Founding and running a non-profit organization can be complex—especially when you’re considering how to structure the non-profit to best serve its mission. For many non-profits, 501c3 status may be the best choice, as it allows a non-profit to access certain federal and state tax exemptions, and may provide beneficial donor tax incentives. For anyone considering establishing a 501c3 non-profit in Los Angeles, there are several key considerations and logistics to consider prior to starting the process.

UpCounsel can provide experienced legal counsel to assist you in setting up and running a successful Los Angeles non-profit. Our network of attorneys are carefully chosen for the knowledge, expertise, and reliability required to serve your organization.

Below are the five key things to consider when forming a 501c3 non-profit in Los Angeles:

1. Advice from an Experienced Attorney:

Filing for 501c3 status is a lengthy process, and requires thoughtful understanding of both federal and state non-profit laws. As such, you’ll want to make sure you select an experienced and qualified attorney to represent you and your organization and help guide you through the process. Your attorney will also need to ensure that all necessary documents and filings are completed accurately and on time, as failure to do this correctly can result in substantial delays and additional fees.

At UpCounsel, we feature a comprehensive network of business attorneys, from Los Angeles to across the country, who specialize in non-profit formation and structure. All of our attorneys possess the experience and qualifications necessary to do the job and have helped countless non-profits successfully receive 501c3 status in Los Angeles.

2. Developing Your Non-Profit’s Mission and Goals:

Your non-profit’s mission and goals are the foremost guiding document for your organization, and will serve to diagonalize meaningful examples of the positive effect that you are making in your community. As such, you want to ensure that your mission and goals are very well articulated and clearly stated.

It’s a good idea to spend some time and effort developing your non-profit’s mission and goals, as this statement—when included in your 501c3 application—will serve as a report card for your mission and successes. As a result, making sure that it is both accurate and interesting will set the stage for the rest of the organization going forward.

3. Decide On Your Non-Profit’s Federal Tax Code Classification:

There are many different tax classifications for non-profits, and the type you select will determine what type of tax advantages your 501c3 will receive. Educating yourself on the different codes and what tax incentives they may offer is key to deciding on the right one for your organization.

Your attorney can also provide invaluable assistance in determining the best tax code to fit your organization’s purpose. At UpCounsel, our attorneys have extensive experience in Los Angles non-profit structure and tax codes, and can provide the most up to date advice and information available to help you make the best decision for both your non-profit and the community it serves.

4. Establish Board of Directors and Corporate Officers:

Similar to a for-profit business, your non-profit will need to have a Board of Directors and corporate officers to guide the organization. Your Board of Directors and officers should consist of members who possess the expertise and experience to properly and efficiently handle the complex nuances of non-profit administration and fundraising.

At UpCounsel, we have a network of qualified business attorneys who are experienced in non-profit legal matters, and can provide much needed legal advice and counsel to help your non-profit complete the process and succeed.

5. Innoculate Your Non-Profit Status With an Attorney Opinion Letter:

As part of the organization process, you will need to provide the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) with an opinion letter from an attorney—regarding various operational and financial matters for the corporation—prior to the approval of 501c3 status. The inclusion of this letter serves as a testimony to the IRS that your non-profit is compliant and will continue to operate as such once your 501c3 status is granted.

UpCounsel has business attorneys who possess the expertise and professionalism you need to represent your non-profit, and will ensure this letter is up to the standards of the IRS.

By understanding the complexities of non-profit status claims and developing a comprehensive business plan, you can ensure your non-profit organization is an effective force for change in the Los Angeles community. With the help of the experienced and reliable attorneys at UpCounsel, you’ll be on your way to establishing a 501c3 non-profit that meets the needs of the community it serves.


501 c 3,

non-profit organizations,

legal services