Nonprofit Law/Splitting a 501c3


We have a 501c3 for our animal rescue group.  Mid 2012 we were awarded a contract to manage a local city animal shelter.  The books for the dog rescue and the shelter are kept totally separate.  Each entity has its own bank account.  But both entities are currently using the same 501c3.  Our concern is filing the non profit tax returns.  We would like to file each entity separately since these documents are public record.  Is it possible to split the 501c3 and file separate returns?  If yes, how would we go about doing this?

I am not sure what you mean by "currently using the same 501c3, but, if you mean that both bank accounts are under the same EIN (Employer Identification Number, also known as the taxpayer identification number), which is the EIN of the 501(c)(3) organization, then you would need to file the Form 990 series in one return.

Links to Form 990/990-EZ/990-N and instructions are available at
and explains which 990 series return to file.

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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