I’m a CPA and have been engaged in tax practice since 1988. EINs do not expire.
The IRS will deactivate and EIN when the entity to which it is assigned is dissolved (or deemed dissolved) or the individual to whom it is assigned dies. (Individuals need an EIN, if they have employees they pay personally. These may be people employed as part of the individual’s business as a sole proprietor or as household employees.) An entity may be deemed dissolved under unusual circumstances, Most commonly, this happens with certain types of trusts which outlive their creators. The IRS considers the trust to have ended at the moment of the creator’s death and a new trust to have come into existence immediately afterward, even though the trust’s legal existence was uninterrupted. This doesn’t happen with all trusts but only with certain types.
Something else is wrong, because if the organization to which the EIN was assigned still exists, then it still uses the same EIN.
The IRS maintains a database of organizations to which deductible charitable contributions may be made that is searchable by EIN. If your pack’s EIN has been removed from the list, anyone donating money to your pack may not claim a charitable contribution deduction. However, people can still legally donate money to the pack (unless it has been designated a terrorist organization or categorized in some way as an illegal entity). I don’t say that to be a wiseguy. Things like that happen when mistakes are made.
The most common reason a 501( c )(3) organization is removed from the list is failure to file required reports. A single failure will not do it, so if this is the reason for removal, it has gone on for an extended period of time and not been addressed. However, it is pure speculation as to the reason.
The IRS would have sent notices to the organization before taking this action. It is possible they were sent to an old address where the pack can no longer receive mail. This could be a corporate services company, an attorney’s office or the address of a former volunteer.
Most BSA units don’t need their own EIN. If the chartered organization is a section 501( c )(3) organization, the pack’s accounts can be set up as accounts of the organization, and donations can be deducted by contributors based on having been made to the chartered organization (or one of its youth programs, i.e. Scouting).
If the chartered organization is not a section 501( c ) (3) organization, a BSA unit can apply for its own EIN and for status as a 501( c ) (3). That would allow donors to the unit to claim charitable contribution deductions. It also may afford the unit other benefits like exemption from sales and use tax in some states or exemption from property taxes. An example of a non-501( c )(3) that might charter a BSA unit would be a chamber of commerce. While such an organization may be generally exempt from income tax, it is not formed for charitable purposes and those who make contributions to it may not claim charitable deductions (but may be able to claim business deductions, if the situation warrants).
I suggest you have someone authorized to act on behalf of the organization contact the IRS and try to find the source of the problem.
P.S. I had to put a space before and after the c, separating it from the parentheses, because, if I didn’t, it renders like this: 501©(3), and there’s no way to change it.