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Nonprofit Law/How to change status of community theater org. to public charity


I'm on the board of a 501c3 community theater organization.  The freelance expert we hired to file our 1023 application classified us as a private foundation.  We didn't discover until after we received the determination letter from the IRS that the application was submitted in this manner.  Our participants are not able to submit for matching funds from the corporations that they are employed by, which in would have matched their volunteer hours with monetary payments to us.  They will only pay matching funds to public charities.  Our purpose is to perform musicals for the community and we raise our funds through charity auctions, ticket sales, and donations.  What do we need to do to get our operating status changed to a public charity?

It does not appear that the freelancer is an "expert".  Anyway, you would not want to wait for the normal IRS process for reclassification from a private foundation to a public charity because that would take 5 years and cost you.  That is shown as "i. Termination of private foundation status under Code section 507(b)(1)(B) (60-month period ended)" on the IRS website explaining the Form 8940 for Miscellaneous Determination Requests (which has a filing fee itself of $400

Therefore, I suggest that you or I contact the IRS and explain the mistake in the filing (hopefully relatively recently) of the IRS Application for Exemption. If you want to hire me, send me an email directly to my email address below and I will quote you my fees.

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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