According to the Florida Non-Profit Alliance, there are currently 76,000 non-profit organizations operating in Florida (February 2015 stats). With $78 billion revenue and $183 billion worth of assets, the non-profit sector is considered a strong and worthy sector in Florida.

If you need help setting up a 501c3 in Florida please call us at 407-502-2400, or email us at [email protected].

The US Internal Revenue Services code defines public, private and religious charity and non-profit organizations as 501C3. The organizations filed under 501C3 category can apply for tax exemptions from federal, state, and local taxes.

501C1, 501C28 and many other 501C organizations are operating under the regulations and administration of the US Department of Treasury.

Apart from goodwill and good market reputation, the 501C3 organizations receive many other benefits including discounted postal mail and newsletters, exemption from the federal, local, state, and many property taxes, eligibility for public and private grants and allocations, and more.

A Quick Guide on How to Set up a 501C3 in Florida

This quick guide will help you understand the process of how to set up a 501C3 in Florida. We have also included some tips and FAQs to make the process easier and error-free for you. By following these instructions, you will be able to understand the qualitative and quantitative processes of setting up a non-profit organization in Florida. You will be able to answer the questions like the required number of board members and the cost of setting up a 501C3 in Florida.

If you lack funds for starting the 501C3 in Florida then you may need to fill out the application forms on your own. However, many organizations hire lawyers and CPAs for filing out the applications and forms. The application and filing process is not difficult. However, it does require some professional and accounting assistance. Therefore, an ideal approach is to conduct online research and prepare your team of accountants, managers, and other people in the non-profit organization.

Setting Up a Tentative Outline

Before moving on to the applications, files and other written processes, it is ideal to complete your homework in the background. Follow the given steps to complete your tentative outline.

Evaluate Your Mission According to the IRS Rules

according to the IRS rules and regulations, a non-profit organization must not be involved in any type of political, stereotypical, or hate-mongering activities. The organization should be involved in religious purposes and social purposes like charity only. evaluate your organizational goals according to the IRS rules. The second step is to convert these goals into a mission statement. The mission statement enables you to define your organizational goals professionally and academically.

Set Up a fundraising Plan

Some organizations are set up for short-term purposes. These organizations are abolished when the goals are achieved. On the other hand, some organizations are established for long-term purposes. In either case, you need to establish a fundraising plan that includes the following.

  • Names of the organization’s members or employees who are efficient in communication for bringing in donations
  • A descriptive layout of your goals
  • A description of your financial setup and its requirements
  • A complete chart or graphical illustration that represents the important milestones in your fundraising journey and time to achieve these goals
  • Accounting details including bookkeeping and budgeting

Understand the Importance and Benefits of Incorporating

Incorporation of the 501C3 organizations is important for a number of reasons. It legalizes the structure, rules and laws of the 501C3 organization. The organizational officers, directors, and employees become free from the legal liabilities. Incorporation includes you among the organizations that work under the IRS rules. Many donors and charity providers trust the organizations that work under the IRS rules only. Incorporation helps you win the trust of donors and charity providers in the process of how to set up a 501C3 in Florida.

Practical Guide

This practical guide includes steps and processes about how to set up a 501C3 in Florida.

Confirmation of a New 501C3

The National Center for Charitable Statistics conducted a research and claimed that there are 75,000 non-profit organizations operating in Florida. As the number of 501C3 organizations really large, it is easy to fall in a conflicted name or purpose. The non-profit organizations are free to share their purposes and causes. However, it is important to evaluate the importance of your non-profit organization in the geographical vicinity of Florida.

If many organizations are already working for a specific cause, it could become tough for you to collect the donations. The market of charity and religious cause organizations may become saturated for you. Therefore, evaluate the purpose of your organization and conduct an online research that provides information about the requirement and importance of your non-profit organization as well as statistical market saturation for a cause.

You may need to think of another cause, social or religious purpose if the market is saturated.

Read below to know more about how to set up a 501C3 in Florida.

If you need help setting up a 501c3 in Florida please call us at 407-502-2400, or email us at [email protected].

Decide a Name and Check Availability

It is necessary that the name of your organization does not conflict with the name of any other organization registered with the IRS. Decide a name of your organization based on the cause and goals of your organization and check its availability with the Florida division of Corporations.

The IRS has set up some rules and regulations to decide the name of your organization. According to these rules, your organization’s name must include words like Corporation, Incorporated, Inc., Corp, and such. However, the organization may not include words that represent business purposes like Company and Authority. You cannot include the abbreviations of these words like Co. for Company.

