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FAQ

How do I get a company name with the EIN?
State and Federal Online Business RegistrationEnglishIndividualsInternational TaxpayersBusinesses and Self-EmployedSmall Business and Self-EmployedEmployer ID NumbersBusiness TaxesReporting Information ReturnsSelf-EmployedStarting a BusinessOperating a BusinessClosing a BusinessIndustries/ProfessionsSmall Business EventsOnline LearningCorporationsGovernment EntitiesIf you need a business registration number from one of the states listed on this page, all you need to do is click on one of the links below. You will leave the IRS website and enter the state website.If you are from one of these states and you also want to get a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), you may obtain both your state and federal information in one session. Here’s how it works!Click on the link below to access your state’s website.Provide the requested information in the state application.You’ll then be directed to the IRS website’s online EIN application.Provide any additional information necessary to assign your EIN.Close the IRS website’s browser after obtaining your EIN.Enter your new EIN in the state application.Important Information about the Online EIN ApplicationThe online EIN application is available for all entities whose principal business, office or agency, or legal residence (in the case of an individual), is located in the United States or U.S. Territories. The principal officer, general partner, grantor, owner, trustor, etc., must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (Social Security Number, Employer Identification Number, or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) in order to use the online application.If you are a third party, you must retain on file a completed copy of the Form SS-4 signed by the customer, and the signed statement authorizing you to file the online application.i hope that could be more help
Do nonprofits have to file taxes?
There are a few different kinds of nonprofits, and they have varying reporting and tax requirements. Forming an NFP OrganizationThis is done by forming a not for profit corporation with the home state's Secretary of State or similar office. There are annual reports and fees that must be filed and paid to maintain this organization, though they are generally less than a traditional corporation. It is generally unlawful for an organization to operate as a tax exempt organization (explained below) without maintaining their organization with the state office. Applying for Tax Exempt Status With the IRSAn organization that wants to be tax exempt must file a form 1023 under section 501(c)(3) or form 1024 under section 501(a). This is a one-time form and fee. There is also an EZ version of the 1023 that is available for those that qualify. IRS Annual Returns and the Form 990The only kind of organization that does not need to file an annual return with the IRS is a "church": which is a church, or synagogue, or mosque, or other place of worship that also qualifies under section 501(c)(3). There are certain allowed activities under a place of worship like a parochial school or children's summer camp that do not fall outside of the "church" designation. A church is not disallowed from filing an annual report to the IRS, but they generally don't have to. However, some churches have found that some wealthy donors will not supply funds to an organization without the transparency a 990 offers, so there is some incentive to file. Only an organization that is tax exempt under 501(c)(3) or 501(a) may file a 990. All other NFP organizations must file the default return for their corporate and/or business type. For example, a homeowners association that does not fall under 501(a) must file a form 1120-H. There is a 990-EZ form available for small NFP organizations and a 990-N, also called the "postcard 990" for particularly small NFP tax exempt organizations. There are two additional types of 990 forms called 990-PF and 990-T. A 990-PF, Private Foundation, is for organizations who do not go to the general public to seek support. They get their funds mostly from government grants and/or membership dues and must pay some taxes on their net revenue. A 990-T is filed when an NFP operates somewhat outside of their stated mission to raise funds. An example would be a school that also owns and operates a hotel. The hotel operation may not be a part of their stated mission (unless perhaps they teach hotel management) and they may be required to pay taxes on this net revenue. State Department of Revenue Annual ReturnsThese vary by state, but they generally require similar reporting to the 990. In my home state of Illinois, the IL Attorney General's Office requires an IL-AG990 to be filed annually. Other State's have similar requirements. Sales TaxesNFP organizations who sell merchandise must collect and file sales tax returns like any other business. Payroll TaxesNFP organizations must withhold and report payroll taxes like any other business with employees. Certain types of employees who have the IRS designated title of "minister" may have different levels of taxation associated with them. A minister's salary is taxed under the SECA Act rather than the FICA Act. This means that the church may not pay the minister's employer portion of social security and medicare. A minister must file a schedule SE on his or her personal tax return and pay the full social security taxes as if they were a 1099 contractor. However, a minister may chose to file a form 4361 and opt out of social security taxes at their current and any future ministerial positions. Any minister who does this may not be eligible to eventually collect social security unless they have paid in sufficiently at other non-ministerial positions.A minister may also have a parsonage allowance. Parsonage is a housing allowance decided on by the board of the church.  This allowance is not taxed under ordinary federal taxes on the minister's personal tax return. This affects how the organization must track their ministers' salaries and how they must report these salaries on the W2 forms at the end of the year.Unemployment TaxesNFP organizations exempt under 501(c)(3) or 501(a) are also exempt from federal and state unemployment taxes and filings.
How much money do I need to start a charitable foundation?
