Securing Nonprofit Status in Ten Fairly Easy Steps
Part of the Nonprofit Kit For Dummies Cheat Sheet
The most important aspect of being a nonprofit organization is having nonprofit status in the eyes of the IRS, or Internal Revenue Service. Take the following steps to gain nonprofit status for your organization:
Choose a name for your nonprofit. While you’re at it, select and reserve a Web domain name.
Form your organization’s incorporating board of directors.
Obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number, or EIN, for your organization by submitting IRS Form SS-4. You can find a copy of this form on the IRS Web site.
Write Articles of Incorporation and submit them, with the required fee, to the appropriate office in your state government.
Develop organizational bylaws for your nonprofit. Bylaws are the rules by which your organization will operate.
Hold your nonprofit’s first board meeting and take minutes.
Review IRS Publication 557, which shows instructions for filing for tax exemption. Visit the IRS Web site to download this publication.
File IRS Form 1023 if you’re applying to become a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, preferably within 27 months of the date of incorporation. The latest version of Form 1023 can be found on the IRS Web site.
Sit back and relax. Celebrate when your letter of determination arrives!
Register your nonprofit as a charity in your state.
Note: When securing nonprofit status for your organization, you don’t have to follow these steps exactly as we’ve ordered them here.