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Obtaining IRS Tax-Exempt Status for Your Council

I. Create council bylaws and articles of incorporation.

II. Apply for incorporation within your state. Please visit your state’s website to find out the specific forms and requirements to file in your state, as each state has different requirements. Incorporation transfers the liability from individuals to the incorporated entity, so that each affiliate can get a bank account in the name of the council and never have to worry about leadership changes.

III. File for federal tax-exempt status from the IRS by filing form 1023 ( You can find more information about this form and process on the IRS website at

IV. File for state tax exemptions. Each state is different, so you will have to visit your state’s website to find out more information on how to file for these exemptions.

V. Maintaining your tax exempt status. All tax-exempt organizations, except churches, must file a yearly return or notice with the IRS. If an organization does not file as required for three consecutive years, the law provides that it automatically loses its tax-exempt status. Loss of exempt status means an organization must file income tax returns and pay income tax, and its contributors will not be able to deduct their donations.

If you have any questions about this process feel free to contact the NCSS council services department at