IRS Posts Procedure for Reporting Tax-Exempt Organization Concerns

The IRS has posted on its website the procedure for submitting complaints about a tax-exempt organization that may not be operating in compliance with federal tax laws and a link to Form 13909 Tax-Exempt Organization Complaint (Referral).

Background. Organizations granted tax-exempt status must abide by the requirements of Section 501(c)(3), specifically the organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes. This restriction means that an organization’s assets, resources or funds cannot be used to benefit private individuals, for lobbying activities, or to engage in commercial activities that are not related to their exempt purposes.

Procedure For Submitting A Complaint. If a person suspects that a tax-exempt organization is not in compliance with the requirements applicable to tax-exempt organizations, the person may submit a complaint to Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division using Form 13909 available on the IRS’ website. Form 13909 requires the reporting person to include the following information:

• Name, address and employer identification number (or state registration number if EIN is unavailable) of the organization,
• Details regarding the violation, including names of persons involved, their position with the organization, dates and amounts of funds involved, including the names of other organizations, entities or persons that may be involved with the organization or have knowledge of the suspected violation,
• Contact information for the person filing the complaint, unless the complaint is being made anonymously, and
• Copies of any supporting documents that would assist the IRS in its investigation.

The Instructions to Form 13909 note that if the complaint pertains to a church, Section 7611 imposes special limitations on the IRS’ authority as to how and why the IRS may conduct an audit of a church. The IRS suggests a person wishing to file a complaint against a church review Publication 1828 Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations.

The IRS will mail a letter to the person filing the complaint to acknowledge receipt of the complaint, but the IRS will not send any further status updates or progress reports regarding the IRS’ investigation of the organization due to the restriction in Section 6103 on disclosing taxpayer information.

To view the complaint process page click here:

Click here to access Form 13909.

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