Starting a Nonprofit Corporation in Oklahoma 2024: Your Step-by-Step Guide

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How to Start a Nonprofit Corporation in Oklahoma

Are you passionate about making a difference in your community? Starting a nonprofit organization in Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma 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.

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 Oklahoma, 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 Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma Nonprofit Corporation

Below is an extensive overview of the steps to initiate a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma:

Step 1. Choose a Name

The first step in starting a Nonprofit Corporation in Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma Registered Agent

When forming a Nonprofit Corporation in Oklahoma, you must appoint Registered Agent in Oklahoma. The Registered Agent is responsible for receiving legal documents and correspondence on behalf of your organization. They must have a physical address in Oklahoma and be available during regular business hours. You can choose an individual or a professional Registered Agent service to serve in this role.

We have compiled a list of the best registered agent services in Oklahoma for your consideration. These services have a reputation for their trustworthiness and professionalism. With assistance from these experienced registered agents, your business in Oklahoma can be handled with the utmost confidence and efficiency.

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Step 3. Appoint Board Members and Officers

In Oklahoma, 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 Oklahoma, you must file the Certificate of Incorporation with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. The filing fee is $25 for online, by mail filing or in person filing.. 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 Registered 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 Oklahoma to operate legally. This can include local business licenses, zoning permits, and any specific licenses required for your organization’s activities. Consult your Oklahoma Secretary of State for more information.

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Step 9. Register for Oklahoma State Taxation

While many Nonprofit Corporations are exempt from federal income tax, they may still be subject to Oklahoma state taxes. You must register with the Oklahoma Tax Commission 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 Oklahoma Office of the Attorney Genera. This registration is required before legally soliciting charitable contributions in Oklahoma.

Fee Schedule for Starting a Oklahoma Nonprofit Corporation

Here are the fees associated when starting a corporation in Oklahoma:

  • Certificate of Incorporation Filing Fee: $25 for online, by mail filing or in person filing.
  • 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, $50 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 Oklahoma 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.

  1. 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 Oklahoma.
  2. 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 Oklahoma 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.
Oklahoma State Tax Exemption

In addition to federal tax exemption, your Oklahoma Nonprofit Corporation may also qualify for state tax exemption. To apply, submit Form Form 13-16-A, Exemption Application, to the Oklahoma Tax Commission and the required supporting documentation. If approved, your organization will be exempt from Oklahoma state income tax and may qualify for exemption from other state taxes.

Ongoing Compliance

After successfully forming your Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma Nonprofit Corporation must file an annual report with the Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma Tax Commission’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 Oklahoma 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.

