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How to Become a 501c3 Nonprofit In Florida

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If you were wondering how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida, this article can guide you by providing you with comprehensive information about the legal and organizational aspects of forming your non-profit organization. A 501c3 nonprofit is a specific organization, which has been approved by the Internal Revenue Service, as a charitable organization and is exempt from tax. However, charitable organization is a broad term and most people float around the edges of the concept itself.

A charitable organization is broadly defined as an institution, which is established for religious, charitable, educational, scientific, testing for safeguarding the public, literary, prevention of cruelty to animals and/or children, or for the promotion of national or international amateur sports. When you are thinking about how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida, the first thing you need to understand is there are several areas you need to research, before you decide to submit your application to the IRS. If you are constantly haunted by the complication that will encompass the process of forming a 501c3 nonprofit and you are researching how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida, we have compiled a list of common questions that dominates the mind of a business owner.

What is the initial step of becoming a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida?

If you were expecting a complicated answer to the question how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida, you will be relieved to find out that the answer is easier than what you might expect. The first step incorporates setting up initial meetings for forming a non-profit organization. In this meeting, you will need to determine the official titles and appoint the Board of Directors. The notes or minutes of this initial meeting should also include a resolution that indicates that the Board of Directors shows a unanimous front or affirmation to support the notion of formation of the organization, and indicate their support to peruse the incorporation of an organization is exempt from federal or state tax. Moreover, the Board of Directors, and other officers of the non-profit organization, should determine the purpose of the organization and put it in clear writing to serve as a guideline for the future.

Accountability of the Board of Directors

Another thing which you must consider when you are thinking about how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida is that before you file the paperwork, you will need to fill every possible position of the Board of Directors before you file the relevant complete paperwork. However, if you have a notion of expanding your board after the filing process, it is completely acceptable, but still, before you file your paperwork, you will need to have an initial board in place that determines the finer points of the non-profit organization and its purpose. The organization should have a Board of Directors before the paper work is filed so that these members can be held legally responsible and accountable.

Do you really need to incorporate?

If you are thinking about how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida, you should also consider incorporating your organization. Although, it is not legally binding, there are a numerous of tasks that you will have to undertake before you form a 501c3 nonprofit organization at a state level. The incorporation process is crucial and while it is possible to form a non-profit organization in addition of obtaining a federal 501(c) tax exemption, most organizations choose the decision of becoming a corporate organization.

When you think about how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida, it means that you will need to have founders or incorporators. These incorporators will create a legal entity, which exist solely in the basis of the individuals that form the organization. Most people are comfortable with the idea of forming a non-profit organization, but only in part, because this provides them with a corporate protection and liability. For understanding this concept better, consider this. If a non-profit corporation is sued, the assets of its board of direction and members are protected and free from any legal implication, because corporate assets are in fact distinct from personal assets.

What do you need to do for incorporating a 501c3 nonprofit organization?

When you are wondering about how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida, the first thing you need to do is to get complete information about how to complete the initial start-up process. Getting started is not as easy as it looks, but with complete knowledge, you can make sure that you stay up-to-date on the legal and procedural aspects of forming your 501c3 nonprofit organization. To conduct business and to operate an organization in Florida legally, it is inherent that you follow specific set of guidelines. That last thing you need is to lose your business because you were unaware of the fact that you need to register with a fictitious name. Here is a list of items that you need to keep in mind and follow religiously, before you ponder over the matter of how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida.

Selecting a name for you 501c3 nonprofit organization

This is the most important part of forming your organization and can be advantageous for your business in the end. When you are pondering how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida, selecting the name is inherent for a successful business. You can adopt a corporation name, if the name is not similar to an existing name on the State’s corporate records. You will need to check the availability of the corporate name by rechecking the names of the corporation that are already registered with the state of Florida.

However, you must keep in mind that the organization’s name will not be checked against any federal or state trademark, or a service mark registration, assumed or alternate federal or state fictitious name or any alternate business name registrations. If the name of your organization is already in use, you can face several legal ramifications that can be prevented if you choose to research your corporate name carefully. When you are wondering how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida, this comprehensive list of the legal implications of having the same name as that of any other organization can be extremely helpful.

  • A lawsuit can be filed against you or your organization for federal or state infringement.
  • You can lose a lot of business due to the change in name.
  • Your organization will be facing legal charges as well as embarrassment for being served legal papers during business hours, in front of customers and employees no less.
  • The cost of changing the name thorough the proper channels and the additional paperwork you will have to file through the process of amendment is quite lengthy and can be costly and inconvenient for you and your organization.
  • You will have to replace all the marketing materials that you set up during the initial start-up phase of your business such as bank accounts, vehicle signage, informs, or any other business stationary, menus, website, and business cards.
  • After being served up legal papers, you will be stressed and under a lot of pressure to resolve the matter that leaves you drained and can affect your work negatively. You will find that such matters can have adverse effects on the focus, energy and financial resources that are required for your business to succeed.

When you are considering how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida, you must keep in mind that if you choose someone else’s business name you are more likely to learn an inconvenient and expensive business lesson in the future. However, this problem can be easily avoided by avoiding any trademark infringement and any other probable litigation resulting from state and trademark infringement by searching through the following sources.

