Form 1023-EZ Approvals Now Available to the Public

On February 22, 2017, the IRS announced that publicly available information from approved Form 1023-EZ tax-exemption applications is now available electronically for the first time.

The data on is available in spreadsheet format and includes information for approved applications beginning in mid-2014, when the 1023-EZ form was introduced, through 2016. The information will be updated quarterly, starting with the first quarter of calendar year 2017. The IRS’s Tax Exempt and Government Entities division approved more than 105,000 applications for exemption submitted on the Form 1023-EZ from 2014 through 2016.

You can download the data files by year at Exempt Organizations Form 1023-EZ Approvals.

By manipulating the spreadsheets, you can easily find all of the organizations whose Form 1023-EZ applications for recognition of exemption under 501(c)(3) were approved within a particular state, city, or zip code. You can also find information regarding their accounting years, directors/trustees/officers, and general exempt purposes. Such information may be particularly useful to grantmakers, donors, charity review organizations, and academics. But it also makes it easy to point out certain flaws in the Form 1023-EZ itself.

Professor Terri Lynn Helge, writing for the Nonprofit Law Prof Blog, found that 623 organizations using the word “church” in their names were among the approved organizations listed on the database, and of those, over 90% appeared to be churches. Churches are not permitted to apply for recognition of tax-exemption under 501(c)(3) using the Form 1023-EZ. As Professor Helge notes, “[t]his is one small example of the need to independently verify the applicant’s statements made on the Form 1023-EZ, or organizations which do not meet the requirements for exemption or the eligibility requirements to use Form 1023-EZ will inappropriately be approved for exemption.” See also Many tax-exempt charities don’t meet IRS requirements (AccountingToday, 2/6/17).