The process of AZ non profit registration requires you to follow certain steps, depending on what type of non-profit organization you plan to form.

Starting Your Non-Profit

The first decision you will need to make when starting a non-profit in the state of Arizona is whether it will be a 501(c)(3) organization or a different type. You should also create a mission statement for the organization, starting with a more broad and generalized idea of what the organization plans to accomplish. You can always pare down the mission statement with more specific details down the road.

For many people, the process of forming this type of organization requires some repetition of thought and careful attention to detail, ensuring that important information isn't left off during the planning stage.

501(c)(3) and Other Types of Non-profits

The two types of non-profit organizations recognized by the state of Arizona are:

  • Non-tax-exempt.
  • Tax-exempt.

The majority of non-profits formed in the state are registered as 501(c)(3) organizations, which exist for any of the following purposes:

  • Literary.
  • Religious.
  • Scientific.
  • Charitable.
  • Educational.

A 501(c)(3) organization is eligible for exemption from state and federal tax.

An organization formed for charitable purposes doesn't have to be incorporated. When forming this type of organization, the first step is forming a non-profit corporation under Arizona state law. You can then file a form with the IRS to request tax-exemption, as well as a separate form to become exempt from Arizona state taxes.

Considerations for Creating a Non-Profit

Forming a non-profit organization comes with several main advantages:

  • When you incorporate the organization, this process forms a legal entity that exists separately from the owners. Forming a corporation creates a legal buffer between the organization and its members, trustees, officers, and others involved in the management and leadership. Any assets owned by the corporation only belong to the business, which could potentially be seized by creditors or during legal action. However, personal assets wouldn't be at risk.
  • In the state of Arizona, some non-profit organizations qualify for tax-exemption, which means they don't have to pay corporate income tax.
  • The tax-exempt status could also impact the requirement to pay property taxes on the organization's property.

These are the disadvantages:

  • Losing control over the business. If it's important to you to maintain control, independence, and autonomy in running the organization, this business status may not be a good fit.
  • A non-profit organization is not owned by its stockholders or individual members. The employment of the CEO is up to the board of directors.
  • Planning to form a non-profit organization takes a lot of effort and time.

Forms for Creating a Non-profit

Before you can form and run a non-profit organization in the state of Arizona, you must complete and file several required forms.

The minimum forms include:

  • Corporate filings cover sheet.
  • A copy of the Articles of Incorporation (applies to both tax-exempt and non-tax-exempt organizations).
  • Application for the authority to conduct affairs in the state.
  • Certificate of disclosure for financial institutions and corporations.
  • All annual financial reports for the organization.

Additional documents may be required to avoid issues and make sure that the organization runs smoothly. Some examples of these documents and forms include:

  • Application for new authority of foreign non-profit corporations.
  • Application for reservation of a corporate name.
  • Articles of an amendment for non-profit corporations.
  • Application to register the name of a foreign corporation.
  • Articles of Domestication for non-profit corporations.
  • Application for renewal of registered name.

How to Retain Your Non-Profit Status

After completing the steps to form a non-profit corporation, you must continue to follow all required guidelines to maintain the corporation's status. The first requirement is to file the Articles of Incorporation with the Arizona Corporation Commission. Those articles must also be published in three consecutive issues of a newspaper that has general circulation in the area. The next step is making decisions about who will serve as officers, directors, and members of the organization.

What it Costs to Form an Arizona Non-Profit

When filing the Articles of Incorporation for a domestic non-profit organization in Arizona, the fee is $40. If you need expedited filing, the fee is $75. Other fees apply when you're filing an application for authority to conduct affairs as a foreign non-profit, filing Articles of Domestication, or applying to reserve a name.

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