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Are you passionate about making a difference in your community? Starting a nonprofit organization in New York can be a fantastic way to create lasting change and positively impact the lives of those around you. However, navigating the legal and regulatory requirements of starting a Nonprofit Corporation can be daunting, especially if you are new to the process.
This guide aims to simplify the process of forming a Nonprofit Corporation in New York by providing a step-by-step approach to ensure that your organization is set up for success from the start. At LLCBase, we understand that forming a nonprofit corporation can be an overwhelming experience, so we are here to help you achieve your goals every step of the way.
On this page, you’ll learn about the following:
- What is a Nonprofit Corporation
- Steps to Form a New York Nonprofit Corporation
- Step 1. Choose a Name
- Step 2. Appoint New York Resident Agent
- Step 3. Appoint Board Members and Officers
- Step 4. File Certificate of Incorporation
- Step 5. Apply for EIN
- Step 6. Draft Bylaws and Policy
- Step 7. Hold an Organizational Meeting
- Step 8. Obtain Licenses and Permits
- Step 9. Register for New York State Taxation
- Step 10. Register for Charitable Solicitation
- Fee Schedule for Starting a New York Nonprofit Corporation
- Apply for 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status
- Ongoing Compliance
What is a Nonprofit Corporation
A Nonprofit Corporation is a legal entity organized and operated for purposes other than profit-making. The primary goal of a Nonprofit Corporation is to serve the public interest, promote a specific social cause, or support a charitable, religious, educational, scientific, or artistic mission. Unlike traditional for-profit corporations in New York, Nonprofit Corporations do not distribute profits to shareholders or owners. Instead, surplus funds are reinvested into the organization to further its mission and objectives. When starting a nonprofit corporation, consult the best formation service in New York to assist you.
Nonprofit Corporations are granted special tax-exempt status under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code in the United States, which exempts them from federal income taxes. Nonprofit Corporations may also be eligible for state and local tax exemptions. This tax-exempt status allows Nonprofits to receive tax-deductible donations and grants, making it easier for them to raise funds for their cause.
Some common types of Nonprofit Corporations include charities, foundations, social welfare organizations, trade associations, and religious institutions. These organizations play a vital role in society by addressing various social, environmental, and cultural issues, providing essential services, and enhancing the overall quality of life for communities.
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Steps to Form a New York Nonprofit Corporation
Below is an extensive overview of the steps to initiate a nonprofit corporation in New York:
Step 1. Choose a Name
The first step in starting a Nonprofit Corporation in New York is choosing an appropriate name for your organization. The name must be unique and distinguishable from other businesses registered in the state. You can conduct a preliminary name search on the New York Secretary of State‘s website to check the availability of your desired name. Additionally, the name should not include any prohibited words or phrases, such as “bank” or “insurance.”
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Step 2. Appoint New York Resident Agent
When forming a Nonprofit Corporation in New York, you must appoint Resident Agent in New York. The Resident Agent is responsible for receiving legal documents and correspondence on behalf of your organization. They must have a physical address in New York and be available during regular business hours. You can choose an individual or a professional Resident Agent service to serve in this role.
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Step 3. Appoint Board Members and Officers
In New York, a Nonprofit Corporation must have at least three board members responsible for overseeing the management and operations of the organization. The board must also elect officers, such as a president, secretary, and treasurer. It is important to choose individuals who are passionate about your organization’s mission and have the skills to carry out their duties effectively.
Step 4. File Certificate of Incorporation
To officially form a Nonprofit Corporation in New York, you must file the Certificate of Incorporation with the New York Secretary of State. The filing fee is $125 for filing online, or by mail.. Your Certificate of Incorporation must include the following required provisions:
- Name of the Nonprofit Corporation
- Purpose of the organization
- A statement that the organization is a Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation
- Name and address of the Resident Agent
- Statement of how the organization’s assets will be distributed upon dissolution
Optional provisions that can be included in the Certificate of Incorporation are specific limitations or restrictions on the organization’s activities, indemnification of directors and officers, and any additional information that may be relevant to the organization.
