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So you want to do good? Tips for setting up a not-for-profit

So you want to do good? Tips for setting up a not-for-profit

There are many steps that must be taken both under federal and state laws to establish and register a non-profit charitable organization.

(1) Set up and register as a corporation

In Florida, the organization must be set up as a non-profit corporation with the Florida Division of Corporations, similar to the filing for a regular corporation.  The non-profit organization must select a business name in compliance with Florida state law and must pay a fee to register the entity in Florida.  The organization must also adopt corporate bylaws setting forth the operating rules for the non-profit entity and selecting its initial board of directors.

(2) Get tax-exempt status

Non-profit entities should also apply for and obtain tax-exempt status from the IRS and from the state of Florida.  A non-profit organization must complete a detailed application, known as Form 1023, with the IRS to be classified as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.  The application must include detailed information regarding the organization, its purpose, and its financial projections that will be reviewed by the IRS to determine whether the organization qualifies for tax-exempt status.

(3) Know the Florida rules for soliciting

If the IRS determines that the organization qualifies as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt entity, donors who contribute to the non-profit will be able to make donations that are tax deductible, to the extent permitted by law.  Further, if the organization plans to solicit donations from the general public, the entity must also register with the State of Florida through the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The process of applying for and obtaining tax-exempt status for a non-profit is often complex and time-consuming.  Consulting with an attorney knowledgeable in non-profit formation will likely save you time and the headaches that will result from missteps throughout the process.   At The Hulse Law Office, we will guide you through the application process to ensure that your non-profit organization is properly registered with any necessary entities so that you can focus on pursuing your charitable mission.


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