What You Need To Know
To Set Up A Non-Profit Organization

Many states have specific statutes under which a non-profit corporation must incorporate. These statutes are separate and distinct from the statutes under which a regular for profit corporation incorporates:
When starting a non-profit corporation, it is advisable to consult an attorney to file the necessary documents which will incorporate your organization under ther proper state statutes. Those documents should include a certificate of incorporation and by-laws and may include additional documents.
In order for the organization to be exempt from federal income taxes, it must obtain exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.
The organization must apply for exempt status by filing IRS form 1023 or 1024 depending upon the exempt purpose. Upon receiving exempt status, the organization is exempt from paying federal income taxes. However, the organization is responsible for filing an annual form 990 "Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax". Form 990 is a public document open for inspection. In addition, if the organization has "Unrelated Business Income", it may be subject to unrelated business income tax.
Many states have specific reporting requirements for non-profit organizations as well. You should consult with your accountant to be sure you are complying with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations.
IRS Rules for setting up a non-profit organization:
General
Charitable Organizations
Churches and Religious Organizations
Other Non-Profits
Political Organizations
Private Foundations
Information for Contributons
Form 1023
Form 1023 - Instructions
Form 1024
Publication 557 - Tax Exempt Status

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