General Tax Info
As a Registered Student Organization (RSO) your group is registered with the University as an independent and separate organization from the University, conducting itself as a not for profit entity. Student groups are independent and autonomous from the University and therefore do not have access to the University’s tax-exempt status.
Nonprofit status may make a group eligible for certain benefits such as sales tax, property, and income tax exemptions. Recognition of Nonprofit status or Tax-exempt status is not granted solely by the taxing authorities. Nonprofit status can be a state law concept. An entity wishing to be recognized as Tax-Exempt and claim Nonprofit status must go through a federal and state approval and registration process.
To qualify as Tax-Exempt from federal taxes, a group must meet requirements set forth in the Internal Revenue Code. For more information see Types of Tax-Exempt Organizations or Publication 557 on the IRS Website at www.irs.gov. The IRS also has excellent resource material on the life cycle of a tax-exempt entity on its website that explains the appropriate procedures that a group must take to be tax-exempt and to maintain its exemption.
Because of the complexities of this subject and because regulations are subject to change, not everything can be covered in this manual. It is recommended that you contact the IRS at www.irs.gov and request Publication 557, How to Apply for and Retain Exempt Status for Your Organization, if you are interested in applying.
Tax ID Number or Employer Identification Number
Any student group that will raise money and, therefore, spend money, will need to maintain proper financial accounts for the group. These accounts should not be the same as any one individual’s account and should be set up by applying for a Tax ID or EIN specific to the group. Each taxpayer, or RSO, must have a Federal Taxpayer Identification Number (Tax ID).
The EIN is not a tax-exempt number. That term generally refers to a number assigned by a state agency that identifies organizations as exempt from state sales and use taxes. You should contact your state revenue department for additional information about tax-exempt numbers.