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3 Application for Authorization

3-1 Original Mailing Office

3-1.1 General

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.

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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 Registration Officials

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 registration.

3-1.6 Submitting Application

3-1.6.1 Where to File

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.

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3-1.6.2 Review Process

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 application.

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.

3-1.6.3 Refund for Mailings While Application Pending

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

3-1.7.1 Notification

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.

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3-1.7.2 Appeal Letter

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 application.

3-1.7.3 Final Decision

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.

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