A free, online copy of a 501(c)(3) application form is available through IRS.gov. The form number is 1023 and it's found in the Charities and Non-Profit section of the website. There are a number of resources and help documents available on IRS.gov, including Publication 4220, Applying for 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt Status.
A 501(c)(3) is a tax-exempt, charitable organization as outlined under the Internal Revenue Code. These entities cannot operate or organize for private interests, companies or individuals, and they have very limited ability to participate in lobbying and political activities.
A 501(c)(3) organization is eligible to receive tax-deductible donations. Any individual or company that donates money or goods to these tax-exempt entities is able to deduct those costs from their federal taxes.
Organizations seeking to obtain 501(c)(3) status must submit a formal application to the IRS along with its articles of incorporation or bylaws. Smaller groups may be eligible to file Form 1023-EZ, Streamlined Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. This is a shorter and easier form, since Form 1023 is very daunting and complicated and there are numerous tax and legal technicalities the applicant must understand when completing the 501 (c)(3) application.