501c3 Application Cost

Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 1,850 reviews

Jump to Section

Need help with a 501c3 Application?

Post Project Now

Post Your Project (It's Free)

Get Bids to Compare

 Hire Your Lawyer

What does a 501(c)(3) application cost? Suppose you are interested in establishing a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. In that case, this application is necessary but may not know the costs and fees. Let’s explore this question and review general information about the application process.

How Much Does a 501(c)(3) Application Cost?

A 501(c)(3) application is an application for recognition by the IRS for tax-exempt status. Once a nonprofit organization has been established as a corporation by filing articles of incorporation, the organization can then file for tax-exempt status with the IRS.

Most organizations will use IRS Form 1023 for their 501(c)(3) application. Completing Form 1023 is a daunting task because this packet is between 50 and 100 pages long and can take over 100 hours to complete. The application fee is $600 as of 2021. It is non-refundable and there are no available waivers. If the paperwork isn’t filled out and filed correctly, it could be a major loss.

Suppose you are not familiar with tax paperwork. In that case, it is recommended that you hire an attorney to help you fill out Form 1023 for your 501(c)(3) application. A small business lawyer or nonprofit lawyer will know how to complete and file this complicated form correctly, so you don’t lose money over a mistake.

Based on ContractsCounsel’s marketplace data, the average cost of a 501(c)(3) application is $597.50.

Meet some lawyers on our platform

Forest H.

67 projects on CC
View Profile

Gregory F.

1 project on CC
View Profile

Jane C.

60 projects on CC
View Profile

Samuel R.

16 projects on CC
View Profile

How to File a 501(c)(3) Application

There are several steps required to file a 501c3 application. These steps involve various forms, fees, and deadlines.

  1. Step 1: Incorporate your business. Before filing a 501(c)(3) application, you must first have your company recognized as a corporation. This involves filing articles of incorporation and filing form SS-4 to receive an employer identification number (EIN).
  2. Step 2: Complete Form 1023. Form 1023 is the Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. This application is 28 pages long, but after attachments and required documentation, it is common for this application packet to be 50-100 pages long. A complete Form 1023 application packet will include:
    • The current completed version of Form 1023 found on the IRS website
    • Application fee
    • Signature of the authorized individual
    • An EIN
    • A statement of receipts and expenses
    • A copy of the Articles of Incorporation that meets the requirements of a conformed copy
    • A detailed narrative of the company’s proposed activities
    • A copy of the corporation’s bylaws
  3. Step 3: Filing. Most organizations must file their 501(c)(3) application by the end of the 27th month after they were legally formed to be recognized as tax exempt from the date of its creation. If a company files after the deadline, it will be tax-exempt from the date of the application.
  4. Step 4: Determination Letter. After the application is received and reviewed by the IRS, if the company meets all the requirements for tax exempt status, the IRS will issue a letter recognizing the organization's exemption status. This document is essential and should be kept with the company’s permanent records.

If you plan to apply for tax-exempt status, you can go to the IRS website for more information and in-depth instructions.

Who Needs a 501(c)(3) Application?

Only certain nonprofit companies are eligible for tax-exempt status. The most common organizations that need a 501(c)(3) application are charitable organizations, educational organizations, and religious organizations.

To be eligible for a 501(c)(3) application, the company must be organized as a corporation, trust, or unincorporated organization. In addition, the articles of incorporation must limit the company’s purposes to fit the requirements under IRS section 501(c)(3), and the company must permanently dedicate its assets to exempt purposes.

A substantial portion of the organization's activities must further the exemption purpose. Some activities like participating in political campaigns, lobbying activities, and operating for the benefit of private interests are entirely prohibited.

Finally, to be eligible for tax-exempt status, the organization’s articles of incorporation must include one or more exempt purposes, which can be:

  • Charitable
  • Educational
  • Religious
  • Scientific
  • Literary
  • Fostering a national or international sports competition
  • Preventing cruelty to children or animals
  • Testing for public safety

Examples of 501(c)(3) Application Projects

501(c)(3) Application Preparation

Preparing a 501(c)(3) application is a challenging task that includes pages of paperwork, supporting documents, and hours of work. As a result, it is common for a nonprofit to hire a nonprofit attorney who has experience preparing Form 1023 and the 501(c)(3) application.

