Nonprofit Law/501(c)(3)?


What category of 501(c) would a Garden  Club fall under if it:

Had annual income of less than 10,000
Was primarily a social group
Had a guest speaker monthly (educational lectures)to which the public was invited
Had a substantial fundraiser annually (selling plants to members and the public) from which at least 1/3 of the profits went to scholarships for students in horticulture

501(c)(3)? or (4)? or (5)? or  (7)???

Thank you for your courtesy.

A 501(c)(3) organization must be primarily charitable, educational or religious and you explained that the group is primarily a social group and, therefore, the only possibility left would be a 501(c)(7) recreational or social organizations qualification and the IRS writes about such organization at
Please note that donations to such organizations are not deductible by the donors. on page 72 - last column "Contributions Deductible" - No

Also such an organization may be granted and be able to maintain exempt status easily only if it does not receive more than 35% of its gross receipts from outside its membership and receives no more than 15% of its gross receipts from nonmember use of club facilities.  

Harvey Mechanic, Attorney at Law -

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.  

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Harvey Mechanic


DO NOT GIVE ME INFORMATION THAT YOU WANT KEPT CONFIDENTIAL. I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.


I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.


B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.

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