Student Groups

UNC-CH Officially Recognized Student Groups

CAUTION: It is a myth that, as a student organization “officially recognized by the University,” all fund raising activities by your student group are automatically tax exempt. The University recognizes only a limited number (less than fifteen) of student organizations for the purpose of carrying out delegated responsibilities as an agent for the University. All other student groups are independent of the University and, therefore, should not assume that its income is automatically tax exempt. In addition, should a student group be sued for breach of contract or its negligent conduct, the University may not be obligated to provide a legal defense for the group.

If you have been recognized as a “University-affiliated student group,” as distinguished from a “University-sponsored student group,” your group may seek legal advice from CSLS, Inc. The majority of student organizations operate as unincorporated associations without formal recognition by the State of North Carolina or the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt non-profit. It is important to have legal advice about the advantages and disadvantages of seeking official tax exempt recognition. Many groups work with the Division of University Advancement. With approval from that department, a student group may solicit tax exempt contributions payable to UNC-CH with instructions that the gift be earmarked for your student organization.

For a more complete discussion of legal issues that student organizations should consider reading the student organization handbook here.

Related Links

  1. IRS: Life Cycle of a Non-Profit