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Nonprofit Law/Exemptions and group returns for 501(c)3s


Hi, Mr. Mechanic. I'm trying to figure out the reporting requirements for 501(c)3s. From what I've learned, those with under $50K can file an  e-Postcard; those over have to file a 990 or 990-EZ. Does a 501(c)3 with an NTEE designation of Q33 (International Relief) qualify for any exemptions? Can a 501(c)3 file under a "group return" with a non-profit parent?

I appreciate your help and that you volunteer as an expert. I wish I had some expertise to share like you do.


Answer explains which 990 series return to file and there is no exemption for an organization other than a church or certain entities related to churches, so international relief will not get you any exemption.

What you are referring to by "group return" is what the IRS calls "group exemption".
Group Exemption is discussed starting on the bottom of the middle column of page 8  of IRS Publication 557 at

The IRS exemption organization fee page has, for the 4th item, that the fee is $3000 for an organization to apply for the group exemption determination so that they could then have subordinate organizations as exempt without the subordinates filing with the IRS.

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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