        Thank you.

        • You can only retroactive is you have only 15 months to file for reinstatement in order to be recognized from date of Incorporation. The reinstatement option will set you 501c3 determination to date of the reinstatement 1023-EZ application

    • I would like the answer . Is it illegal for people to give donations to get money to get your 5013c?

  4. I run a youth football and cheerleading program and I am very confused as to how this process works and what your fees would be to complete the application process. Could you please let me know? The main problem I have a hard time understanding is if an organization has a revenue of $10,000. Since we are a non-profit youth organization everything goes right back into the program for the kids. Does this count as revenue?

    • The short answer is yes…any money that comes in to your organization, whether it’s through donations or through your own programs, is considered revenue. Send us an email at with your contact information (or call) and we’ll get in touch with you to help!

    • Yes it does income is considered contributions, donations (public or private) inclusive of fundraisers.

  5. same questions as bill Hunter
    Addition What are state fees

    • State fees for incorporation vary from state to state and can range from $25 to $100. Email us at and we can answer your questions more specifically.

  6. Hello. I have my tax id already. i need help with everything else. how much will that cost me?

    • Hi Regina…Glad to help. Send us an email at or call 817.726.3873 and we’ll be happy to answer your specific questions.

      • je vis en République démocratique du Congo Kinshasa, je veux que mon ONG soit enregistrée avec le statut IRS 501 que faire, est il possible ? où commencer et terminer, les exigences
        Voici mon adresse email

      • is there a reason that you hesitate to give a range of what your services cost. Obviously it’s more for a $10 million nonprofit than a $10,000 nonprofit but surely you have a percentage fee or a minimum fee that you could share instead of having people contact you privately to generate business as opposed to share helpful information on the Internet which is what the website like this is designed for instead of giving personal contacts watch stalking people off of Facebook.

        Again, if in your case if the shoe does not fit, share your prices and please don’t wear the shoe. Thank you

  7. Will you lease donate your services free of charge to my organization?

  8. Hello Tami, Please give us a call at 800-268-4388 and we can discuss your situation in more detail. Looking forward to hearing more about your plans.

    Kind regards, Ben

  9. Hello,
    I would like to start a private family charitable foundation. Don’t have the funds to fund it yet, but expect to soon. How do I do this.

    • Hello Helen, Thanks for commenting! We work with many private family charitable foundations, and would be glad to help you get set up when the time is right. Please contact us at 800-268-4388 or and we can visit in more detail. Looking forward it! Ben

  10. hello, i have a question regarding tax exemption for a non-profit organization with a 501(c)(3) status.

    can a professional, such as yourself, make a tax exemption claim for your time spent helping a non-profit organization? for examples, if you were to normally charge 50$ an hour for your service and you were to spent 4 hours helping and advising a charititable organisation on tax related matters, will you then able to claim that you have donated $200 to the charity on your tax document for that year? of course the time that you spent were either recorded on a time sheet that is approved by the head of the organization, or through an itemized invoice that adequately justifies to the IRS should a question arises.

    I am writing a business plan for a non-profit organization that helps provide housing for those in need such as immigrants, abused victims, homeless, and non-violent criminals seeking redemption.

    i appreciate your advice and look forward to talking to you. have a nice day.

    kevin m.

    ps. i’ve only registered my website domain today and am still in the process of setting it up.

  11. Hello Kevin, Give us a call if you want to talk in more detail, but typically you can not deduct the value of your volunteered service, but you can deduct expenses incurred such as supplies — links to all the related forms and limitation information are available from the IRS website (Google search IRS Website and then use their search function) or IRS Publication 526.

    Hope this helps! Ben

  12. 1.CPA’s and attorneys who specialize in nonprofit work routinely charge $1,500 – $3,500 for preparation of IRS Form 1023 for small organizations, according to your article…what is an estimate of what your company’s fee for providing your comprehensive 100% approval rate and full money-back guaranteed package….

    2. Does that fee include the actual incorporation of the non-profit

    3. Are there any other hidden fees…
    We are just a group of 3 whose purpose is to help the homeless and those in need. We don’t anticipate ever having more than $1,000… therefore knowing the all of the fees and being able to afford them is critical.
    Thank you for your time

    • Hi Lauri,

      Please give us a call at the number at the top of our website and we can go over these details with you. Glad to help! Ben

  13. How long does it usually take for a filing to be approved? As you mentioned above, we are able to operate, but have 27 months from the date of incorporation to obtain 501c3 status. With that in mind, I’d like to get a head start on operations, but would like to give our donors their tax exempt forms sooner than later. Can you tell me how long I should tell my donors that the their tax forms will be in the mail?

