General Question

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Non-profit organization in California that is IRS recognized, do you know the steps to creation or where to find the information?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26821points) October 17th, 2013

Where would one look to find information on how to setup a non-profit organization in California that the IRS will recognize?

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8 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

I would start by talking to an attorney or accounting firm familiar with nonprofits. At the federal level there are classifications of non-profits that are covered under different sections of the tax code. I work for a non profit, and I know that different sections of our firm are covered by different sets of rules. Makes a headache for our accounting department trying to keep track of them all sometimes.

I am unfamiliar with California’s nonprofit regulations, so I won’t comment on them.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

IRS requires a 501 ( C ) 3 for a non-profit status get a lawyer and accountant. Requires a governing body for the group / identity and records with minutes for all meetings. . . .

WestRiverrat's avatar

If you are planning to do any political advocacy you should file 501-c-4 status. I think there are 29 subsections under the 501c regulations. Most groups will be covered by either 501-c-3 or 501-c-4, but if you qualify there may be benefits to filing under one of the other sections.

That is why you need to talk to the lawyer and accountants first, so you have an idea what you want to file under.

WestRiverrat's avatar

At the minimum when you go to see the attorney you should have an outline of your goals, provision for a board of directors which contains at least a president, one or more vice presidents, a secretary and a treasurer. The last two can be combined, but these all should be elected positions.

You will need a mailing address, this can be a simple PO box initially.

Your attorney can use this information to create a charter which will help when you apply to the IRS for tax exempt status. It can take over a year to tweak your charter to comply to the particular 501 c status you want.

You can accept donations and do business while waiting the process out, but they are not tax exempt transactions yet.

The last time I did this was while 5¼ in floppies were high tech, I will dig out some of my hard files this weekend and see if I can get more specific.

Judi's avatar

My daughter is a missionary and my trust attorney said he would set it up for her at cost. I wouldn’t do anything like this without an attorney.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Tropical_Willie Requires a governing body for the group / identity and records with minutes for all meetings. . . .
Are those meetings using Robert’s Rules of Order (or something like that)? Do you have to form the group, then have X number of meetings to qualify to file?

@WestRiverrat At the minimum when you go to see the attorney you should have an outline of your goals, provision for a board of directors which contains at least a president, one or more vice presidents, a secretary and a treasurer. The last two can be combined, but these all should be elected positions.
If there has to be elected positions that means the body or vehicle for the non-profit has to be more than 4 people, or a minimum of 5 people to break any ties? Do the elected positions have terms, and what is the max and min term to qualify?

You can accept donations and do business while waiting the process out, but they are not tax exempt transactions yet.
Why would someone want to donate to an organization that is not tax exempt yet; where they can’t write off the donation?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central The governing body must follow the by-laws for the non-profit.
( Robert / Sobbert ) just show there is a Chairman / President, Vice Chairman and a Treasurer and Secretary ( these two can be combined ) meetings need minutes also by-laws. Books for all moneys coming in and all bank accounts need to be documented. Groups that I have been in while getting IRS 501 ( C ) 3 have hired a grant writer / non-profit specialist to put the paperwork and documents together and file. They also did follow-up with the government.

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