By Ruth Masterson, Exponent Philanthropy
The Auto-Revocation List is an official IRS record of organizations that have lost their exempt status for failing to file required annual tax returns for three consecutive years.
It’s important for private foundations to check this list to make sure grant applicants don’t appear on it. If a prospective grantee is on the list, grants to that organization cannot be counted as a qualifying distribution without exercising expenditure responsibility.
We offer an additional caution: Organizations will not be automatically deleted from the list, even if they successfully reapply for exemption and are reinstated as tax exempt. The IRS has stated that the list is an historical record of organizations whose tax-exempt status has been revoked for non-filing. The IRS will only remove an organization’s name from the list if they are provided with documentation that the organization was added to the list in error.
How can a foundation confirm that an organization’s tax-exempt status has been reinstated?
- The organization’s IRS determination letter granting reinstatement of tax-exempt status will show an effective exemption date that is the same as or later than the revocation date shown on the Auto-Revocation List;
- The organization is listed on the IRS Master File Data state-by-state listing, with a ruling date that is after the effective revocation date shown on the Auto-Revocation List; or
- You may call IRS Customer Account Services at (877) 829-5500.
Exponent Philanthropy members may also call us at 888-212-9922 with further questions.
Senior Program Director Ruth Masterson works closely with members to create written materials and training curricula, and answers member questions on foundation administration, governance, boards, and tax and legal topics. She is also is the project manager for Exponent Philanthropy’s Practical Board Self-Assessment. Prior to joining Exponent Philanthropy, Ruth served nonprofits in her work at Adler & Colvin, the Council on Foundations, and the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law.