Recruit Directors and Incorporators

You need to select and hire the incorporators for your organization. The incorporators are responsible for the execution and submission of your articles. Different states require different number of incorporator for setting up a 501C3 in Florida. However, in Florida, you need to hire only one incorporator for executing and submitting the documents. You may hire more incorporators if you want.

You also need to hire the directors of your organization. In Florida, you need at least three directors for submitting your articles and registering with the Florida Divisions of Corporation. Age is the only requirement for hiring the directors. The minimum age of a director is 18 years. The directors may belong to any profession and may operate from any state of America.

Appointing a Registered Agent

The State of Florida has a list of registered agents. You need to appoint a registered agent from the list and submit the information of the registered agent with the articles. The agent will be the legal appointee to receive your legal notices sent from the government. This is a compulsory part of the process of how to set up a 501C3 in Florida.

Incorporating Your Organizations

The most difficult part of the process of how to set up a 501C3 in Florida is to incorporate your organization. It involves a number of legal processes and requirements. However, many organizations complete these legal processes on their own. Here is a complete and systematic guide to incorporate your organization.

Step 01: Prepare the Articles

The Charter of Documents or the file of your Articles is the legal evidence of your registration. We have already described a number of benefits of 501C3 organization in this guide about how to set up a 501C3 in Florida. You can avail all these benefits only with the help of the file of articles or the Charter of Documents. Therefore, make sure to prepare the file very carefully.

  • Decide and enter the name of your organization. It is important that the name of your non-profit organization abides by the rules of the IRS.
  • Enter the details of the name and address of your registered agent. Remember that you cannot enter the P.O. Box of the registered agent. You need to provide a physical address and preferably a phone number too. The registered agent will receive your documents and legal notices sent by the government so make sure to enter the name, address, and other information very carefully.
  • Make sure to enter all the necessary information in the process of how to set up a 501C3 in Florida. enter the legal address of your non-profit organization. This should be a physical address. You have to enter the address of the head office of your organization. Some 501C3 organizations start along with sub-divisions. Make sure to enter the addresses of the sub-offices as well.
  • Explain the duration of your organization. As explained earlier in this guide about how to set up a 501C3 in Florida that the duration of an organization depends on the short-term and long-term goals of the organization. You can define the duration only after evaluating your goals as explained in the tentative outline section. If you are not sure about the duration and time required to complete the operations of your organization then mention the duration as ‘perpetual’.
  • Enter the name of the incorporators. For Florida, you can register with only one incorporator. However, if you have chosen more than one incorporators then enter the names of all incorporators along with their signatures. In this guide on how to set up a 501C3 in Florida, we will explain more about the role of incorporators.
  • Enter the names and addresses of the incorporators. In Florida, you need only three directors to register. However, you may choose more than three directors. Make sure to enter the names, address and immediate contact information of all the directors. You may incorporate without choosing the directors. In this case, the state of Florida will consider your incorporators as preliminary directors of the organization.
  • Mention your Statement of Purpose. The statement must include your mission statement. Your case will become stronger if you enter the details about your social or religious cause in the light of your mission statement.
  • Enter complete information of the items required to complete the operations of your organization. These include vehicles, stationary, buildings, and more.

The process of filing your articles will require 1-3 days for online filing and 6-8 days for filing by mail. The filing fee is $35 and the fee of the agent in Florida is $35. The total of the process of incorporation is $70. form CR2E006 is required to fill the articles. The process will operate under the Florida Department of state, Florida Division of Corporations. Make sure to attach the cover letter provided by the state along with the file of articles.

Read below to find out more about how to set up a 501C3 in Florida.  If you need help setting up a 501c3 in Florida please call us at 407-502-2400, or email us at [email protected].

Step 02: Establish the Records

The first documental evidence of your organization is the file of the organizational articles. You have to generate other documental records and evidences including the bylaws, EIN, and minutes of meeting.

Creating the Bylaws

Establishing the records may be a little difficult for people who want to know how to set up a 501C3 in Florida. The first step is to create the bylaws. According to the IRS, the bylaws include the organizational laws and rules for operating in Florida as a social or religious non-profit organization. There is no specific requirement for creating the bylaws. However, the bylaws should not include any type of stereotypical or hate-mongering clauses. The bylaws are important not only for submitting to the IRS but these are also important for keeping in the office for future assistance. The Florida Division of Corporations may require you to change the bylaws if they conflict with the social or religious laws of the state.

