Nonprofit Law/W-9


We are a non-profit church/corporation 501(c)(3) and are not required to file federal tax returns.
Is it a requirement that we complete and provide another church 501(c)(3) a completed W-9 form for a payment/donation that they will be making to our organization for a particular ministry?

No taxpayer (the IRS likes to be able to use the term "taxpayer" even for churches) is required under the law to complete a Form W-9 when requested by another taxpayer.  But I recommend that, unless we convince the other church that they don't need your EIN (Employer Identification Number - or Taxpayer Id number), you comply with their request so that they do not reconsider sending you funds.

The W-9 form with instructions is at:
and, on the right column of page 1 you see that, for certain purposes, the taxpayer may require the payee's EIN (Employer Identification Number, also known as the taxpayer identification
number). That is on page one in the first column under the heading "Purpose of Form":
--- Start of Excerpt ---
A person who is required to file an information return with the IRS must obtain your correct taxpayer identification number (TIN) to report, for example, income paid to you, real estate transactions,
mortgage interest you paid, acquisition or abandonment of secured property, cancellation of debt, or contributions you made to an IRA.
---End of Excerpt---

Unless that other church explains to me what information return they think that they are required to file with the IRS in reference to the payment/donation that they will be making to you, my opinion is that they do not have to file any information return for such a payment/donation and, therefore, do not need your EIN.

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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