Step 5. Apply for EIN
After filing your Certificate of Incorporation, you must obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This nine-digit number is used to identify your organization for tax purposes and is required when applying for tax-exempt status or opening a bank account. You can apply for an EIN online, by fax, or by mail.
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Step 6. Draft Bylaws and Policy
Bylaws are the internal rules and procedures that govern the operation of your Nonprofit Corporation. They should outline the roles and responsibilities of board members and officers and the process for holding meetings and making decisions. Additionally, your organization should adopt a conflict of interest policy to properly address potential conflicts involving board members or officers.
Step 7. Hold an Organizational Meeting
Once you have drafted your bylaws and conflict of interest policy, you should hold an organizational meeting with your board members and officers. During this meeting, you will adopt the bylaws and conflict of interest policy, elect officers, and make any other initial decisions necessary for the operation of your Nonprofit Corporation.
Step 8. Obtain Licenses and Permits
Depending on the nature of your organization, you may be required to obtain business licenses and permits in New York to operate legally. This can include local business licenses, zoning permits, and any specific licenses required for your organization’s activities. Consult your New York Department of State for more information.
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Step 9. Register for New York State Taxation
While many Nonprofit Corporations are exempt from federal income tax, they may still be subject to New York state taxes. You must register with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance and may be required to file annual tax returns.
Step 10. Register for Charitable Solicitation
If your Nonprofit Corporation plans to solicit donations from the public, you must register with the New York State Office of the Attorney General. This registration is required before legally soliciting charitable contributions in New York.
Fee Schedule for Starting a New York Nonprofit Corporation
Here are the fees associated when starting a corporation in New York:
- Certificate of Incorporation Filing Fee: $125 for filing online, or by mail.
- Employer Identification Number (EIN) Application: Free
- Form 1023 (Application for Recognition of Exemption) User Fee: $600 (for most organizations)
- Form 1023-EZ (Streamlined Application for Recognition of Exemption) User Fee: $275
- Statement of Information Filing Fee: $25 if domestic, $135 if foreign
Please note that these fees are subject to change, and additional fees may be applicable depending on the specific requirements of your nonprofit organization, such as obtaining licenses and permits. Always consult the respective agency websites and experts for the most up-to-date information.
Apply for 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status
Once you have successfully formed your New York Nonprofit Corporation, the next crucial step is to apply for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. This status allows your organization to be exempt from federal income taxes and is essential for receiving tax-deductible donations and grants.
- Prepare IRS Form 1023 or 1023-EZ: The first step in applying for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status is selecting the correct application form. Most organizations will use IRS Form 1023, the Application for Recognition of Exemption. However, smaller organizations may be eligible to use the shorter Form 1023-EZ. This streamlined application is only available to organizations with annual gross receipts of $50,000 or less and total assets of $250,000 or less. Review the eligibility requirements on the IRS website to determine which form is most appropriate for your Nonprofit Corporation in New York.
- Submit the Application: After completing the appropriate application form, submit it with the required user fee to the IRS. The fee will depend on your organization’s size and financial status, so consult the IRS website for the most up-to-date information.Keep in mind that the IRS review process can take several months. During this time, maintain good records and continue to operate your New York Nonprofit Corporation in compliance with state and federal regulations. If your application is approved, you will receive a Determination Letter from the IRS confirming your tax-exempt status.
New York State Tax Exemption
In addition to federal tax exemption, your New York Nonprofit Corporation may also qualify for state tax exemption. To apply, submit Form Form ST-119.1, Exemption Application, to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance and the required supporting documentation. If approved, your organization will be exempt from New York state income tax and may qualify for exemption from other state taxes.
After successfully forming your New York Nonprofit Corporation and obtaining tax-exempt status, it’s essential to maintain compliance with state and federal regulations. This includes filing annual reports, paying state and federal taxes, and maintaining good records.
- File Annual Reports: Your New York Nonprofit Corporation must file an annual report with the New York Secretary of State each year. This report, known as the Statement of Information, is due yearly within a specific time frame based on your organization’s registration date. Failure to file the report on time may result in penalties and suspending your organization’s corporate status.
- State Taxes: Even with tax-exempt status, your New York Nonprofit Corporation may still be responsible for certain state taxes, such as sales tax permits on goods and services sold by your organization. Consult the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance’s website for more information on state tax requirements.