FAQs

What is a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma?
A nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma is an organization formed for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes.
What are the advantages of starting a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma?
One advantage of starting a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma is that it can receive tax-exempt status from both the state and federal government.
What is required to start a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma?
To start a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma, you need to file articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State’s office, obtain tax-exempt status from the IRS, and register with the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office.
What are articles of incorporation in Oklahoma?
Articles of incorporation in Oklahoma are legal documents filed with the Secretary of State’s office that establish a nonprofit corporation’s purpose, board of directors, and initial board members.
What is the fee for filing articles of incorporation in Oklahoma?
The fee for filing articles of incorporation in Oklahoma is $50.
How long does it take to incorporate a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma?
It typically takes 3-5 business days to incorporate a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma.
Does Oklahoma require nonprofits to have bylaws?
Yes, Oklahoma requires nonprofits to have bylaws, which set forth the rules and procedures for managing the organization.
Do nonprofit corporations in Oklahoma have to pay state taxes?
No, if a nonprofit corporation receives tax-exempt status under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, it is exempt from Oklahoma state corporate income tax.
What is the role of the board of directors in an Oklahoma nonprofit corporation?
The board of directors of an Oklahoma nonprofit corporation is responsible for making major decisions for the organization, including hiring the executive director and setting the organization’s mission and goals.
Is there a limit on the number of board members a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma can have?
There is no limit on the number of board members a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma can have.
Can board members of an Oklahoma nonprofit corporation be paid?
Yes, board members of an Oklahoma nonprofit corporation can be paid but must do so according to the organization’s bylaws.
What is the Oklahoma Charitable Solicitations Act?
The Oklahoma Charitable Solicitations Act requires nonprofit corporations to register with the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office before soliciting funds in the state.
Is Oklahoma primary place of operation important in starting a non-profit?
Yes, your nonprofit corporation must list a primary place of operation on its articles of incorporation.
Can a non-profit start right away if yet to get the 501c3?
Yes, you can start your nonprofit corporation immediately, but you would not be eligible for tax-exempt status until you receive 501(c)(3) designation.
Are there specific requirements for creating the articles of incorporation?
Yes, Oklahoma’s state law requires specific language on the articles of incorporation specific to nonprofit establishments.
Can the secretary of state’s office help to apply for non-profit status?
No, the secretary of state’s office cannot help with applying for a tax-exempt status under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Must nonprofit corporations in Oklahoma fill the 990 annual report?
Yes, all nonprofit corporations in Oklahoma that have received 501(c)(3) status must file a Form 990 with the IRS each year.
Can non-profit corporations in Oklahoma dissolve if it meeting which corporation requirements are not met?
Yes, non-profit corporation in Oklahoma can dissolve if it is not adhering to corporate regulations, its mission, or local law.
What are the usual nonprofit corporation startup costs in Oklahoma?
The average filing fee for incorporating a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma is $50, other additional fees might include incorporation, attorney fees, legal fees, accountant fees, licensing fees, and additional reporting fees.
Can a non-profit raise capital through private equity?
No, a non-profit cannot raise capital through otherwise traditional private equity possibilities.
Must Alabama articles of incorporation contain provisions for non-profit regulations?
Yes, the articles of incorporation must mention the specifics for operating a meet state non-profit corporation regulations.
How much does it cost to apply for 501(c)(3) tax exemption?
To apply for 501(c)(3) tax exemption, you must file IRS Form 1023 or Form 1023-EZ. The fee for Form 1023 is $600, while Form 1023-EZ is $275.
What major mistakes should I avoid when starting a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma?
The major caveats for starting a nonprofit corporation include neglecting to complete your corporation in much depth, donating corporate monies other than designated areas, and failing to maintain legal mandates.
When should a nonprofit apply for 501(c)(3) tax exemption?
You should apply for 501(c)(3) status as soon as you have incorporated, have an EIN, and can satisfy the criteria of a 501(c)(3) organization as specified by the IRS.
Is there a requirement to submit an annual report?
Yes, any start-up nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma must file an annual charitable organization or a professional fundraising annual report for tracking returns requirements.
How long does it take to form a non-profit corporation in Oklahoma?
It can take anywhere from two weeks to two months compared to the other US states to usually set up most Oklahoma nonprofit corporations.
Can a nonprofit corporation begin operations before getting the 501(c)(3) tax exemption status?
Yes, a nonprofit may begin operations before receiving its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.
Can a non-profit corporation out-live its founder?
Yes, a non-profit corporation is intended to be permanent even after the founder goes inactive.
What is Oklahoma Nonprofit Law?
Oklahoma Nonprofit Law is the set of relevant local regulations, governmental stipulations, and statutes determining how nonprofit organizations and charities are operated statewide in compliance with corporate law ordinances.
What are the requirements for starting a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma?
To start a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma, you will need to file articles of incorporation with the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s office and obtain a tax identification number.
How much does it cost to start a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma?
Fees for filing articles of incorporation in Oklahoma vary depending on the type of nonprofit corporation you are establishing, but they typically cost between $50 and $150.
What is the process for registering a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma?
To register a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma, you will need to complete the necessary forms and submit them to the Oklahoma Secretary of State, along with the appropriate fees.
What are the benefits of starting a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma?
Starting a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma can provide tax benefits, help you secure funding, and offer legal protections.
How long does it take to start a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma?
The process of starting a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma typically takes between 3-4 weeks, although it can take longer if you encounter any issues.
Are there any special rules or regulations for nonprofit corporations in Oklahoma?
Yes, in Oklahoma, nonprofit corporations must have at least three directors and comply with specific reporting requirements.
What is the difference between a nonprofit corporation and a for-profit corporation in Oklahoma?
The main difference between nonprofit and for-profit corporations in Oklahoma is that nonprofit corporations are organized for a charitable or public purpose, while for-profit corporations are focused on generating profits for their owners.
Do I need a lawyer to start a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma?
Hiring a lawyer to guide you through the process of starting a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma is not required, but it can be helpful in ensuring everything goes smoothly.
Can I start a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma if I am not a resident?
Yes, you can start a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma even if you are not a resident of the state, but you will need to comply with Oklahoma-specific requirements.
Are there any tax benefits to starting a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma?
Yes, nonprofits in Oklahoma are exempt from certain state and federal taxes, which can help save money.
Can a nonprofit corporation generate profits in Oklahoma?
Nonprofits in Oklahoma can generate profits, but those profits must be used to support the organization’s charitable purpose.
What is a registered agent and do I need one for my nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma?
A registered agent is a person or entity that serves as the official point of contact for legal and administrative matters, and you will need to appoint one for your Oklahoma nonprofit corporation.
Do board members of a nonprofit corporation have liability in Oklahoma?
Yes, board members of nonprofit corporations can be held liable for certain actions, but they are generally protected from personal liability as long as they act in good faith and in the best interests of the organization.
How do I recruit volunteers for my nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma?
You can recruit volunteers for your Oklahoma nonprofit corporation by reaching out to friends and family, posting on social media, and advertising on nonprofit job boards.
Is it difficult to get funding for a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma?
While it can be a challenge to secure funding for nonprofit corporations in Oklahoma, there are plenty of sources that offer grants and assistance with fundraising.
Can I pay myself a salary as a member of a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma?
Nonprofit corporations in Oklahoma can pay their members a salary, but the amount must be reasonable and commensurate with their work for the organization.
How do I maintain compliance with nonprofit regulations in Oklahoma?
To maintain compliance with nonprofit regulations in Oklahoma, you will need to file annual reports and maintain accurate records, among other things.
Can a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma also have a for-profit element?
Yes, it is possible for a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma to operate a for-profit business, but the profits must be used to further the nonprofit’s charitable purpose.
What are some examples of nonprofit corporations in Oklahoma?
Some examples of nonprofit corporations in Oklahoma include the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, the American Lung Association of Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Historical Society.
Do all nonprofits in Oklahoma qualify for tax exemptions?
No, not all nonprofits in Oklahoma qualify for tax exemptions; some are required to pay taxes on certain transactions, such as commercial operations.
What is the Oklahoma Charitable Business Act?
The Oklahoma Charitable Business Act is a law that regulates the sale of commercial ventures by nonprofit organizations in the state.
Can I receive charitable tax deductions for donations to a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma?
Yes, donors to nonprofit corporations in Oklahoma can generally receive charitable tax deductions for their contributions.
What is the Oklahoma Solicitation of Charitable Contributions Act?
The Oklahoma Solicitation of Charitable Contributions Act is a law that regulates fundraising by nonprofit organizations in the state.
Can a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma sue or be sued?
Yes, nonprofit corporations in Oklahoma can sue or be sued by others, although the specifics of legal liability can vary depending on the circumstances.
How many members are required to start a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma?
At least one person is required to start a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma, but it is recommended to have multiple members, including directors and officers.
Can I hold sales and events as a fundraiser for my nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma?
Yes, nonprofits in Oklahoma can hold sales and events to raise funds, but they must comply with legal restrictions and reporting requirements.
Can individuals be members of a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma?
Yes, individuals can be members of nonprofit corporations in Oklahoma, and they can also serve as directors and officers.
How do I dissolve a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma?
To dissolve a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma, you will need to file a notice with the Secretary of State’s office and dispose of any remaining assets in a manner consistent with the organization’s goals and mission.

