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Nonprofit Law/verifying Calif 501c3 non-profit


QUESTION: I am trying to verify the legitimacy of an animal rescue 501c3 based in Antoich, CA called Last Chance Critter Rescue.

Their website has no useful info:

The only public record I could find for them is here:

I could not find anything them listed on the CA Attorney General website.

Is there a way to look them up on the IRS website?

Anything else I can check? They are not on the BBB or Guidestar websites either.

ANSWER: is the place aka to search the IRS web site.  I used the word Critter and used the state dropdown menu to choose CA and the results did not have their organization. Screenshot

I then went to the link California business filings and see that they filed for Domestic Nonprofit incorporation only 1 year ago. They may have filed for IRS 501(c)(3) organization status but the Form 1023 application for exemption is still pending.  You can ask them for a copy of their filings. The exempt organization is required, upon request to provide copies
of the exemption application that it filed with the IRS along with supporting documents required with those applications, which includes articles of incorporation and bylaws as they existed at the time the exemption application was filed with the IRS. and also forms 990

See the IRS Publication 557 "Tax Exempt Status for Your Organization" at in the right column on p age 25 under "Organizations Not Required to File Form 1023" discusses who does not need to file and among those is "Any organization (other than a private foundation) normally having annual gross receipts of not more than $5,000.  These organizations are exempt automatically if they meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3)."

The organization must have certain IRS-mandated clauses in the organizational document even if your organization is not required to apply for federal exemption but if you want the benefits of being an exempt organization. See, starting in the middle column of page 26 of Publication 557  under "Organizational Test". Samples start on page 77 and the IRS discusses some of the
textual requirements for the organizational document starting in the middle of page 26 of their Publication 557 and going through the paragraphs under the heading "Dedication and Distribution of Assets" on page 27.

Also it must operate as a 501(c)(3) organization (see that Publication 557 for the general rules).

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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QUESTION: After further investigation this organization's behavior is extremely suspicious to the point where I'm 99.9% sure they are partially or completely fraudulent. I have reported them to:

Vistaprint (their website host)
Better Business Bureau
Calif. Attorney General
Calif. Franchise Tax Board

Any agencies I might be missing?

No, I don't know of any others except for your local media.

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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