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13 Reasons the IRS Says "No"

Valerie F. Leonard

Ralph Murphy

Valerie F. Leonard, an expert in community and organizational development, recently discussed 13 common reasons the IRS rejects applications for tax exemption on the Nonprofit “U” radio blog talk show. Nonprofit "U" is an online forum where nonprofit stakeholders can discuss the latest developments in the sector and increase their capacity to serve their clients and build sustainable communities. The show streams live from every Tuesday afternoon, from 2:00 PM- 2:30 PM CST. The archived podcast is available on BlogTalkRadio,, iTunes, Podcast Charts, Blubrry and Stitcher.

According to a study done by the Urban Institute, the IRS approved nearly 50,000 applications for tax exemption per year between 2001 and 2013. Although the approval rate for applications has ranged from 82% to 94% between 2010 and 2014, the application process for organizations with budgets over $50,000 can be tedious and time-consuming. Applicants often find themselves “going back and forth” with the IRS for a number of reasons, including errors, clarification of statements and omission of key information. Clearly, following instructions is critical.

Leonard cautioned applicants not to get too comfortable with the fact that the rate of acceptance for applications for tax exemption is so high. “What these statistics don’t tell you, is how long it took the organizations to get through the approval process. Some organizations can get through the process within 6 months, while others take years”, Leonard said. Organizations can save a lot of time by following directions and avoiding common mistakes. “Time is money, and the sooner organizations can get through the approval process, the sooner they can start raising money.”


Keywords: Nonprofit "U", Nonprofit Podcasts, Valerie F. Leonard

Posted in Common Sense Media

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