You are here:

Nonprofit Law/forming our Scout troop into a 501(c)(3)


Bill Reese  COR from American Legion Post 43, to Boy Scout Troop 106
P.O. Box 216
Columbia City, Or 97018

April 16, 2015

Harvey Mechanic, Attorney at Law -

Hello Mr. Mechanic,
`   My Boy Scout Troop 106 has put together a Christmas Eve Hot Meals program for the past 26 years in Columbia County, Oregon. (Program is attached)  To date we have never been able to issue a 501(c) (3) number to all of our friends that have donated money or food to the program.  We have grown to where it takes about 3,000 dollars to provide the entire program and I think it is time we learned how to set up a 501(c)(3) and be able to issue a charitable tax number for all the help we receive from the community.
  This brings me to the following question.  I was wondering if you happen to have an easy guideline for setting up a 501(c) (3) before next October and of course would you be willing to share it with our Troop.  
  During the Christmas season of 2013 we delivered 680 hot meals to the less fortunate within our county.  Our numbers were down in 2014 but still a little over 550 hot meals.  
  We would like to encourage people to donate to the troop and get some sort of reward for their monetary contribution.  
Thank you for any help you may provide for me, it will be much appreciated.

Willard (Bill) Reese  

The easiest way to set up a 501(c)(3) organization (and, it happens to be for no cost) is to use the charitable trust form in IRS Publication 557 "Tax Exempt Status for Your Organization" which is available  at on page 76 (having 3 unrelated trustees is highly preferred by the IRS over having just one trustee) and then apply online for the trust's EIN (Employer Identification Number - or Taxpayer Id number)

Then, if you act like a 501(c)(3) organization should (and Publication 557) gives the rules, you are accepted as qualified by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization. See that Publication in the middle column of page 24 under "Organizations Not Required to File Form 1023" which 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)."

You are welcome.

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.

Nonprofit Law

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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.

©2017 All rights reserved.