TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / Small Business Taxes / Are 501C3 Stock Investment Profits Tax-Exempt?

Are 501C3 Stock Investment Profits Tax-Exempt?

Updated for Tax Year 2016


OVERVIEW

As long as a 501(c)(3) corporation maintains its eligibility as a tax-exempt organization, it will not have to pay tax on any profits.


Entities organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code are generally exempt from most forms of federal income tax, which includes income and capital gains tax on stock dividends and gains on sales. As long as the 501(c)(3) corporation maintains its eligibility as a tax-exempt organization, it will not have to pay tax on any profits.

Purpose of 501(c)(3) organizations

Congress has long recognized the importance of charitable and philanthropic organizations. Often, these organizations work hand-in-hand with the government serving the needy, revitalizing urban areas, protecting the environment and educating the public. Certain organizations formed with the public good as their paramount mission can apply for tax-exempt status. This allows them to reinvest the full amount of money it earns and raises since no tax is ever due to the IRS.

Qualifying for tax-exempt status

To qualify for tax-exempt status, an organization must be formed and operate for the benefit of the public good. Organizations applying for tax-exempt status must refrain from excessive lobbying activities that influence changes in the legislative process and avoid partisan political activity, although some exceptions are made for state and local political party chapters. However, a large majority of the organization’s activities must always further a charitable purpose. Any activity engaged in for profit can potentially cause the organization to lose its tax-exempt status.

Treatment of stock investment profits

Tax-exempt entities raise money to fund their activities in many ways. This can include soliciting donations at fundraising events and making investments in stock portfolios. However, the IRS doesn’t treat donations any differently than the profits the organization earns when making investments. As a result, the IRS does not impose income tax when a stock investment pays dividends or when it sells the stock for more than it purchased it for. And since 501(c)(3) organizations can receive donations of stock that are deductible to the donor, the tax savings to the organization are significant when it pays nothing for the stock.

Informational tax returns

Tax-exempt organizations report their income from stock investments on Form 990, which is the annual informational return tax-exempt organizations must file. Although 501(c)(3) organizations don’t pay tax, the IRS requires them to report revenue and expenses just like a company that is subject to tax.

One of the purposes of the form is so the IRS can ensure that the organization is continuing to fulfill the mission for which it was given the tax-exempt status. Furthermore, the information on the form allows the IRS to verify that employees and founders of the organization are not benefitting from the tax-exempt status above receiving reasonable salaries for their time.

Perfect for independent contractors
and businesses

Find more tax deductions so you can keep more of the money you earn with TurboTax Self-Employed.

For only $114.99$89.99*
Start for Free

Looking for more information?

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.


Security is built into everything we do
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • TURBOTAX ONLINE/MOBILE

  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Free 1040EZ/1040A + Free State offer only available with TurboTax Federal Free Edition; Offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • TurboTax Self-Employed ExpenseFinder: ExpenseFinder™ is available year round as a feature of QuickBooks Self-Employed (available with TurboTax Self-Employed, see the “QuickBooks Self-Employed Offer with TurboTax Self-Employed” details below.) ExpenseFinder™ expected late January (late February for mobile app). ExpenseFinder™ not available from within TurboTax Self-Employed for people with certain types of expenses and tax situations including paying contractors or employees, home office or vehicle actuals, inventory, self employed health insurance or retirement, asset depreciation, sale of property or vehicles, and farm income. Availability of historical transactions for import may vary by financial institution. Not available for all financial institutions or all credit cards.
  • QuickBooks Self-Employed Offer: File your 2016 TurboTax Self-Employed return by 4/18/17 and receive your complimentary subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed until 4/30/18. Activation required. Log in to QuickBooks Self-Employed by 7/15/17 via mobile app or at https://selfemployed.intuit.com/turbotax; e-mail address used for activation and log-in. Offer valid only for new QuickBooks Self-Employed customers. See QuickBooks.com for price comparison.
    • When you use TurboTax Self-Employed to file your 2017 taxes, you will have the option to renew your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription. If you do not file with TurboTax Self-Employed by 4/18/18, you will have the option of renewing your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription by 4/30/18 for another year at the then-current annual subscription rate. You may cancel your subscription at any time from within the QuickBooks Self-Employed billing section.
  • Pays for itself: In order to pay for the price of TurboTax Self-Employed, you will need at least $600 in deductible business expenses. This calculation is based on the self-employment tax income rate for tax year 2016.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Expert Help, Tax Advice and SmartLook: Included with Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed (via phone or SmartLook); not included with Federal Free Edition. Feature availability varies by device. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • CompleteCheck: Covered under the TurboTax accurate calculations and maximum refund guarantees.
  • TURBOTAX CD/DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE

  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for e-filing state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except TurboTax Business.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice via phone is included with Premier and Home & Business; fees apply for Basic and Deluxe customers. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Data Import: Imports financial data from participating companies. Quicken and QuickBooks import not available with TurboTax installed on a Mac. Imports from Quicken (2015 and higher) and QuickBooks Desktop (2011 and higher); both Windows only. Quicken import not available for TurboTax Business. Quicken products provided by Quicken Inc., Quicken import subject to change.