Scope of the Arizona Nonprofit Sector


CongregationsAlthough religious congregations are required to meet the legal requirements of Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3), they are not required to obtain official recognition from the IRS. Most congregations, however, choose to become officially IRS-recognized as a public charity.

Data from ReferenceUSA show that, as of 2019, there were an estimated 3,560 congregations in Arizona, of which approximately 1,550 were IRS-recognized (IRS Exempt Organization Business Master File Extract). The chart below illustrates the location of congregations by Arizona county. The shades on the counties indicate the number of congregations per 1,000 people.

It is estimated that congregations received approximately $1.8 billion in donations in 2012, an estimate based on the Arizona Giving and Volunteering study, which found that 42 percent of households gave to religious purposes in 2008 at an average of $1,772 per household.

Congregations that filed a 990 form in Arizona

Form Type Number of Filers
990 61
990EZ 22
990N 142


Source: IRS EO BMF 2018 and ReferenceUSA 2019

Congregations are not required to file an annual 990 form, and most of them do not. In 2015 only six percent of congregations registered with the IRS filed one.

Number of congregations in Arizona counties and number of congregations per capita

Source: ReferenceUSA