Chicago is a vibrant and sprawling city, with a complex history of legal regulations for non-profit organizations. Fortunately, for business executives working with non-profits in Chicago, the task of complying with tax and regulation does not need to be daunting. In this article, we discuss the various laws and regulations applicable to non-profits in the city, providing information to allow executives to operate confidently within the framework of the law.

Non Profit Law in Chicago

Non-profit organizations in Chicago must comply with both state statutes and city ordinances. The City of Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection has the authority to issue licenses and permits to non-profit organizations as well as investigate any potential violations of applicable laws. In addition, the City of Chicago imposes taxes on non-profits, and any organization that is granted 501(c)(3) exemption from the Internal Revenue Service is exempt from most of those taxes.

State Statutes

State statutes applicable to non-profits in Chicago can be found in the Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS). Specific regulations for non-profits are contained in the "Business Organizations" statute, which can be found in Title 40 of the ILCS. These regulations cover a range of topics, including the formation and dissolution of non-profits, charitable solicitation rules, governance of non-profits, reporting and disclosure requirements, and taxation of non-profits.

City Ordinances

Non-profits in Chicago must also comply with ordinances enacted by the city government. Many of these regulations are aimed at protecting the public from unscrupulous non-profits, but also include provisions designed to ensure that non-profits adhere to certain standards and operate in a responsible manner. For example, one ordinance requires that non-profits display their mission statement in all public outreach materials.


Non-profits in Chicago are subject to taxation, although many are exempt from the city’s sales tax. Organizations that are recognized as exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code are exempt from most local taxes in Chicago. In addition, organizations that do not have 501(c)(3) status may apply for a Sales Tax Exemption Certificate, which can be obtained from the Office of the Cook County Treasurer.

Legal Advice

It is always advisable for non-profits in Chicago to seek legal advice with regards to their operations. There are a number of experienced lawyers based in the city, many of whom specialize in non-profit law. Additionally, UpCounsel is a network of experienced attorneys offering legal counsel on a variety of matters. UpCounsel is an ideal solution for businesses in Chicago looking to obtain qualified legal advice, as it allows for access to experienced attorneys on demand.

The core message

Non-profits in Chicago must comply with a variety of state statutes and city ordinances. Fortunately, for business executives working within the non-profit sector, there are a number of knowledgeable legal professionals in the city, and UpCounsel provides an excellent solution for businesses looking to obtain the best legal advice in a timely and cost-effective manner.


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