IRS Information for Chapters

IRS Information for Chapters
While the letters I R S may strike fear in your heart, NOW chapter leaders must deal with the Internal Revenue Service when it comes to chapter funds. The following information will provide the average chapter leader with all the information necessary to work successfully with the IRS.


I am convening a new NOW chapter and need to obtain tax-exempt status for my chapter. Where do I begin?
First, you need to apply for an employment identification number (“EIN”) with the IRS. Every Chapter must have an EIN in order to apply for tax-exempt status. You can apply for one via phone, mail or online using the IRS website where you will find the EIN Application also known as IRS Form SS-4. For guidance reference this fully completed sample SS-4 form. Once your Chapter receives an EIN from the IRS, please provide the EIN to the Chapter Services Specialist by emailing

I am not sure of my chapter’s tax-exempt status or when our most recent 990-N (e-Postcard) was filed. Where can I find that information?
Visit the IRS’ website to verify your status. Remember that the IRS is several months backlogged so the information might not be the most up to date. Have patience and keep up to date records.

Where can I find more information about 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 tax status?
Review our Summary of NOW’s Tax Status which explains tax status for National NOW as well as NOW chapters.

Where can I find proof of National NOW’s tax-exempt status?
On some occasions the IRS or a private bank may request proof of NOW’s tax-exempt status. In 1971 the IRS granted National NOW tax-exempt status and in 1979 the IRS granted NOW the ability to have tax-exempt chapters. You can use either/both of these letters 1971 and 1979 as proof of NOW’s tax-exempt status. Please note that while the copy of the 1979 letter granting chapters and states inclusion under National NOW’s group exemption is valid, some of the information is no longer current. For example, the cut off for filing a Form 990 was $10,000 in 1979, but currently is $25,000.

My Chapter received a letter saying it has lost its tax-exempt status. What does that mean?
The IRS automatically revokes tax-exempt status when an organization does not file IRS Form 990-N e-Postcard for three consecutive years. If you received correspondence from the IRS stating your Chapter has lost its tax-exempt status, follow the steps below or contact the Field Team.

How do I get my chapter’s tax exempt status back?
To regain your Chapter’s tax-exempt status, you will need to:

What information do I need to file a 1024 form?

  • Your chapter name and address
  • Your chapter’s EIN
  • Your bylaws
  • Description of your chapter’s activities and operational information
  • Your officers’ information
  • Financial records for the current year and past 3 years
  • Copy of National NOW’s group exemption letter (on chapters’ only site)
  • Any published material published by your chapter (nothing from the state chapter
  • or National NOW)

What is the IRS 990-N e-Postcard? What is IRS Form 990-EZ? Which one do I fill out for my Chapter?
As of 2008, every chapter of NOW is required to file annually with the IRS. Any chapter with annual income of less than $50,000 is required to file the 990-N e-Postcard. Any chapter with $50,000 or more of annual revenue is required to file a 990-EZ form with the IRS. Your 990 is due every year by the 15th day of the 5th month after the close of your tax year. If your tax year runs January 1 – December 31, your 990 is due May 15 of the following year. You cannot file your 990 until after your tax year ends.

What is IRS Form 8976?

As of July 8, 2016, all organizations intending to operate as a 501(c)4 tax-exempt organization must submit Form 8976 if they have not filed Form 990-N, Form 990-EZ, or Form 1024 prior to that date.  This applies to all new NOW chapters formed after July 8, 2016.  The IRS must receive notification that the chapter is operating as a 501(c)4 organization within 60 days of its formation.  Please visit the IRS website for additional information and to file Form 8976.

When filing Form 8976, please be prepared to submit the following information, along with a $50 fee:

  • An email address to activate your login ID and password
  • Business name
  • Address
  • EIN
  • Date organized
  • State and country organized
  • Filing year/month
  • Statement of purpose of the organization

What is an Employer Identification Number (“EIN”)?
An EIN is an Employer Identification Number. Every Chapter must have an EIN in order to apply for tax-exempt status. If your Chapter does not currently have an EIN, you can apply for one via phone, mail or online using the IRS website where you will find the EIN Application. Once your Chapter receives an EIN from the IRS, please provide the EIN to the Field Team. If you are a new chapter, this was discussed in your chapter’s convener call with the Field Team.

I think my Chapter already has an EIN. Where can I find my Chapter’s EIN?
Unsure whether you Chapter already has an EIN? Contact the Field Team. An EIN is required to open a bank account. If your chapter already has a bank account, check on your statement or ask the bank. If that does not prove fruitful, contact the Field Team, we may be able to help.

What information do I need to fill out the 990-N e-Postcard?

  • Chapter EIN
  • Chapter name and address
  • Chapter officer name and address
  • Annual tax year
  • Estimate of chapter income (e.g., under $50,000)

What if I don’t have my financial records? Does National have them?
Chapters are not required to send National NOW their financial records, so we do not have them here. We do have a record of the rebate checks that your chapter has received and cashed in the past for the few years. Request a copy of that record by contacting Sparkle at ext. 133 or at

My chapter has a financial concerns with the $400 fee.
Some chapters are trying to establish a payment plan or negotiate a reduced fee with the IRS. Other chapters are trying to raise money through fundraising.

Will this affect my chapter’s eligibility for conference delegates?
No, this will in no way affect your chapter’s availability to have delegates at the national conference.

Will this affect my chapter’s rebates in any way?
This will not affect your chapter’s rebate eligibility in any way. The requirements for rebate eligibility are:

  • At least 2 officers with current memberships
  • Annual report submitted
  • Last rebate check cashed
  • Current chapter address on file

What happens if we don’t get our tax-exempt status fixed?
Your chapter’s revenue, including rebates, will be taxed at a for-profit corporate rate of 35% and you may have to pay back taxes.

When did this requirement happen?
Beginning in 2008, the IRS required all chapters to submit a 990-N e-Postcard (some chapters with incomes over $50,000 a 990-EZ) every May 15. If the chapters failed to file three years in a row, then its IRS tax-exempt status was revoked. Further Questions? Contact our Chapter Services Specialist at


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