Tax Exempt Status:  

(In order to view, fill out and print the IRS forms linked to on this page, please visit the 
following link to download the free Adobe® Acrobat® Reader if you don't already have it.)

From the AA Guidelines on Finance:

Question: Our group needs to open a bank account and we were asked for an "I.D. number." Can we use G.S.O.'s?

More and more frequently, A.A. groups in the U.S. are being asked to supply an ID number to a bank when opening a checking or savings account, whether or not it is interest bearing. According to G.S.O.'s outside auditors, no local A.A. organization can use the tax‑
-exempt status or identification number of the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, Inc. Local entities should obtain their own tax-exempt status and I.D. numbers.

Question: How do we obtain an I.D. number for our group checking account?

Sharing its experience, one area advises that the SS-4 form headed "Application for Employer Identification Number" is needed to open a checking account in your groups name. To obtain the form call your local Social Security office or IRS office. You'll find the phone number listed in the "blue pages" of your phone directory under Government Offices-US. and broken down by towns.
In filling out the application form, it is suggested that you consult with the IRS or a professional, such as an accountant or tax specialist. Be sure to include the signature of a group officer or member where such is asked for. Date the form, list a phone number, and mail to the IRS Center listed for your area. In time, the I.D. number will be mailed to the address shown on the SS-4 form.
Also, you might want to check with your local service structure to find out how other groups have handled bank accounts.

For the Group:  Please read completely before doing anything!

Some large Groups and Intergroups choose to apply for and receive Tax Exempt status. This process involves applying for and receiving a 501(c)(3)  Non-Profit Charitable Exemption. The Form 1023 with instructions is available by clicking on the link below. 

Form 1023 Instructions.pdf

Form 1023.pdf
(Help using Adobe Acrobat to fill out the form)

You will note that on page 1 of the instruction booklet for Form 1023 it states:

       " 2. Organizations not required to file Form 1023.-The following types of organizations 
        may be considered tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) even it they do not file Form 1023:

                1- Churches
                2- Integrated auxiliaries of churches..................
3- Any organization that:
                        (a) Is not a private foundation (as defined in Section509(a)) and,
                        (b) Has gross receipts in each taxable year of normally not more then $5,000.

                Even if the above organizations are not required to file Form 1023 to be tax-exempt,
                these organizations may choose to file Form 1023 in order to receive a determination
                letter that recognizes their section 501(c)(3) status.

             Section 501(c)(3) status provides certain incidental benefits such as:
                * Public recognition of tax-exempt status
                * Advance assurance to donors of deductibility of contributions
                * Exemption from certain state taxes
                * Exemption from certain Federal excise taxes
                * Non-profit mailing privileges, etc."

Since the majority of AA groups do not have receipts in excess of $5,000 per year and since AA groups are not private foundations according to the regulations, it is not necessary to fill out the Form 1023 package.                

The best option for an AA Group that does not anticipate income over $5,000 is to apply for and receive an Employer Identification Number. The group's Treasurer can present this number when requesting a waiver of user fees at the bank, if the bank waves fees for non-profit organizations. If the bank requests a "determination letter" you will have to document the groups income and provide some form of proof. In most cases a letter from the Group Secretary will suffice. 

To obtain the Employer Identification Number, fill out Form SS-4 (link provided below) and fax or mail to the Philadelphia Regional Office of the IRS. If you fax it and have a return fax number that is active 24 hours a day, this process take a few days at most. If you do not have a return fax number, the process usually takes about 4 weeks. The form can be filled in on your computer and printed out.

Form Instructions

0400 Form SS-4 Application for Employer Identification Number
(Help using Adobe Acrobat to fill out the form)

Fax Number: 
215- 516-3990
Mailing Address:
Internal Revenue Service
Entity Control
Philadelphia PA 19255


Updated August 07, 2008 © 2001 Copyright All Rights Reserved Reading-Berks Intergroup, Reading, PA