Also Read

Why You Should Start Oklahoma Nonprofit

One of the main reasons why you should consider starting a nonprofit in Oklahoma is the opportunity to address critical issues facing the community. Whether it’s poverty, education, healthcare, or the environment, nonprofits have the ability to make a real difference in people’s lives. By starting your own nonprofit, you can focus on the issues that matter most to you and work towards finding solutions that can have a lasting impact on the community as a whole.

Additionally, starting a nonprofit in Oklahoma can provide you with a sense of personal fulfillment and satisfaction. Knowing that you are making a difference in the lives of others can be incredibly rewarding and can give you a sense of purpose and meaning. By starting a nonprofit, you can use your skills and passions to help others and contribute to the greater good of society.

Another reason to start a nonprofit in Oklahoma is the opportunity to build a strong network of supporters and partners. Nonprofits rely on the support of volunteers, donors, and other organizations to help them achieve their goals. By starting your own nonprofit, you can connect with like-minded individuals and organizations who share your vision and passion for making a positive impact. These partnerships can help you expand your reach, increase your impact, and build a strong foundation for your organization’s success.

Furthermore, starting a nonprofit in Oklahoma can provide you with the opportunity to develop valuable skills and experience. Working in the nonprofit sector can help you sharpen your leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills, as well as learn more about the complexities of running an organization. These skills are not only valuable in the nonprofit sector but can also be transferable to other areas of your life and career.

Finally, starting a nonprofit in Oklahoma can be a way to leave a lasting legacy. It allows you to create something that will continue to benefit the community long after you are gone. By starting a nonprofit, you can build something that will make a difference for years to come and leave a positive mark on the world.

Overall, starting a nonprofit in Oklahoma is a rewarding and meaningful endeavor that can have a lasting impact on the community and beyond. If you have a passion for helping others, a desire to make a difference, and a commitment to positive change, starting a nonprofit may be the right fit for you.

Conclusion

Forming a Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma, 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.

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