What Is the Difference Between a 501c and a 501c3?

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Editorial Team

Updated on March 05, 2023

Difference Between 501c and 501c3

A 501(c) organization and a 501(c)3 organization are similar in designation, however they differ slightly in their tax benefits.

Both types of organization are exempt from federal income tax, however a 501(c)3 may allow its donors to write off donations whereas a 501(c) does not.

Subsection 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code is the "List of exempt organizations."

Subsection (3) of subsection 501(c) outlines the specific organizations which are tax exempt under subsection 501(c)(3) and will receive that subsection's specific tax treatment (including tax write offs for donors).

Here is a screenshot from the Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) in context:

[caption id="attachment_43475" align="alignnone" width="2430"]

Screenshot of 501(c)(3) of Internal Revenue Code

Screenshot of 501(c)(3) of Internal Revenue Code[/caption]

What Is the Difference Between a 501c and a 501c3? FAQs

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website, view his author profile on Amazon, or check out his speaker profile on the CFA Institute website.

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