Federal Tax Status of Scout Units

The IRS recognizes the Boy Scouts of America National Council as tax exempt under IRS Section 501(c)(3). Through an IRS-granted group exemption, this status is extended to local councils and council trust funds. The tax exempt status of the Boy Scouts of America does not extend to, nor include, any Scout packs, troops, crews or other units, and no Scout units may be included within the BSA group exemption for the National Council. They are not subordinate organizations, and this is an IRS restriction.

Units must obtain their own Employer Identification Number (EIN) or use the EIN of the chartering organization. Under no circumstances can a unit use either the EIN of the council or the BSA's group exemption number for purposes of gifts, federal taxes, or other related purposes. If a unit's chartering organization is tax exempt, and it allows the unit to use its EIN (or includes the unit under their group exemption), the unit could then be considered tax exempt as a subordinate of that organization. Gifts to the unit would be tax deductible as gifts to the chartering organization.

Also, units should not apply for their own independent tax exempt status. Article XI or the BSA Charter and Bylaws states that "Contributions shall be solicited in the name of the Boy Scouts of America only through or by the authority of the Corporation and shall be limited to the National Council or chartered local councils...." Also, the BSA Rules and Regulations vests in each council power to "control the raising and expenditure of all funds for local Scouting work in their jurisdiction."

Application for an Employer Identification Number

IRS Form SS-4 (pdf) is used to request an employer ID number from the IRS. This is needed to open a bank account for a Scouting unit unless the unit is allowed to use the EIN of the chartering organization (see above).

IRS instructions for Form SS-4 (pdf).

Additional instructions for BSA units (pdf).