Getting Started on Your Nonprofit Application a Guide
Starting a 501c3 organization is a time-consuming process that requires a high degree of legal expertise and experience4 min read
Starting a 501c3 organization is a time-consuming process that requires a high degree of legal expertise and experience. The process is incredibly complex and involves complying with an array of laws and regulations, filing paperwork, and obtaining the necessary tax exemptions. WithUpCounsel, you’ll receive the legal support and counsel you need to get your 501c3 application successfully off the ground.
The 501c3 process is typically a long and intricate one, and it can be difficult to understand how to get started and understand the legal requirements pertaining to the 501c3 process. Below, we provide a comprehensive guide on how to get started on your 501c3 application and the legal requirements for those based in New York.
Create a Comprehensive Plan
The first step is to create a comprehensive plan to include the specifics of how you intend to operate the organization, how you would like to use the finances, and how you will manage the organization. This will be incorporated into the 501c3 application process and used to identify the mission of the organization. This plan can take time to develop and requires extensive research on how to properly structure an organization, and is just one of the numerous components of the application process.
Obtain the Necessary Tax Documents
Next, you’ll need to obtain the necessary tax documents for your 501c3 application, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 1023. This document needs to be completed and submitted to the IRS to be approved as a tax-exempt organization, as it is required to be held in every 501c3 application. Additionally, you’ll need to include the IRS Form 557 which regulates the organization’s filing history, including the organization’s name.
Have Your 501c3 Rules Written up by a Professional
The regulations of a 501c3 organization are extensive and complex, and require assistance from a professional. You’ll need to have your 501c3 rules written up by a knowledgeable legal adviser, as it contains all the information relevant to the organization, such as the organization’s purpose and activities, and this will be reviewed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) during the application process. You’ll need to have your 501c3 application reviewed by a qualified UpCounsel attorney to ensure accuracy and compliance with IRS regulations.
File the Required Paperwork
You will need to file the proper paperwork for your 501c3 application, which includes registering with the state for your organization’s nonprofit status. It’s important to note that each state has different regulations, so you should be familiar with the laws that apply to 501c3 applications in New York. You will also need to file paperwork with the IRS to outline your organization’s mission and goals.
Appoint a Board of Directors
You’ll need to appoint a Board of Directors who will manage the organization’s activities and finances and oversee the mission and goals of the organization. A minimum of three persons are typically required to serve on the board. The board should have at least three members and can be composed of members of the organization, and all members of the board must be screened and approved by the organization.
Arrange Record-Keeping Practices
Once all the initial paperwork and documents are filed, you must establish record-keeping practices to maintain the organization’s records and ensure that financial obligations and activities are properly documented. All records should be documented carefully and retained for a minimum of 7 years, in accordance with IRS regulations. You should also keep accurate records of the organization’s income, expenses, and investments.
Find the Right Attorney
It is important to find a knowledgeable and experienced attorney in order to ensure that the 501c3 application process is successful and compliant with all regulations. A knowledgeable attorney will have the legal expertise and experience needed to properly manage the 501c3 application process, can explain how to structure the organization, and provide further advice on the legal requirements for 501c3 applications if needed.
Once you have secured the necessary tax exemptions for the organization, you can begin to apply for and secure funding for your organization. There are numerous avenues to consider, such as grants from the government, private foundations, and donations from individuals. You should create a clear and organized plan for how you intend to use the funds and where you want the organization to go in the future.
Comply With Continuing Legal Requirements
After the 501c3 application is approved, the responsible parties must comply with all continuing legal requirements. This may include filing additional paperwork, such as annual tax forms and filing the organization’s financial statements with the state, as well as submitting regular reports on the organization’s activities to the IRS. It is important to keep accurate records of all organizational activities and ensure that the organization remains in compliance with all regulations.
The 501c3 application process is extremely complex and requires extensive knowledge and understanding of the IRS regulations, state laws, and filing requirements. With UpCounsel, you’ll be provided with the skilled legal advice and counsel needed to manage the process successfully. Whether you need a one-time consult or a full freelance legal department, UpCounsel’s network of experienced and knowledgeable attorneys has you covered.