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This is the personal blog of Sterling Olander, a Certified Public Accountant and Utah-licensed attorney. For over seven years, I have assisted clients with estate planning and administration, tax mitigation, tax controversies, small business planning, asset protection, and nonprofit law.

I write about any legal, tax, or technological information that I find interesting or useful in serving my clients. All ideas expressed herein are my own and don't constitute legal or tax advice.

Activities of Charitable Organizations

Individuals wanting to form their own charitable organization are not alone; the number of public charities has increased substantially in the past few years. I.R.C. section 501 describes certain organizations that are exempt from tax. Section 501(c)(3) and Treas. Reg. 1.501(c)(3)-1(d)(2) generally describe the following exempt purposes for which a charity can be organized:

Religious Organizations. Includes organizations operated exclusively for religious purpose and organizations that advance religion. Some, but not all religious organizations qualify as a "church," which are treated somewhat preferentially compared to other religious organizations.

Organizations Providing Relief for the Poor Underprivileged. These are the "classic" type of charitable organizations; they are permitted to provide a wide range of assistance for low-income persons, including transportation, housing assistance, counseling, legal aid, and day care services.

Social Welfare Organizations. Includes organizations that build or maintain public buildings, monuments, or works; lessen the burdens of government; lessen neighborhood tensions; eliminate prejudice and discrimination; defend human and civil rights secured by law; or combat community deterioration and juvenile delinquency.

Health Organizations. Includes hospitals and health-care providers that promote the health of the community and which provide below-cost medical services to lower income individuals.

Scientific Organizations. Includes organizations that perform research that is beneficial to the public and that is normally made available to the public as well.

Public Safety Testing Organizations. Includes organizations that test consumer products, construction standards, and equipment for safety.

Educational and Literary Organizations. Includes organizations that train individuals so as to develop their capabilities or the instruction of the public on subjects beneficial to the community. Many other types of charitable organizations also have educational purposes.

Amateur Sports Competition Organizations. Includes organizations that operate exclusively to foster national or international amateur sports competition, as long as they do not provide athletic facilities or equipment.

Organizations for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children or Animals. Includes organizations protecting children from unfavorable work conditions and animal welfare organizations.

Source: Webster, 451 T.M., Tax-Exempt Organizations: Operational Requirements.