How long does it take the IRS to approve 501c3 Status?

It seems as though the IRS likes the way we structure and present our applications. In most cases (but not always), you will receive your tax-exempt status in around four months or so (3 to 11 months is the typical range). Here’s a link to the IRS website page that tells what month incoming 501c3 applications are being assigned to IRS agents for processing:

Our record is 26 days, but that is unusual: Click here for renowned Harvard-trained plastic surgeon Dr. John Connors’s 70 second narrative giving details on his 29-day record. This is why we say we believe the IRS likes our applications. The key, of course, is to get in line as soon as possible (this is where our guaranteed 5-business day turnaround can benefit you).

The following is quoted word for word from the Internal Revenue Service (but here is a more recent update from Lois Lerner, Director Exempt Organizations, Internal Revenue Service, where she describes how the IRS separates applications into four categories):

This [information] describes our usual determination process. However, recent processing problems have further delayed our case review, as described below, by at least 90 days. We regret this inconvenience and will continue to update this page as the situation develops.


Many exempt organizations and practitioners may have noticed an increase in the timeframe to process an application for tax-exempt status.


We apologize for any delays you may be experiencing and we are taking steps to decrease processing time. This delay is the result of a backlog of exemption applications.


As a result of these delays, we are experiencing a high number of calls into our TE/GE Toll Free Customer Assistance telephone lines regarding the status of Exempt Organization (EO) exemption applications. These calls, in addition to our other calls, are causing increased wait times on the toll free line.


In an effort to provide better service, we will keep you updated on our progress in reducing the backlog of EO exemption applications by posting to this web page information about the date we received applications we are currently processing.


The Process: Upon receipt, exemption applications accompanied by the required user fee are initially separated into three groups: (1) those that can be processed immediately based on information submitted, (2) those that need minor additional information to be resolved, and (3) those that require additional development.


If your application falls in the first or second group, you will receive either your determination letter or a request for additional information, via phone, fax, or letter, within approximately 60 days of the date the application was submitted. If your application falls within the third group, you will be contacted once your application has been assigned to an EO specialist.


Some types of applications must be assigned to specialized agents due to the issues involved, however, and may take longer. These applications are also assigned in order from the date they are received.