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Nonprofit Law/Finding out a non-profits Tax ID number


Hello Harvey,
I am trying to verify a non-profits status as an exempt organization.
So far the places that say I can use their data base (Guidestar, specifically) has come up with nothing.  I have the name and city (LA).
Do you know a good data base for verifying a group's non-profit status?
Thanks so much,
Nancy Omeara

Try going to which is an IRS source for information about organizations that presently have exempt status recognized by the IRS. You would need to click on the state of California  and then click on the csv file depending upon the first letter of the name of the organization.

If that brings nothing, note that 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)."

Therefore, many nonprofits will not be included on any public database.  That would also be the situation if the organization has applied for federal exemption determination with the IRS but has not yet received the IRS determination.

However, if the organization has already applied for exemption with the IRS, it is obligated to provide to you, upon request a copy of that application - and that application would include the organization's Tax ID number.  I don't know what your reason is for trying to verify their states as an exempt organization, but I often represent organizations that have not yet received received a determination letter from the IRS that the are exempt from federal income taxes. I gather certain information from them and then write my opinion letter as to whether the IRS would be treating them as an exempt organization.

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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