Meeting of the Board of Directors

If you ask someone about how to set up a 501C3 in Florida, they may skip this important step of the process.

Arrange a meeting of the Board of Directors. The board will overview the bylaws and approve or disapprove them. The board should provide a solid reason for disapproving the bylaws.

The board should also create a descriptive policy for the conflict of interest. This policy is compulsory in the process of how to set up a 501C3 in Florida.

The directors will also appoint additional directors or substitute directors. The board will also hire officers in the meeting. It is not necessary to hire the volunteers and other employees in the meeting.

The directors are also required to approve initial resolutions and activities like opening a bank account.

The directors may not know about how to set up a 501C3 in Florida so make sure to explain them the requirement of the process. Make sure to put the minutes of meeting in writing and submit it along with the file or articles. You should also keep a copy of the minutes of meeting in the office.

Employer Identification Number

You need to get Employer Identification Number for legally authorizing your officers to operate in Florida. The IRS Form SS-4 is required to get an Employer Identification Number.

  • Submission Method: Fax, Online or Mail
  • Time: Immediate issue for online submissions and 4-5 days for submission via mail or fax
  • Fee: $0/Free

Florida Tax Identification Number and Accounts

Tax Identification Numbers and Accounts play an important role in the process of how to set up a 501C3 in Florida. Following a very convenient tax application process, you can easily receive the Florida Tax Identification Number. The first step is to open a bank account for your organization. You do not need to include budget plan to get the tax identification number. However, you have to include the information of your current assets in the bank account.

Form DR-1 Florida Business Tax Application is used to get the tax identification number. Fill out and submit this form to Florida Department of Revenue.

  • Submission Method: Mail or Online
  • Processing time: 0-4 days
  • Fee: $0 + $5 sales tax

Apply for 501C3

To your surprise, this is not the final step in the process of how to set up a 501C3 in Florida.

You can avail the benefits of 501C3 only after registering as a 501C3 organization. Form 1023 or Form 1023-EZ is used to apply for the status of 501C3. Most of the non-profit organizations seek professional help in this step. However, you can also fill out the form carefully on your own.

Submit the form to Internal Revenue Services. You will apply for Florida tax exemptions in the next step.

  • Submission Method: The only approved method for submitting form 1023 is to submit by mail.
  • Fee: $400 – $850 for the IRS
  • Time: For form 1023-EZ, it requires less than a month and for Form 1023, it takes around 3-4 months to apply for 501C3 in the process of how to set up a 501C3 in Florida

Apply for Tax Exemptions

When people ask about how to set up a 501C3 in Florida, they also want to get detailed information about tax exemptions. The non-profit organizations in Florida have to pay the corporate income tax. However, the 501C3 non-profit organizations are exempted from the tax r certain provisions. these organizations can apply for the tax exemption status by filing Form F-1120 to file Florida corporate income tax return.

The gross income rules vary in the process of how to set up a 501C3 in Florida. According to the Florida state rules, the non-profit organizations do not need to file their taxes if their gross per annum income after one year is less than $7500, or less than $12000 after two years, or less than $15000 after three years, and such.

You need to file Form DR-5 Florida Application for Consumer’s Certificate of Exemption under Chapter 212, Florida Statutes. There is no fee for the Certificate of Exemption.

Register for Fundraising

You need to register with the states where you want to raise the funds. Register with the Division of Consumer Services for registering in the state of Florida. You need to get Charitable Organizations Form or Sponsors Registration Application to register with the Division to complete the process of how to set up a 501C3 in Florida. The total fee is $10-$400 depending on the per annum revenue prior to the fiscal year.

Make sure to notarize the signatures of the CFO if needed. The non-profit organizations solicited at Florida highway should also obtain a permission of operations. You will need the permission from the Local Department of Transport Maintenance Unit.

After registering for the fundraising in the process of how to set up a 501C3 in Florida, you can start the operations of your non-profit organization. Make sure to obtain the other licenses and permits required to sustain your operations. Maintain your records and make sure to use a disclosure statement when communicating with the donors.

With this guide on how to set up a 501C3 in Florida, you will be able to not only set up your organization but operate within the legal jurisdictions.

If you need help setting up a 501c3 in Florida please call us at 407-502-2400, or email us at [email protected].

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