Can a federally recognized tribe qualify as a charitable organization exempt from taxation under IRC section 501(c)(3)?

This question gets asked frequently in the Nonprofit Resource Center. It is true that not all organizations qualify for 501(c)(3) status, including Indian Tribal Governments.  "A federally recognized tribe that exercises sovereign powers generally will not qualify for exemption as a charitable organization under IRC section 501(c)(3) because the exercise of sovereign powers is not a charitable purpose as defined by IRC section 501(c)(3)."  Read more about this topic on the IRS web site at http://www.irs.gov/govt/tribes/article/0,,id=180316,00.html.

 

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