UC’s Tax-Exempt Status Overview

UC’s Tax-Exempt Status Overview

February 26, 2014

The University of California was incorporated and established as a state university in 1868, and declared an educational institution exempt from income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

When vendors request:

  • Information verifying the University's exempt status — Vendors may be provided with the University Ruling Letter from the Internal Revenue Service (see Related Information).
  • Form 990 — As a state university the University is not required to file Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (under section 115(a) of the Internal Revenue Code).

Colleges and universities of states and other governmental units, as well as subsidiary corporations wholly owned by such colleges and universities, are subject to the Form 990-T filing requirements. This form is used to report unrelated business activities — revenue-producing activities that:

  • are not directly related to accomplishing the University's educational and research missions.
  • are conducted for the primary purpose of earning a profit.

The University of California system files a combined Form 990-T annually. To help determine if an income producing activity is an unrelated business activity, see the article under Related Information.

Departments engaged in unrelated business activities that provide sales and service activities are required to contact Tax Services.