An attorney experienced with 501(c)(3) application can assist you in organizing your application and ensuring there are no mistakes. This will make the filing process smoother, and you won’t lose your filing fee due to a preventable error.

501(c)(3) Application Filing

Once the application is filed, the IRS may contact the organization for additional information or documents. Hire an attorney to prepare your 501(c)(3) application. The attorney will usually also communicate with the IRS and provide any additional requested documents.

501(c)(3) Application Cost

Suppose you choose to hire an attorney to prepare the 501(c)(3) application for your nonprofit. In that case, the attorney will charge for the time they spent on your application, communication with you and the IRS, and any additional fees that law firms typically charge.

ContractsCounsel’s marketplace data shows the average 501(c)(3) application cost to be $597.50 across all states.

501(c)(3) Application Filing Cost

The 501(c)(3) application filing cost is $600 as of 2021. Additional fees include filing fees for the articles of incorporation and legal fees if you choose to hire an attorney to assist in the application process.

ContractsCounsel’s marketplace data shows the average 501(c)(3) application filing cost to be $597.50 across all states.

How Do Lawyers Charge for a 501(c)(3) Application?

Lawyers who assist with application preparation and filing can charge their clients in various ways.

Hourly Rates for a 501(c)(3) Application

Hourly rates are a standard fee structure for most lawyers. When an attorney bills by the hour, they will charge a client a set rate for each hour spent working on a project or case. The client will be responsible for all filing fees and additional fees that the application may require. This fee agreement ensures that lawyers are compensated for all time spent working on a particular task.

ContractsCounsel’s marketplace data shows the average hourly rate for a nonprofit lawyer range from $200 - $350 per hour.

Flat Fee Rates for a 501(c)(3) Application

A flat fee rate is another option for a hired lawyer to prepare and file a 501(c)(3) application. An experienced lawyer knows the approximate time it will take to complete this type of project, so they can estimate a total flat rate fee to be paid upfront.

Sometimes the lawyer will include filing fees in this flat rate price, and sometimes the client will be responsible for additional costs. Therefore, the client must understand what is covered by the flat fee rate.

ContractsCounsel’s marketplace data shows the average flat fee rate for a 501(c)(3) application is $597.50.

Government Fees for a 501(c)(3) Application

The filing fee for a 501(c)(3) application is $600 as of 2021. In most cases, an attorney will require the client to pay this filing fee outside of their legal services bill. There are no waivers for the filing fee.

Get Help with a 501(c)(3) Application

Do you need help with a 501(c)(3) application? If so, post a project in ContractsCounsel’s marketplace to receive flat fee bids from contract lawyers to handle your project. All lawyers on the ContractsCounsel’s platform are vetted by our team to make sure you are provided with top tier service.

How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our Lawyers

ContractsCounsel verified
3 years practicing
Free Consultation

Sammy Naji focuses his practice on assisting startups and small businesses in their transactional and litigation needs. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Sammy worked on Middle East diplomacy at the United Nations. He has successfully obtained results for clients in breach of contract, securities fraud, common-law fraud, negligence, and commercial lease litigation matters. Sammy also counsels clients on commercial real estate sales, commercial lease negotiations, investments, business acquisitions, non-profit formation, intellectual property agreements, trademarks, and partnership agreements.

ContractsCounsel verified
10 years practicing
Free Consultation

Brad is a business attorney with experience helping startup and growing companies in a variety of industries. He has served as general counsel for innovative companies and has developed a broad knowledge base that allows for a complete understanding of business needs.

ContractsCounsel verified
15 years practicing
Free Consultation

I am an attorney located in Denver, Colorado with 13 years of experience working with individuals and businesses of all sizes. My primary areas of practice are general corporate/business law, real estate, commercial transactions and agreements, and M&A. I strive to provide exceptional representation at a reasonable price.

