3 Application for Authorization
3-1 Original Mailing Office
A responsible official of the organization must apply for an authorization to mail
at the Nonprofit Standard Mail (nonprofit) rates at each Post Office where the
organization plans to enter mailings. The initial application for nonprofit
authorization and any subsequent applications to mail at other Post Offices
require specific forms and documentation, as we will discuss in this chapter.
Required documentation includes proof of the organization's nonprofit status
and evidence that the organization meets one of the qualifying categories.
Qualified political committees and voting registration officials are exempt from
the requirement to document nonprofit status. (See 3-1.5.)
3-1.2 Completing PS Form 3624
To begin the process, complete PS Form 3624, Application to Mail at
Nonprofit Standard Mail Rates (PS Form 3624). This application is available
on Postal Explorer at pe.usps.com, as well as in print at any Post Office or
business mail entry unit. The postmaster or the district business mail entry
manager can answer questions about completing the form.
3-1.3 General Documentation Requirements
Organizations other than qualified political committees and voting registration
officials must attach copies of the following documents to the PS Form 3624
to support the organization's eligibility for nonprofit rates:
• Formative papers. Formative papers describe the organization's
primary purpose. These papers include articles of incorporation,
constitution, trust indenture, charter endorsed by appropriate civil
authorities enabling legislation, or other organizing instrument.
• Evidence of nonprofit status. Evidence of the organization's nonprofit
status may be a copy of the tax exemption letter from the Internal
Revenue Service (IRS). This letter shows the organization's exemption
from the payment of federal income tax and cites the section of the
Internal Revenue Code under which the organization is exempt - e.g.,
26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3).
Alternatively, provide a complete financial statement from an independent
auditor - such as a certified public accountant - substantiating that the
organization is a nonprofit organization. Statements from officers of the
applicant organization, internal financial statements, or other internal
documents are not sufficient.
3-1.4 Additional Documents Concerning Operation
Also, provide as many of the following documents as possible:
• List of activities. This list shows the activities that the organization
engaged in during the past 12 months.
• Financial statement for the purpose of substantiating operational activities,
e.g., expenditures on "qualifying activities." This statement details the
organization's receipts and expenditures for the past fiscal year and
includes a copy of the organization's budget for the current year.
• Other documents of operation. These documents include the
organization's bulletins, minutes of meetings, brochures, membership
solicitation materials, annual report(s), and similar papers that show
how the organization operates.
3-1.5 Qualified Political Committees and Voting
Qualified political committees and voting registration officials also must
complete PS Form 3624 and provide appropriate documents with their
applications as follows:
• Qualified political committees must submit organizational or other
documents substantiating that the committee is the state or national
committee of the political party.
• Voting registration officials must submit a copy of the statute,
ordinance, or other authority establishing responsibility for voter
3-1.6 Submitting Application
Take the completed PS Form 3624 and supporting documents to the Post
Office where the organization intends to mail. Request a copy of the
application that has been date-stamped by postal personnel.
The Post Office will review the application and documentation for
completeness, and then forward the application file to the Pricing and
Classification Service Center (PCSC) in New York. The PCSC may request
additional information before approving or denying the application. (Be sure
to provide any requested information within the specified timeframe.) The
PCSC manager will notify the organization directly of its decision on the
If the documentation is complete, the review process normally takes two
weeks. If additional information is needed to substantiate eligibility, the
process can take longer.
While the application for authorization to mail at nonprofit rates is pending,
the organization must pay postage at the applicable rates for First-Class
Mail® or regular Standard Mail (regular rates).
Refunds are not available for mailings entered as First-Class Mail. To qualify
for any refund of postage for mailings entered at the regular Standard Mail
rates, make arrangements with the postmaster to mail under a deposit
system while the application is pending.
If the PCSC approves the application, the organization is eligible for a refund
of the difference in postage between the regular rates deposited and the
applicable nonprofit rates for mailings entered on and after the effective date
of the application.
The effective date is the date when the organization filed the application or
the date when the organization first met the eligibility requirements for the
nonprofit rates, whichever is later.
3-1.7 Appealing Denied Application
The PCSC will provide the organization with written notification if the
organization is found ineligible for the nonprofit rates. The organization may
file a written appeal of the denial within 15 days. Submit the appeal to the
postmaster at the Post Office where the application was filed. The postmaster
then will forward the appeal with the supporting documentation to the PCSC.
The appeal letter should include, or have attached, any new evidence or
arguments on which the organization is basing the appeal. You may, for
example, include further proof of the organization's nonprofit status or a more
comprehensive description of the organization's activities during the past
12 months, if these were factors in the PCSC's decision to deny the
After reviewing any additional information, the PCSC may reverse its decision
and approve the application. If not, the appeal and supporting documentation
will be sent to the manager of Mailing Standards at USPS Headquarters in
Washington, DC, who will issue the final agency decision.