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GCFA has collaborated with GuideStar to allow for access to Amazon Smile and other organizations that GuideStar supports. During the application process you will be able to check a box allowing GCFA to send your information to GuideStar. Click here to learn more about the benefits of GuideStar.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an EIN?
An EIN (Employer Identification Number) is a nine digit number that identifies your organization. It is assigned to your organization by the IRS.
Where can I find my organization's EIN?
Your organization's EIN appears on the Forms W-2 of all of your organization's employees. You can also obtain the EIN by having an officer of the organization call the IRS at 1-800-829-4933.
If my organization does not have an EIN, where can I get one?
The organization may apply for an EIN online at the IRS's website here Internal Revenue Service
How do I prove to donors my organization is tax exempt?
At the end of the application process you will be given (1) a letter from GCFA stating your organization is under the group ruling, (2) GCFA's 1974 letter from the IRS granting it a group exemption, and (3) IRS Publication 4573. The IRS Publication 4573 explains how an organization can verify it is tax exempt. It states that verification from the central organization (GCFA) of inclusion is sufficient. The letter from the IRS to GCFA verifies that GCFA is a group ruling holder. Donors can also verify that GCFA is a group ruling holder by checking select check (previously Publication 78) for GCFA (The General Council of Finance and Administration of The United Methodist Church).
A grantor is not able to electronically verify my church is a 501(c)(3). What can I do?
We recommend that you try to contact a person with the granting entity and send them your group ruling letter and the attachments we send with the group ruling letter. You can also apply directly to GuideStar to be listed on the GuideStar website. Some donors use this as verification. You can also send your group ruling letter to firstname.lastname@example.org with an email asking for inclusion on the IRS Exempt Organizations Business Master File (EO BMF). We will fax an individual request to the IRS. Unfortunately, it can take a couple of months to be listed on the EO BMF, if at all, because of the way the IRS updates the EO BMF. Internal Revenue Service - Non-Profits
How do I sign up for Google for Nonprofits?
Google has recently partnered with TechSoup, an organization that provides verification of 501(c)(3) status. You will need to register your organization with TechSoup and acquire a “validation token” in order to begin the Google for Nonprofits application.
I am a new church start. How come I cannot find my church?
Our system pulls from the EZRA database. Often new church starts are not in the database yet. Please send us an email at email@example.com
with all your new church start’s information, including your EIN. Also please have your district or conference send us confirmation that the church start has been approved. If you would like to be included in EZRA please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I obtain a sales and use tax exemption?
Inclusion in the group ruling verifies an organization’s exemption from federal income tax, not state taxes. States that give sales and use tax exemptions require organizations to apply directly to the state, generally by contacting the relevant Department of Revenue. Sometimes, the group ruling letter is required to obtain a state sales and use tax exemption certificate.