Tax & Accounting Blog

IRS Resources for Identifying Tax-Exempt Organizations

1042-S, 1099, ONESOURCE, Tax Information Reporting, TIN Compliance, Trust Tax, W-8 & W-9 Foreign Reporting, Withholding Management July 5, 2011

A tax-exempt organization is an exempt recipient for purposes of tax information reporting, being generally exempt from being reported on a Form 1099.  The organization generally claims this exempt status on the Form W-9 it furnishes to you.  But, if you do not have a W-9, an alternate rule permits a payor to treat an organization as an exempt recipient without requiring a certification (without a Form W-9) if the organization’s name is listed in the IRS compilation of organizations for which a deduction for charitable contributions is allowed.  That IRS list is known as Publication 78 (Pub 78), although the IRS has not printed it as a publication on paper for several years.  Instead, Pub 78 is displayed electronically on the IRS website at  IRS Rev. Proc. 2011-33 specifies that all paper versions or supplements of Pub 78 are obsolete.  If you rely on the Pub 78 list, be sure your files show the payee under exactly the same name. 
The IRS also has two other online resources for information about tax-exempt organizations.  The Automatic Revocation of Exemption List, at,,id=240099,00.html, shows organizations that at one time had tax-exempt status but have lost it as a result of failing to file an annual tax return or submit a required electronic notice for three consecutive years. 
The IRS also makes an extract of certain information on exempt organizations available from the IRS Business Master File (BMF) through the Tax Statistics section of the IRS website.  This data extract covers the organizations that appear in the online Pub 78 plus additional organizations that have been recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt but are not eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions.  The BMF list also provides information not found in Pub 78.  Among the data fields in the BMF list are the organization’s name and EIN, address, subsection code under which it is recognized as tax-exempt, date of that ruling, and the codes that tell more about what type of organization or foundation it is.  This BMF list is updated monthly.  Due to its large size, the BMF extract is available as a compressed ASCII text file or as an Excel spreadsheet file.  These files must be downloaded and uncompressed before viewing.  The BMF extract and its corresponding instructions are available at,,id=97186,00.html.