Form 1024-A, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(4), can now be filed electronically with the IRS. Effective January 5, 2021, applications for recognition of exemption on Form 1024-A must be submitted electronically at, but the IRS will provide a 90-day grace period during which it will continue to accept paper versions of Form 1024-A. The IRS has posted revised instructions to reflect the electronic filing process, and the user fee for Form 1024-A will remain $600 for 2021. Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, moved to electronic filing as of January 31, 2020.

As discussed in our prior coverage, Form 1024-A was created as a form separate from Form 1024 as part of the PATH Act of 2015. The Form 1024-A instructions continue to note that application for recognition of exempt status under section 501(c)(4) is optional, and a 501(c)(4) entity may operate without seeking formal recognition of its status. However, organizations that intend to operate as social welfare organizations under section 501(c)(4) must file a notice (Form 8976) with the IRS within 60 days of formation. Form 8976 is also submitted electronically.

Entities such as section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) organizations may consider creating a separate related section 501(c)(4) organization to engage in certain permitted levels of lobbying or political activity.

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