You must begin the application process for tax-exempt status by obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Note: Do not let the word "Employer" throw you off. Even though AVOs by definition will have no employees, the EIN still represents the identification number used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (PA) as the unique identifying number for a nonprofit organization, even when it does not have any employees. The EIN can be obtained by filing through a fax submission or by mail an IRS Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number (A pdf version of the form can be found here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fss4.pdf) or by calling the IRS toll-free at (866) 816-2065. However, the most convenient method for AVOs would be to submit all required information in an online version of the form that can be found at: https://sa.www4.irs.gov/modiein/individual/index.jsp
If using the online version first click on the button "Begin Application" at the bottom of the first screen. Be sure to click "View Additional Types, Including Tax-Exempt and Governmental Organizations " and "Other Non-Profit/Tax-Exempt Organizations" as choices on the screens where this is requested. The application must be completed in one session.