The original version of today’s section 501(c)(3) (which governs charitable organizations) was signed into law on October 3, 1913. The original law has been expanded since 1913, with additions of recognizing exemption for literary organizations, organizations that prevent cruelty to children or animals, organizations that test for public safety, and organizations that foster national or international amateur sports competition.
Some restrictions on exempt organizations have also been added since 1913. For example, the prohibition against attempting to influence legislation wasn’t added until 1934 and the prohibition against political intervention wasn’t added until 1954.
Check out a full history of the law here.
And while the exempt organization law turns 100, the IRS has limited operations due to the government shutdown. No live telephone customer service assistance is available and walk-in taxpayer assistance centers are closed. It is also likely that the IRS has stopped reviewing exemption applications, adding to the ever increasing review time.
Let us know how this is affecting your exemption application in the comments below.