The following is according to the IRS website

IRS Tax Tip 2018-134, August 28, 2018

Before applying for tax-exempt status, a charitable organization should determine if it’s one of the following:

  • TrustA trust
    is formed under state law. An organization should review the law in the
    state where it is organized. For a trust to qualify as a 501(c)(3)
    tax-exempt organization, its organizing document must contain certain
    language. Publication 557 contains suggested language.
  • CorporationIn general, a corporation
    is formed under state law by filing articles of incorporation. The
    state must generally date-stamp the articles before they’re effective.
    For a corporation to qualify as a 501(c)(3) organization, its charter or
    articles of incorporation must contain certain language. Publication 557 contains suggested language.
  • AssociationIn general, an association
    is a group organized for a specific purpose. To qualify as a 501(a) of
    the Code, the association must have a written document showing its
    creation. This document could be articles of association. The
    organization must date the document, and at least two people must sign
    it.

    The definition of an association can vary under state law. The
    organizations should consult the law of the state where it’s organized.
    For an association to qualify as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization,
    its articles of association must contain certain language. Publication 557 contains suggested language.

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