1)    Federal Trademark or Servicemark Search and Attorney Opinion

It is a general search of the US Government’s records and includes Marks that are already taken and are currently pending registration. They also provide an opinion on the results of the search.

2)    Combo Search and Attorney Opinion

The combo search includes the U.S. Government, one State and Common Law search, in addition to an opinion as to what the results of the search are. This will ensure that you have the most comprehensive investigation.

3)    State Common Law Trademark Search and Attorney Opinion

This search includes Marks that are already in use but are not registered with the United States Government or a State. This search will also provide an opinion as to what the results of the search are. The results of a Common Law Search can be crucial because if an organization uses a Mark first, then generally it has a superior right to the name

4)    Trademark or Servicemark Search and Attorney Opinion

This state search incorporates a thorough and complete examination of Trademarks, which are registered in a specific state. This search will also provide an opinion as to what the results of the search are.

What is a federal tax ID number and do you need it?

If you are gathering information on how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida, then yes a federal tax ID number is crucial for your organization, as it serves the same purpose as that of a social security number for an individual. Without this ID number, you won’t be able to operate it or open a bank account for the business. There are many corporations that can help you get this number with a low fee of $35 that can help you jump start the process of formation of a 501c3 nonprofit organization and to simplify the matter of how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida.

State and 501c3 nonprofit organization corporate record compliance

Most people, when they are thinking about how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida, are unable to get full knowledge about the Corporate Records Compliance, which incorporates your organization’s by-laws and other relevant corporate documentation that has to be submitted to the IRS, according to proper regulations. Most states have regulations that can guide you in matters of addressing entities, but when you are wondering how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida, you will need to submit proper documentation to prove your status as a tax-exempt organization on a state as well as federal level. It is important to have Articles of Incorporation that are compiled according to IRS regulations.

501c3 nonprofit organization application for tax exemption

Most people, who are thinking about how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida, are most concerned about the tax exemption. What they don’t know is that this step comes after you get your organization registered with the State of Florida. The next step is to get a 501c3 qualification, which will allow you to file the IRS’ Application for Recognition of Exemption under Section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code. This is quite advantageous for business owners, who are concerned about getting tax deductible grants and contributions, and exemption from certain federal excise taxes and have certain non-profit mailing privileges. A typical application compiling and submitting process takes up to 6-9 months, normally.

Which form is required for you to obtain a 501c3 nonprofit organization status?

If you are thinking about how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida, then you will need to become a tax-exempt entity and for that you must fill out a Form 1023 and must file it with the Internal Revenue Services. Form 1023 is a comprehensive 29-page document, which has all the information about the organization’s structure, purpose, and programs. There are also a number of additional schedules, exhibits and attachments that are required by the IRS, in addition to the initial application, which are crucial for finding out how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida. Generally, a Form 1023 comprises of 50-100 pages that are filled with blanks on which you write the relevant information. Here is a look at Form 1023 if you are curious. After taking a quick look at it, you will find out that it is rather a generalized document that does not incorporate written budgets and narratives and is designated for specific, low-budget organizations.

Is 501c3 nonprofit the only organization exempt from taxes?

Most people are generally aware of the fact that a 501c3 nonprofit organization in Florida is exempt from taxes. However, before you try to find the answer to how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida, you should know that there are many other organizations, which are exempt from taxes as well. Organizations that are exempt from taxes follow the IRC (Internal Revenue Code) Sections 501(c)(4) through 501(c)(27).

What is the start-up cost for forming a 501c3 nonprofit?

Having complete knowledge about how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida is one thing but compiling information about how much it will cost to form a 501c3 nonprofit is another thing. The State of Florida charges a fee of $35 for submitting your Articles of Incorporation with the state of Florida. It is inherent that you choose a registered agent to represent you during the process of submitting your application. However, if the revenue of your corporation is less than $10,000, then you will be required to submit an application fee of $400. If you earn more revenue on an annual basis, then you will have to pay a fee of $800.

What are the benefits of being a 501c3 nonprofit?

If you are intent on finding everything there is to know about how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida, you should know that there are numerous benefits of being a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida for both the organization itself and its contributors. One of the most exemplary benefits of being a 501c3 nonprofit is that you are exempt from taxes under the IRC Section 501c3 and that allows you to accept donations as well as contributions from your donors that are tax deductable to the donor. However, this is not the only benefit of a non-profit organization. Here are some of the additional benefits of becoming a charitable organization in Florida, if you are curious about how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida.

  • The organization is exempt from any federal or state corporate income taxes.
  • The organization is exempt from state sales and property tax. However, that may vary by state to state.
  • You will have the ability to apply for grants or other allocation reserved for public or private sources. However, this is limited only to the 501c3 nonprofit which are recognized by the IRS.
  • The organization has a greater threshold and potential for incurring state or federal unemployment tax liabilities
  • A 501c3 nonprofit has a public recognition and legitimacy of being recognized by the IRS.
  • Your company can accrue discounts on several services, including the US Postal bulk-mail system.

This information will help clear all the confusion that you might have had about forming a 501c3 nonprofit. If you were wondering how to become a 501c3 nonprofit in Florida, this comprehensive article will provide you complete information for getting started on the process of forming your charitable organization.

Robert AcevedoHow to Become a 501c3 Nonprofit In Florida

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