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Generally, Form 1023 should be filed within 15 months of the organization’s formation. For practical reasons, many organizations find it better to apply as soon as possible following formation. Extensions beyond 15 months may be possible under a variety of circumstances. After a period exceeding 27 months following corporate formation, retroactivity of 501(c)(3) status is likely limited.

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Successfully Starting a New Nonprofit
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Understanding IRS Form 990
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Understanding Charitable Solicitations
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