Official Blog of the Education Exchange Corps

Thursday, April 21, 2011

How the IRS Can Be Your Friend Too, and Important Information for Those Applying for an EIN as a Non-Profit

April 8, 2011: Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan approves the EEC's Articles of Incorporation. We are an official Missouri non-profit organization!

April 18, 2011: Elad, the EEC's executive director and current legal staffer attempts to apply for 501(c)(3) status from the IRS so the EEC can be tax exempt and receive tax exempt donations. But to complete the forms, I find that I need an EIN (Employer Identification Number). The IRS has an online application program that provides an EIN within minutes.
All goes smoothly until the confirmation page.

Here's where those applying for an EIN as a non-profit should pay attention.

When the user selects "Social Assistance" as the primary business category, the confirmation page shows that the user actually chose "Health Care" as the category!

I wasn't about to mess up what was supposed to be the easiest part of the process. So I tried again. And again. And again. And a couple more agains. Yet to no avail!

Per my Constitutional duty as a US citizen, I proceeded to notify my government of the problem with their online application. I chose to communicate in the most technologically efficient and communicationally deficient manner available today: E-mail.

April 20, 2011: The IRS Help Desk responds to my e-mail saying they can't respond to it by e-mail.
Are the horror stories true? Will my spirit be crushed by a massive government bureaucratic machine? Am I about to voluntarily enter Dante's Inferno?
The IRS provides me with a phone number to call at my convenience.

April 21, 2011: My convenience rolls around. I call up the IRS. Soon the elevator music starts playing. Speaker phone deployed and the wait begins. I start wondering why some underground rapper or country singer doesn't try to sell on-hold music. Maybe I should start a for-profit business for on-hold music...? My attempt to distract myself has failed. I'm still on hold. Time to work.
37 minutes later, a man answers the phone. Within 7 minutes, I'm done and I have an EIN!

So important thing for non-profits to note: If you select "Social Assistance" as your business category, it will change to "Health Care" on the confirmation page. When the IRS guys do it for you over the phone, they see "Social Assistance" an "Health Care" as one category. And if all else fails, just select "Other".

So fear not! You can skip the 37 minute on-hold time with just a few clicks of the mouse.