Simplified California Exemption Process for Non-Charitable Nonprofits

Simplicity concept.

Effective January 1, 2014, Assembly Bill 1173 simplified the process for applying for California tax exemption by certain organizations that have a federal exemption determination letter. Non-charitable nonprofits, specifically those recognized by the IRS as exempt under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501(c)(4), (5), (6), and (7), are now permitted to file the short Form 3500A, previously used only by 501(c)(3) organizations. Form 3500A is an abbreviated two-pages, in comparison to the rather lengthy Form 3500 previously required.

Note that while it’s possible for 501(c)(4), (5), (6), or (7) organizations – social welfare organizations, labor organizations, business leagues (including trade and professional associations), and social clubs – to self-declare themselves as tax-exempt for federal income tax purposes without filing an application with the IRS, such organizations will remain taxable for California income/franchise tax purposes unless they obtain recognition of exemption from the Franchise Tax Board.

Read more about the Form 3500A here, and on the Franchise Tax Board website, here.