The IRS’ difficulties with tax exempts has been front page news for several months. Unfortunately, the consequences of missing emails and political shenanigans have affected all tax exempt applications, even those created to serve traditional charitable, educational, scientific and religious missions. These "mainstream" applications historically have been reviewed and approved in six months or less. However, incredibly, I know from personal experience that it can now take as long as a year before an application is even assigned to an IRS agent, much less reviewed and approved.
With continuing budgetary and political challenges, this lengthy period is unlikely to improve. However, the IRS recently did release a Form, "1023-EZ," which provides a streamline application process designed to expedite the filing process. Although the IRS estimates the 1023-EZ may benefit as many as 70% of all applicants, its applicability is limited to organizations with gross receipts of $50,000 or less and assets of $250,000 or less. And some organizations, such as churches, schools and hospitals, are prohibited from using the form regardless of financial requirements.