Nonprofit Formation and Registration

You have a great idea for a new nonprofit. So what’s next?

Let Copilevitz, Lam & Raney guide you through the process of nonprofit formation, creating a tax-exempt organization and many other types of charities and foundations. We specialize in helping you establish the right type of tax-exempt structure to meet the mission and goals of your nonprofit.

From drafting articles of incorporation and bylaws – to support with documentation for state compliance, annual reporting requirements and sound corporate record keeping practices. We also provide counsel on questions involving UBIT, royalties, private benefit and more. To learn more about obtaining tax-exempt status from the IRS and for your state, download Applying for 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status.

Contact Copilevitz Lam & Raney for more information on nonprofit formation and registration services.

Steps to Create a Nonprofit

Legal requirements will vary from state to state and according to the type of charity or tax-exempt organization you want to establish. In general, the process includes the following steps:

  • Create by-laws as a 501(c)(3) charitable, education or religious organization

  • Establish a governing board

  • Draft articles of incorporation as a nonprofit corporation for the state(s) in which the organization will operate

  • Obtain tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the state(s) of operation

Get Started with Registration

Currently, 45 states require some type of registration for charitable organizations while several more are now considering new legislation to enact this requirement. In addition, charities and nonprofits are required to file their registration in each applicable state prior to soliciting for public support.

Several key steps are required for registration:

  • Complete a general information form

  • Submit the organization’s last financial statement and/or tax returns

  • Include a listing of the officers and directors

  • Provide copy of the origination document

  • Be sure to include the charitable organization’s tax exempt determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service.

  • An annual report and renewal registration are often required. Reporting and renewal dates vary from state to state.

We have a staff of more than 30 compliance professionals and paralegals with significant experience in preparing regulatory filings and dealing with state charity officials.  We can also provide assistance with contract drafting, script disclosure compliance and coordination of in-house and outsourced fund raising campaigns to maintain compliance with all applicable legal requirements.

IRS Issues

Earning tax-exempt status as a nonprofit organization from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) calls for a unique set of filing requirements, disclosure requirements and recordkeeping requirements under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Copilevitz, Lam & Raney can offer guidelines on these areas as well as information about executive compensation, excess benefits, legal dissolution and other important IRS rules and procedures.

Establishing your Articles of Incorporation

Essential for creation of every nonprofit are the articles of incorporation (or charter, constitution, articles of association, etc.) to be filed with a state’s corporate filing office. According to the IRS, your nonprofit must be a corporation, community chest, fund or foundation to receive tax-exempt status.

The articles of incorporation/association typically describe the purpose and basic structure of the organization, its registered agent, registered office address, directors/members and information on tax exemption. View a sample 501(c)(3) articles of incorporation.