  14. Hello Mar! If you’re working with us and end up filing the IRS Form 1023-EZ application then you can expect about a 3-6 week approval process depending on whether or not the IRS sends you a letter of inquiry to check on the legitimacy of your formation documents. If you file the long form 1023 application (traditional) then right now we’re seeing anywhere from 1-5 months for our clients approval…but usually on the shorter end of that spectrum. A lot of it depends on the circumstances of your organization’s current and planned activities. Hope this helps…give us a call or use our contact form if you would like to talk to someone in more detail. Always glad to help!

  15. Like to set up non profit

  16. Hello Ray, please contact us using the phone number at the top of this web page, or using the contact form and we’ll be happy to help!

    Kind regards, Ben

  17. Not knowing exactly what our revenue will be short-term or long-term, what issues arise from filling out the 1023-EZ form instead of the traditional form.

  18. Hi Cindy,

    If you’re just starting out then you’ll need to come up with actual projections for your first three years of operation. If those numbers are less than $10,000 per year then you will want to file the EZ Form. If you’re over that amount or if you don’t qualify for the EZ Form then you’ll need to file the traditional Form 1023. Give us a call on Monday and we can walk you through how to set your projections if you’re not really sure.

    Call us at 1-800-268-4388 and we’ll be glad to help!

  19. Can I apply for the 501c3 If it is just for me? Meaning I take in to my home cats/dogs. The cost is overwhelming for daily care and medical needs. Many people have said to go nonprofit.

    • Hello Robin,

      Yes, you can always start a nonprofit 501c3 organization for what you’re doing, but there are some additional steps you’ll need to take. For example, you will need a board of directors of at least 3 non-related people to help govern your organization, and there will be some start up costs as well, but if you’re planning to keep doing this for more than just a year or two than it might make sense. Give us a call at the number at the top of this page or email and we’ll be glad to walk you through your options.

      Hope this helps! Ben

  20. I need a 501 C3 I am starting an Domestic Violence Awareness Organization and i want to be able to later offer a safe house. I want the 501C3 so that we can have funds and contribute to housing people when they are in a domestic violence situation and want to leave.

  21. Hello Vernita,

    Thank you for your comment, and yes, we would love to talk with you in more detail and help with this important project. Give us a call at 800-268-4388 or email . We’ll walk you through all of your options and let you know how to move forward in the best way possible.


  22. My name is Elmer I have my 501c3 and 1023 completed I just need to know how and who do I register it with as well as the cost of the 501c3 and 1023 be paid for through an organization

  23. Hello Elmer, Please give us a call at 800-268-4388 and we can walk you through the process. Glad to help!

  24. Vincent here, Im disable and have a non profit. Only income that comes in is 0 or what I get ion my SSDI. Which is only less than 14K. I go to schools as a motivational guest speaker. Speaking AGAINST any illegal activity and bullyng so it will be easier for them to concrete on their EDUCATION. Can’t afford attorney or who ever to do it for me. Hard for over phone could I go in and do it with someone on 1 and 1?

    • Hello Vincent,
      Thanks for the post and glad to help! Where are you located? Is it possible to have a phone conversation first or do you need to meet in person? We can also send you information via email. Let us know what works best.

  25. I am looking to start a non-profit here in Nebraska. I have an LLC and tax Id already can you send me any information on what is required of me to accomplish this also what your fees would be

  26. Hi Tim, Glad to help! Please give us a call at (800) 268-4388 and we can walk you through your situation. Fees can vary depending on several circumstances so a phone call is best to get you an exact quote. Hope this helps!

  27. I want to form a non-profit entity for the sole purpose of providing family portraits and head shots to people with a need free of charge.

    I will be providing the photographic service and digital processing. Materials and prints have costs the the NP is to permit fundraising to cover those expenses.

    As a single individual, is this doable?

  28. Hi Bill,

    Yes, this is certainly possible with perhaps a few minor tweaks. Give us a call at (800)268-4388 and we can talk you through your options!

  29. My name is karen have my fb nonprofit for (Physically And Intellectually Challenged Individuals) in Ft Myers FL. Admin Domain set up .looking for llc n 501c to be set up .do you handle this area . Not much of an Income ..paying for Special Needs Dance event and getting Raffle together .. All this benefits Special Olympics..should I get lawyer ..can not afford .Facebook is Paici-nonprofit organization

  30. Hi Ben,

    This site has been very helpful and I will probably call to set arrange you guys to complete our 1023, but a question first. Once you have filed your 1023, is that the point that you can start to solicit donations? Of course we would be assuming that we would be approved, and clearly communicating that fact to those donating.

  31. Hi Fiona,

    Your organization may begin operating and raising funds as soon as you are formed at the state level. As long as you follow through with your 501c tax exempt application and are approved then your exempt status will be retroactive back to the date of your incorporation in your state. Hope this helps! Give us a call and we can get you started!

  32. I have an EIN number for profit company. Can I use same for nonprofit?

    • Hello Gail,

      No, you will need to incorporate a new “nonprofit” corporation in yoiur state, and then apply for a new EIN from the IRS that matches your new corporation. Please contact us if we can help!