- Federal Taxes: While your organization may be exempt from federal income tax, you must still file an annual information return with the IRS. This is typically Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-N, depending on your organization’s size and financial activity. Consult the IRS website for more information on which form your New York Nonprofit Corporation should file.
- Maintain Good Records: Keeping accurate and up-to-date records is essential for maintaining your Nonprofit Corporation’s compliance with state and federal regulations. This includes financial records, meeting minutes, and other organizational documents. Strong recordkeeping practices will help you stay compliant and provide a solid foundation for your organization’s growth and success.
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Why You Should Start New York Nonprofit
Why You Should Start a New York Nonprofit
In recent years, the concept of nonprofits has gained significant traction and for all the right reasons. The desire to make a positive impact in our communities by addressing various social, environmental, and economic challenges has led many individuals to explore the possibility of starting their own nonprofit organizations. And if you’re considering taking this leap of faith, what better place to do so than the dynamic and vibrant city of New York?
New York City is renowned for its rich history, diverse population, and thriving business ecosystem. It’s a melting pot of cultures, ideas, and opportunities. The city’s unique spirit and progressive mindset create a favorable environment conducive to cultivating impactful initiatives and turning dreams into reality.
One of the primary advantages of creating a nonprofit in The Big Apple is the city’s unparalleled network and resources. New York is home to numerous prominent foundations, charities, and philanthropic organizations that operate with the aim of supporting nonprofits. These institutions often offer financial grants, workshops, mentorship programs, and networking opportunities to help emerging nonprofits get off the ground and thrive. The abundance of resources not only ensures that nonprofits have the necessary tools for success but also plays a crucial role in fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing among like-minded organizations.
Furthermore, starting a nonprofit in New York allows individuals to tap into the city’s diverse and skilled workforce. New York boasts a pool of talented professionals spanning various fields, including management, marketing, finance, and technology. Creating a nonprofit in such an environment means having access to a highly skilled and motivated workforce that can assist in driving your organization’s mission forward. By harnessing the expertise of individuals from diverse backgrounds, your nonprofit can broaden its impact, effectively engage with the community it serves, and bring fresh perspectives to address complex challenges.
Additionally, New York is a city teeming with passionate changemakers who are eager to get behind meaningful causes. It is a city that actively supports and encourages civic engagement, making it easier for nonprofits to rally support for their missions. With a large and engaged audience, nonprofits have the advantage of easily reaching out and attracting a dedicated base of volunteers, donors, and supporters. As a nonprofit founder, having a community that shares your passion and aligns with your organization’s objectives can do wonders for both the sustainability and the influence of your initiative.
Finally, the diverse fabric of New York City itself adds a dimension of cultural richness that extends to nonprofit work as well. Communities in the city, while united, possess unique needs and challenges. Starting a nonprofit in such an environment gives individuals the opportunity to address specific issues that resonate deeply with a particular community or culture. By tailoring programs and services to the specific needs of each community, nonprofits can create a lasting impact that truly brings about positive change. New York provides the perfect canvas for innovative ideas that cater to these diverse needs and rally support from those most affected by them.
Choosing to start a nonprofit in New York City unlocks the potential to make a real difference while benefiting from the city’s vast resources, a pool of passionate individuals, and the vibrant community fabric. Whether you aspire to advocate for a social cause, support education initiatives, or champion environmental sustainability, starting a nonprofit in New York offers a platform to amplify your impact and create lasting change. So why wait? Take the plunge and start your own nonprofit in the greatest city in the world.
Forming a New York Nonprofit Corporation and maintaining compliance with state and federal regulations are crucial to creating a successful organization. By ensuring your organization remains compliant, you can focus on fulfilling your mission and serving your community without worrying about legal or financial setbacks.
While this guide provides an overview of forming a Nonprofit Corporation in New York, it’s important to remember that each organization’s situation is unique. The process of starting a for-profit corporation is different from a nonprofit corporation. Seek the advice of experienced professionals, such as attorneys, accountants, or nonprofit consultants, to ensure your organization is set up for success from the start. Check LLCBase for more guides and resources for starting your business.