If you need to know how to start a nonprofit organization in Las Vegas, you'll want to start by finding out the regulations in Nevada that nonprofits have to follow. Starting a nonprofit is the ideal way to turn a passion for helping others into a reality. Nonprofits in the State of Nevada are eligible for state and federal tax exemptions.

Overview: Nonprofit Organizations in Nevada

A majority of nonprofits are 501(c)(3) organizations, meaning that they're created for charitable, religious, literary, scientific, or educational purposes. All nonprofits are focused on benefiting their community and helping others. It's important to do some research to make sure that there's a need for a nonprofit organization in your community. If other similar organizations currently exist, it may be a good idea to consider working together in order to combine resources.

How to Form a Nevada Nonprofit Corporation

There are eight steps involved in forming a nonprofit organization in the state of Nevada.

  1. Select the directors. A nonprofit corporation is required to have a minimum of one director. All directors must be at least 18 years old. A list of directors, officers, and the registered agent must be submitted to the state one month prior to filing the Articles of Incorporation and annually thereafter.
  2. Select a business name. The name of the nonprofit corporation must be unique and distinguishable from all other business entities filed with the Nevada Secretary of State (SOS). Also, the name of a person is not allowed unless it's followed by such words as "Inc.," "Incorporated," "Limited," or some other identifier indicating that it's not an individual. Additionally, there are restrictions on certain words including "engineer," "trust," and "architect."
    • The business name of the nonprofit corporation must not be emblematic of a purpose other than the one in which the organization is being established.
    • Additional name restrictions can be found in NRS 82.106/086/096.
    • The SOS website allows you to search their business name database to see if your business name is available.
  3. Create and file the Articles of Incorporation. Nonprofits are required to prepare and file Articles of Incorporation with the SOS. The SOS provides applicants with an example of the Articles of Incorporation. Many believe that the Articles of Incorporation are the most significant document governing the functions of the nonprofit corporation. Remember, the statutes were recently updated by the Nevada SOS. They will describe the specific guidelines that must be followed when creating the Articles of Incorporation.
  4. Assign a registered agent. The registered agent is the party that's responsible for accepting legal notices for the nonprofit corporation. The registered agent must:
    • Have a physical address in Nevada.
    • Manage an office that has regular working business hours.
  5. Implement and file the Articles of Incorporation. The articles must have duplicate copies that are signed by all incorporators and the registered agent.
  6. Create bylaws. The bylaws will need to satisfy Nevada corporate law and must contain the procedures and rules that the business will follow for:
    • Electing directors and officers.
    • Holding meetings.
    • Meeting corporate requirements and formalities.

The bylaws are essentially an internal operating guide; they don't need to be filed with the SOS.

  1. Hold a formal meeting with the board of directors. The first board meeting is also referred to as an organization meeting of the board. Topics should include such things as:
    • Appointing officers.
    • Approving bylaws.
    • Setting a tax year and accounting period.
    • Approving the initial substantial transactions of the business.
  2. Create a nonprofit records binder. The records binder will hold significant documentation such as the:
    • Bylaws.
    • Articles of Incorporation.
    • Meeting minutes.

Steps to Obtaining Federal and State Tax Exemptions

Once the nonprofit has been created, it's time to obtain tax-exempt status. These are the steps you must follow steps to obtain state and federal tax-exempt status:

  1. File a federal tax exemption application, Form 1023. File and complete Form 1023 with the IRS. Smaller nonprofits may only need to file the much easier 1023-EZ Form. Form 1023 will request such things as:
    • History of the nonprofit.
    • Finances.
    • Governance policies.
    • Organizational structure.
    • Activities.
    • Operations.
  2. Secure Nevada tax-exemption status. Nevada doesn't currently charge a corporate income tax. However, it's important to verify with the SOS that you qualify for sales and use tax-exempt status.
  3. Fulfill all other state registration and reporting requirements. Before engaging in any type of fundraising activities, all nonprofits must register with SOS.

If you need help determining how to start a nonprofit organization in Las Vegas, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.