Chapter Resource Center
National AWIS is a not-for-profit organization under the Internal Revenue Code Section 501 ( c ) (3). This tax designation recognizes the Association for Women in Science as a TAX EXEMPT, TAX DEDUCTIBLE organization. As a tax-exempt organization AWIS does not pay federal income taxes (although we are not exempt from some other taxes). As a tax-deductible charitable organization, donations to AWIS may be deducted from individual income taxes.
Because National AWIS was granted group exemption, all chapters are included in a group tax return filed by the National Office. A chapter does not need to file a separate tax return (unless its annual income exceeds $25,000).
Commencing in 2008, Chapters that were not previously required to file Form 990 or 990-EZ, because their annual gross receipts were normally $25,000 or less, will be required to electronically submit a Form 990-N with the IRS annually. The name of the new IRS form is: Form 990-N, Electronic Notice (e-Postcard) for Tax Exempt Organizations Not Required to File Form 990 or 990-EZ.
National AWIS will handle most of the filing requirements for the Internal Revenue Service. However, there are certain procedures that must be carried out by each new chapter. They are listed below and are very important.
1. Chapters do not automatically acquire National's tax-exempt status.
This means that your group will be liable for payment of federal income tax unless you authorize National AWIS to request that your group be listed under the national organization's Group Exemption Number (GEN).
This authorization is made by the Board of Directors and recorded in the minutes of the meeting at which such action is taken.
The actual letter of authorization, written and signed by the president of the chapter (or other principal officer, elected or acting), should be mailed to the National AWIS Office. A sample copy of the correct wording and format is attached.
2. The SS-4 form is an application for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Although it is highly unlikely that you will "employ" anyone, this is an essential identification number, much the same as a Social Security number. Your group must apply for this number. Download the form located at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fss4.pdf. Fill out the form as indicated. (A sample is available from AWIS Member Services Offices to use as a guide. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request the sample.) Please note that in the example, most of the sections that are the same for all chapters have been filled out. This example is for reference only and chapters should be careful to fill out the form completely.
The notice of assigned number is sent to the address on the form. You must send AWIS Member Services a copy of this notice as soon as you receive it! We need this number to file the group tax return, so please let us know immediately if the IRS sends you any correspondence about your number or application.
Send the originals of your chapter's GEN Authorization letter and completed SS-4 form to the AWIS National Office. We will make copies of the documents and send them to the IRS. (Do NOT send them to the IRS yourselves; do make copies of the documents for your own records.)
Another important consideration in dealing with the IRS is the statement of purpose in your chapter's Constitution.
The IRS uses this statement to determine which requirements of the tax code are being met, thereby determining the appropriate status. This is why your statement of purpose should adhere closely to that of National AWIS. If you deviate too much from National AWIS' purpose, you may violate the federal tax code for tax exemption.
We cannot emphasize strongly enough the importance of these documents. Problems may develop because you thought your group was tax exempt or tax deductible when it was not. In such instances, there may be little that National AWIS can do to help. Therefore, get the paperwork done first, then begin chapter activities.