  33. Hi,
    My family would like to start a nonprofit foundation dedicated to teaching trade skills and offering workshop space for our community. To do this, the foundation would need to own land. If there were residences on the property that were rented out, could the rental income be used to fund the nonprofit and help pay for the property? Would that rental income be tax exempt?

  34. Hello Galen,

    This is a complicated question that is difficult to answer without quite a bit more information and would fall under the topic of “Unrelated Business Income.” My suggestion is to first do a google search for this term and read as much about it as you can. You should be able to gain a clear picture of whether or not your planned activities and income would be tax exempt or not. Hope this helps!

  35. Hello, how are you?

    I am new to this whole non-profit thing. I wanted to do something to help all those in need, not one type of people in particular. I would like to help out orphans, foster children, senior citizens in nursing homes, homeless people on streets, women and children in shelters, etc.

    As you can see, it’s a wide range of different people and different needs. How can I set up a non-profit to benefit all of them?

    • Hello Thao,

      Yes, we can certainly help you define your mission while maintaining a broad scope of service. Please contact us using the phone number or contact form at the top of this page and we’ll be glad to assist!

  36. Need assistance with setting up nonprofit… At risk Youth Program helping with Reading.. Homework…
    Tutoring… Summer Program…and much more.. Safe Friendly Environment…

  37. Thank you for the chapters

  38. Any person essentially generate badly posts I might condition. This is the very first time that I frequented your internet-site webpage and up to currently? I surprised with the evaluation you’ve made to generate this unique posting incredible.. the license plate site Great action!

  39. I check today the irs website said If applying for recognition of exemption under section 501 or under section 521 from organizations other than pension, profit sharing, and stock bonus plans described in Internal Revenue Code section 401, the user fee is $600.

  40. Hi,

    We are a new non-profit with a mission to foster education. We are setup as a non-profit at the state level and got our EIN # less than a year ago and now need to get the Federal Tax Exempt status. We now would like to get Federal 501c(3) status so we can start fund raising. I see that you mention:

    1.CPA’s and attorneys who specialize in nonprofit work routinely charge $1,500 – $3,500 for preparation of IRS Form 1023 for small organizations, according to your article…what is an estimate of what your company’s fee for providing your comprehensive 100% approval rate and full money-back guaranteed package….

    2. Are there any other hidden fees?

    So what would be your price to help us file for 501c(3) and also answer subsequent IRS communications as applicable?


    • Hello Ayo,

      To give you a quote we need to talk to you and learn more details about your project. Please call 1-800-268-4388 at your convenience and we’ll be happy to help!

  41. Hello,

    You state, “The IRS estimates less than 20 hours of total preparation time for completing this application, as opposed to 100+ hours for completing the more established (traditional) IRS Form 1023.”

    Can you please identify the source of these numbers (20 hours verses 100+ hours) from the IRS website?

    Thank you!

  42. Dear Sir/Madam;
    We bring you greetings in His unmatched name.
    Well, we write to seek and/or appeal for an assistance that will
    enable to establish our Entity.
    We are a group of disabled females and other altruists who have
    resolved to establish a nonprofit Firm that shall cater and render
    services to women and children living with disabilities in States and
    This Firm shall be known as the Association of Disabled Females
    International (ADFI) USA
    We want you to help us establish this institution to secure IRS status…nonprofit entity.
    Currently we are located in Fargo, North Dakota.
    We would be very delighted were you to assist us in this endeavor
    While we are patiently await your favorable response, we beg to
    re-mean in Christ’s name.
    Faithfully yours
    Mrs. Esther V. Dennis
    Actg. Organizing Chair
    Contacts. 862 252 1141, 980 258 9066

  43. Hi, my question is? If you already have the 501 c3 paper but it already expired do we need to pay again to renew it.

    Thank you

  44. Hello,
    When doing projections, do we add potential grants?
    Also, when determining Revenue for and what type of 1023? Are potential grants considered as revenue?

  45. Do veteran’s organization have any special consideration for501c3?

  46. what are your fees to set everything up?

  47. How get online newbie from $9352 per day:

  48. Hello, I am planning to get a 501 (c) (3) in California. My main goal is to promote peace and build skills for conflict resolution nationally and internationally. I don’t know how much my funding will be in first year and so on. thus I need to know how much is the cost of the government fees and your service fee.

    And what does your package include. Ex, Bylaws, Articles of incorporation, minutes of organization, corporation’s record book and more. please provide detailed information.
    Tank you

  49. je vis en République démocratique du Congo Kinshasa, je veux que mon ONG soit enregistrée avec le statut IRS 501 que faire, est il possible ? où commencer et terminer, les exigences
    Voici mon adresse email

  50. i am newly get service of trademark registration in us platform in registration my business let me suggest about this website please

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