After making a charitable donation, it's important to obtain the charity’s tax identification number for tax reporting and record-keeping purposes. Charities are classified under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code as nonprofit organizations exempt from federal taxes. A charity is issued an employer identification number (EIN) before it can apply to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for tax-exempt status. It must follow separate procedures to obtain state tax-exempt status through the Franchise Tax Board in the state where it is incorporated or registered.
Here’s how to get an EIN tax identification number for a charity:
Obtain a Charity’s EIN
Probably the quickest and easiest way to obtain a charity’s EIN is to do a Web search. Simply enter the charity’s name followed by “EIN” on an Internet search engine such as Google. If this doesn’t work, try the following steps.
Review any receipts or letters provided by the charity. Most charities will provide you with written receipts or confirmation letters detailing the amount and date of your charitable contributions. Sometimes the charity will provide its EIN on the receipt or letter. Note that charities are required to provide donors with receipts for charitable contributions of over $250. Donors need these receipts to verify their charitable contributions when filing their federal income tax returns.
Note that donations made to certain tax-exempt organizations are not tax-deductible, such as contributions made to political campaigns, trade associations and membership clubs.
Request EIN or tax documents from the charity. To obtain a charity’s EIN, call the organization and ask for the number over the phone, or request a copy of the charity’s IRS Tax Return Form 990. This is basically the charity’s tax return: it reports the charity’s revenue, expenditures, changes in net assets or fund balances and other pertinent financial and operational data. The IRS Form 990 is a public record and must be made available to the donor by mail or in person at the charity’s office, in accordance with IRS regulations.
Search websites to obtain the charity’s EIN. There are several sites that provide free information on charities, including their EINs. These include Foundation Center (http://foundationcenter.org/findfunders/foundfinder/finder_tips.html); GuideStar (http://www2.guidestar.org/Home.aspx); Charity Navigator (http://www.charitynavigator.org); and JustGive (http://www.justgive.org).
Also, be sure to check the organization’s website, if it has one; there’s always the possibility that the EIN is posted there.
- If you are still unable to obtain the charity's EIN after following the above steps, contact your state's attorney general for help. The state attorney general's office has primary responsibility for overseeing charities and keeping charities' financial reports.
- Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images