I am occasionally asked by clients as to how to find information about tax-exempt organizations. My response until now has been to search on GuideStar. The clients also could have examined the following on the IRS website:
(1) Publication 78, which provided whether an organization was eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions;
(2) the Auto-Revocation list, which provided whether an organization had their tax-exempt status automatically revoked because the organization did not filed Form 990 series returns (tax returns for tax-exempt organizations) or notices annually for three consecutive years; and
3) Form 990-N (e-postcard) (filed for small tax-exempt organizations with little gross receipts) search, which allowed the user to determine if an entity had filed a Form 990-N.
Yesterday, however, the IRS, in IR-2012-34, introduced Exempt Organizations Select Check, a one-stop online search tool, where the user can find all the information that was previously available in (1), (2), and (3) above. in addition, users can search organizations via employer identification number. In addition, users may rely on Exempt Organizations Select Check to determine whether a charitable contribution to an tax-exempt organization is tax deductible. The information that was available in Publication 78 and in the Auto-Revocation list will be updated monthly, and Form 990-N (e-postcard) data will be updated weekly.