ContractsCounsel verified
5 years practicing
Free Consultation

Chris Sawan is a JD/CPA who practices in the area of business law, contracts and franchising in the State of Ohio.

ContractsCounsel verified
Contracts Specialist
13 years practicing
Free Consultation

As an experienced contracts professional, I offer an affordable method to have your contracts reviewed! With my review of your contract, you can understand and reduce risks, negotiate better terms, and be your own advocate. I am an Attorney, Board Member, and Freelance Writer with a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in Film, Television and Theatre (“FTT”) from The University of Notre Dame. I was awarded The Catherine Hicks Award for outstanding work in FTT as voted on by the faculty. I graduated, cum laude, from Quinnipiac University School of Law, where I earned several awards for academics and for my work in the Mock Trial and Moot Court Honor Societies. Additionally, in my career, I have had much success as an in-house Corporate Attorney with a broad range of generalist experience and experience in handling a wide variety of legal matters of moderate to high exposure and complexity. My main focus in my legal career has been contract drafting, review, and negotiation. I also have a background in real estate, hospitality, sales, and sports and entertainment, among other things.

ContractsCounsel verified
11 years practicing
Free Consultation

Elizabeth is an experienced attorney with a demonstrated history of handling transactional legal matters for a wide range of small businesses and entrepreneurs, with a distinct understanding of dental and medical practices. Elizabeth also earned a BBA in Accounting, giving her unique perspective about the financial considerations her clients encounter regularly while navigating the legal and business environments. Elizabeth is highly responsive, personable and has great attention to detail. She is also fluent in Spanish.

ContractsCounsel verified
15 years practicing
Free Consultation

Abby is an attorney and public policy specialist who has fused together her experience as an advocate, education in economics and public health, and passion for working with animals to create healthier communities for people and animals alike. At Opening Doors PLLC, she helps housing providers ensure the integrity of animal accommodation requests, comply with fair housing requirements, and implement safer pet policies. Abby also assists residents with their pet-related housing problems and works with community stakeholders to increase housing stability in underserved communities. She is a nationally-recognized expert in animal accommodation laws and her work has been featured in The Washington Post, USA Today, Bloomberg, and Cosmopolitan magazine.

ContractsCounsel verified
General Counsel
8 years practicing
Free Consultation

First in-house counsel for small TX-based company operating in the Middle East. Experienced with drafting, revising, and editing a variety of domestic and international contracts.

ContractsCounsel verified
9 years practicing
Free Consultation

Matan is an experienced M&A, corporate, tax and real estate attorney advising closely held businesses, technology start ups, service businesses, and manufacturers in purchases, sales, and other exit strategies. Matan works with founders and first-and-second generation owners to strategically transition businesses.

ContractsCounsel verified
15 years practicing
Free Consultation

I am a business law attorney with over 10 years’ experience and a strong background in information technology. I am a graduate of the University of California Berkeley, a member of the Illinois bar and a licensed lawyer (Solicitor) of England and Wales. I actively partner directly with my clients or indirectly, as Of Counsel, to boutique law firms to streamline business practices and manage legal risks by focusing on essentials such as - business contracts, corporate structure, employment/independent contractor agreements, website terms and policies, IP, technology, and commercial related agreements as well as business risk and compliance guidance.

ContractsCounsel verified
Business Attorney
24 years practicing
Free Consultation

Accomplished and results-driven business attorney with extensive experience in commercial real estate / project finance, commercial transactions, and entity formations, that possesses a winning blend of subject matter expertise, skill in client relationship management, and practical experience. Leverages a unique mix of legal, strategic, and analytical expertise that consistently meets and surpasses client expectations. Specialties: Commercial Real Estate Law, Contract Negotiation, Entity Formation, Joint Ventures, Procurement, Lease/Buy/Sell Transactions, Business Consultations, Team Leadership, and Economic Development

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call