In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, the Internal Revenue Service announced an expedited review and approval process for organizations formed to aid victims of Sandy that are seeking tax-exempt status.  Qualifying organizations still need to apply for tax-exempt status by filing a Form 1023 with the IRS. However, if they write “Disaster Relief, Hurricane Sandy” on the top of the form, the IRS will give immediate attention to the application.  The IRS did not state exactly how long it will take them to grant tax-exempt status, but the process would normally take approximately four to six months.

In addition, organizations who have already applied for tax-exempt status where IRS approval is pending can also apply for expedited review if they intend to provide relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy. In such cases, the organization needs to send a fax labeled “Disaster Relief, Hurricane Sandy” and include the organization’s name, employer identification number, contact name and phone number to 513-263-4554.

Please note that if you are looking to donate to a charitable organization providing relief to victims of Hurricane Sandy, the IRS recommends donating to existing tax-exempt organizations who they believe will be able to administer relief programs more efficiently than newly formed organizations. If you want to check to make sure the organization you are giving to is tax exempt, the IRS features a Select Check tool that allows taxpayers to search a database to determine if the charity has IRS approved tax-exempt status. For more information, about applying for tax-exempt status, please see the IRS website.  

 

Matthew Grosh is an attorney at Russell, Krafft & Gruber, LLP in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He received his law degree and LL.M. in Taxation from Villanova University.