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4 Forms You Need to Legally Establish a Nonprofit

Nonprofit organizations are a driving force of change, giving you the chance to change the world you live in and help causes that are important to you. If you want to set up a nonprofit organization in Florida, you must follow a specific process and file the proper forms to protect yourself from litigation.

Articles of Incorporation

When you decide to start a nonprofit organization, you must draft and file your articles of incorporation with the Florida Department of State. These documents include basic information about your organization, including its name and address, specific purpose, the name and address of your Registered Agent, and the ways in which your organization appoints directors. Your articles of incorporation must also include the name and address of the Incorporator.

Bylaws

Under Florida Statute 617.0206, an organization’s board of directors must adopt bylaws. The law does not dictate what information must be included in an organization’s bylaws. However, most organizations’ bylaws include information on issues like:

  • The size of the board of directors and the ways in which they are elected and appointed
  • How often board meetings are scheduled
  • The rules governing the board of directors
  • How grant money will be utilized

State Registration Forms

If you meet certain conditions or want to engage in certain fundraising activities, you must register with certain Florida agencies. To solicit contributions from individuals, you have to register with the Division of Consumer Services. Your registration must be renewed each year. To file business taxes, you must register your nonprofit organization with the Florida Department of Revenue.

Tax Exemption Forms

As a nonprofit organization, your corporation is entitled to certain tax benefits. To secure your tax exempt status, you must register with both the IRS and the Florida state government. Before filing, verify that you qualify for exempt status with the IRS. You can then apply for 501(c)(3) tax exemption by filing IRS Form 2848, IRS Form 8821, and IRS Form 1023. Note that you must also have your federal EIN ready.

Once you have your federal determination letter that grants you federal tax-exempt status, you can apply for state income tax exemption. Submit your letter and file Form 1120 with the Florida Department of Revenue. To be exempt from state sales tax, file Form DR5 with the Florida Department of Revenue.

After you have filed the initial documents required to establish your nonprofit organization, you must meet specific requirements to maintain your nonprofit status. Meeting these requirements can help you avoid expensive fines and loss of your nonprofit status.

If you’re ready to take the plunge and start a nonprofit, a business lawyer can help you meet all state and federal requirements. Schedule a meeting to discuss your goals and legal needs—call Trembly Law at (305) 431-5678 now.