The District of Columbia Requires DC-Registered Not-for-Profits to Renew Tax Exemptions


    Starting in 2019, the District of Columbia (DC) Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) is mandating not-for-profits organizations that claim tax-exempt status in DC must reapply for tax-exempt status through an online renewal process.

    New tax-exempt renewal requirement

    A not-for-profits organization secures DC tax-exempt status by registering for taxes with DC OTR and applying for tax-exempt status by filing a DC form FR-164. Previously, this process was a one-time requirement, and organizations recognized as tax-exempt by the DC OTR were not required to continuously renew their tax-exempt status.

    Renewal process

    Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, DC OTR will start to expire the current DC tax-exempt status of not-for-profits organizations and require all organizations to renew their tax-exemptions every five years. Failure to comply with this renewal process will result in being classified as a fully taxable entity for DC income tax purposes. DC OTR has already started sending out notices to organizations, Notice of Upcoming Exemptions Expiration, informing them of the new requirement. DC OTR will send organizations an additional notice at least 30 days before the actual expiration date of their tax exemptions.

    The renewal process requires a not-for-profits organization to log into their respective accounts and complete the online form FR-164 application. Paper applications will no longer be accepted.


    not-for-profits may need to provide the following documents if they are not already uploaded in the portal:

    • If incorporated in DC, a certificate of incorporation is required. If not incorporated in DC, a certificate of registration is required.
    • An IRS determination letter. Please note that if the determination letter is more than four years old, the not-for-profits will need to also include an affirmation letter from the IRS. Such a letter must be dated within the past year.
    • If applying for sales and use and personal property tax exemptions, a current certificate of occupancy or lease showing proof of physical location in DC.

    After a not-for-profits tax-exempt application is approved, DC OTR will provide a new exemption certificate which will have an expiration date. Not-for-Profits organizations will be required to recertify every five years from the date of issuance on the exemption certificate (DC Form FR-164 will need to be completed again online).

    Requesting an affirmation letter

    A not-for-profits organization may request an affirmation letter by contacting the IRS Exempt Organization Customer Account Services via telephone, mail, or fax. The request must include the organization’s full name and employer identification number, and it must be signed by an authorized officer or trustee of the organization.


    Lori Yokobosky, CPA, Partner, Not-for-Profit & Education Practice
    (973) 403-6940

    Subject matter expertise

    • Lori Yokobosky headshot
      Contact Lori Lori+Yokobosky
      Lori Yokobosky

      CPA, MST, Partner & Exempt Organizations Tax Services Leader

    • Close


      Let’s start a conversation about your company’s strategic goals and vision for the future.

      Please fill all required fields*

      Please verify your information and check to see if all require fields have been filled in.

      Please select job function
      Please select job level
      Please select country
      Please select state
      Please select industry
      Please select topic

    Any advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues. Nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. This has been prepared for information purposes and general guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining specific professional advice specific to, among other things, your individual facts, circumstances and jurisdiction. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is made as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication, and CohnReznick LLP, its partners, employees and agents accept no liability, and disclaim all responsibility, for the consequences of you or anyone else acting, or refraining to act, in reliance on the information contained in this publication or for any decision based on it.