Valley Stream, NY asked in Tax Law and Business Law for New York

Q: Can I request nonprofit bylaws from the IRS without the nonprofit being notified of the request?

I started working 3 years ago in a registered 501c3 (school) in New York. I am a school leader and requested to see a copy of the school bylaws so I could understand as much as possible about how the school works. I was told it was an inappropriate request. I have concerns about board governance and would like to request a copy of these bylaws from a different place. WHat is the best way to do this? I need to remain anonymous or I will lose my job.

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1 Lawyer Answer

A: You can almost certainly get a copy directly (and anonymously) from the New York Attorney General's office website. Go to the AG's office's Charities Bureau online. ( Enter the name of the 501(c)(3) in the "Search Charities Registry" box or use the "Advanced Search" and search by the school's EIN or other identifying numbers. Once you find your school, there will be a list of available documents, which should include the bylaws or other organizing documents.

You can file a request with the IRS to receive a copy of a 501(c)(3)'s application for exemption, which might have included their bylaws as part of the request. But the form (Form 4506-B) requires you to identify yourself and the reason you are requesting the information).

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