Verify 501(c)(3) Status

Grants Officers must verify the 501(c)(3) status of a U.S. public charity using the functionality built into Foundation Connect. This requires the organization’s EIN number in the FC organization record.

 Grants Officers can search the Guidestar website ( by organization name to find this information.

The Verify 501(c)(3) feature in Foundation Connect searches the IRS Business Master File (BMF) for the most current status of all tax -exempt organizations registered with the IRS. The IRS has specified in Revenue Procedure 2009-32 that grant makers can use BMF data to verify a grantee’s public charity classification under section 509(a)(1), (2), or (3). The IRS BMF is updated monthly and the most recent IRS BMF date is reflected in the Tax Status Verifications record, which is generated after the search has been completed.

The grantee organization’s tax status will determine how the grant should be structured, please see Equivalency Determination (ED), ER grants, Grants to For Profits, Grants to Unregistered Organizations Overseas below for more information and Organization Types by Tax Status in the appendix.

Sometimes organizations that are exempt under section 501(c)(3) and not private foundations under Section 509 (a) 1 - 170 (b) (1) (A) (i) do not have tax determination letters. Churches and other religious organizations are not required to obtain formal tax determinations, for example. GO should consult with Legal in these cases.


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