The number of charities and private foundations registered with the Internal Revenue Service increased by 4.3 percent from 2008 to 2009, reaching a total of more than 1.2 million, according to figures released by the tax agency.
The percentage increase was slightly less than the rate that had been reported for the two previous years.
The IRS figures show that the number of groups classified under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code rose by 51,286 between 2008 and 2009.
In 2009, a total of 1,238,201 charities and foundations were registered with the federal government, compared with 1,186,915 in 2008.
The number of groups classified under Section 501(c)(3) has increased by nearly 90 percent since 1996, when the IRS counted a total of 654,186 of them.
The number of all charitable organizations increased by 5.2 percent from 2007 to 2008; 6 percent from 2006 to 2007; 1.7 percent from 2005 to 2006; 3.5 percent from 2004 to 2005; and 4.8 percent from 2003 to 2004.
In 2009, 70,623 groups applied to the IRS for charity status. The IRS approved 42,484 applications and denied 472. The remaining 27,667 applications fell through for a variety of reasons. For example, some organizations withdrew their applications or failed to furnish required information.
The IRS acknowledges that an unknown number of the groups classified under Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code are still on the agency's books, even though they have shut down.
The statistics from the IRS show that the total number of tax-exempt organizations classified under all parts of Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code rose by 61,662, or 3.6 percent, from 2008 to 2009.
The statistics were published in the Internal Revenue Service's Data Book for 2009, in tables 24 and 25.