As you put in your question, “it depends.”As has been pointed out, there are initial filing fees, which you could do on your own, or hire a lawyer with experience in this area to help you (or, perhaps, if the lawyer is interested in your mission, s/he will do it pro-bono). Figure from $800-$3,000 in hard costs. That’s all you “need.”A key question you ask is, “Do they [start with] a lump sum… or always paying into it?” Again, “it depends.”Many major foundations have been started with a single, very large endowment gift upon the retirement or death (bequest) of the donor, with just a very general guideline of how they’d like it spent (issue areas, certain communities, etc.).It seems to be the trend now that wealthy people are starting their foundations earlier in their careers, and adding to the endowment annually, and being more actively involved in the giving of grants and working with grantees.In terms of annual budget, the IRS requires that all foundations spend a minimum of 5% of their endowments annually on grants to nonprofits. This figure includes the administrative costs of such grants.Traditionally, most foundations have spent at the 5% or barely above level, and become perpetual philanthropies (as long as assets earn greater than 5%, the endowment grows and grows).A movement has been gaining steam, however, to encourage philanthropies to reach far beyond 5% and use their assets to solve problems now. (See the Giving Pledge, an effort by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet to get the wold’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy in their lifetimes: Pledger Profiles)Foundation staff again depends… large, major foundations, have staffs of hundreds of professionals, reviewing grant applications, meeting with nonprofits, collecting success data from their grantees, writing reports, etc.Then there are small family foundations with no full-time staff. Maybe a few hours of a contract accountant’s work to do the books and complete their annual 990-PF form to the IRS. I know many small foundations who “share” a single Executive Director - a professional who represents a portfolio of 10–15 such small foundations to grantees and advises the foundation on giving options.So, bottom line, you could start a foundation with as little as $5–10,000. I would, however, advise against that. For those interested in starting small foundations, I would encourage you to first research starting a Donor Advised Fund with your local Community Foundation.Donor Advised Funds give you the tax benefits of donating your money upfront (and adding annually, if you care to), along with the foundation benefits of being able to make grants with those funds over a longer period of time. You will also have the assistance of professional foundation staff in helping guide your giving and in evaluating potential grantees.
What financial records are required by United States law to be kept by a non-profit organization?
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization must keep the following on file:Complete Form 1023 and all supporting documentsAll correspondence between the organization and the IRS regarding the Form 1023, if anyThe IRS determination letter recognizing the organization’s 501(c)(3) statusAnnual returns (Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF, or 990-N, and 990-T, including all schedules) (generally, at least all returns filed within the last three years) and supporting documents and recordsOrganizational documents, such as articles of incorporation and bylaws, including any amendmentsIf the organization has employees, then it needs to keep proper records of its employees, payroll taxes, and so forth.If the organization has independent contractors, then it needs to keep proper records of payments to independent contractors, annual reporting forms, and so forth.
How can I start a nonprofit as a teenager?
Working with a mentor or sponsoring organization would greatly help you in getting started. Lets use your school as an example. Teachers and school staff can help you with getting your organization set up, recruiting volunteers, and doing charitable activities. If you start a school club, your club should be able to accept donations through the school’s bank accounts, and donations to your club might even be tax deductible.Or, you can use the existing infrastructure of a larger organization to get your nonprofit going. Some examples of larger organizations that work with teenagers include Girl Up and Interact. My local high school’s Interact club has done charitable activities in Africa with the help of advisors from our local Rotary club, and my local Girl Up club has donated bicycles to developing countries or something like that.If you want to operate an independent organization, I would start out with a fiscal sponsor. A fiscal sponsor is a nonprofit that allows you to use their charitable status and bank accounts to operate as a 501(c)(3) registered charity that can accept tax deductible donations. A fiscal sponsor allows you to get practice running an organization and can help you get started quickly and without high costs, if any.I recommend the fiscal sponsor SocialGood because they are a great organization with a convenient, fast, online application system, low fees, and broad mission statement so almost any nonprofit project can use their services.
How do I start a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with step-by-step instructions?
Here is one way to start a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the USA.Nonprofit organizations generally must have a board of directors. Find three other people who have knowledge, skills, and abilities that can help the organization and are willing to serve on the board of directors to oversee the organization.Hold the first official meeting of your organization’s board of directors. Elect a president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary. The president will lead the organization and organize meetings. The vice president leads when the president is unavailable. The treasurer is in charge of overseeing the finances of the organization, preparing financial reports, and making sure all returns are filed promptly with governmental agencies. The secretary keeps important documents and records minutes of meetings. Determine the organization’s mission, vision, and methods of fundraising. Determine who will accept mail on the organization’s behalf (registered agent). Determine what resources (financial and otherwise) the organization needs to fulfill its mission. Prepare the organization’s first year’s budget.Formally incorporate the organization. It is virtually always best to incorporate in the state in which the organization primarily operates. For example, to incorporate in Virginia, you could complete a Form SCC819 (Articles of Incorporation) to incorporate, and send it to the Virginia State Corporation Commission with a $70 filing fee. https://www.scc.virginia.gov/pub...After preparing the Articles of Incorporation, have a formal vote to adopt the Articles of Incorporation. (Keep in mind that most states use the term “non-stock corporation” instead of nonprofit organization)Write the organization’s bylaws. Bylaws detail how the organization operates. Bylaws generally include the name of the organization, the mission of the organization, the officers that the organization will have, the duties of each officer, how officers are elected, how long officers serve, whether there will be members of the organization and membership dues to be paid by members, when meetings will be held, how meetings will be conducted, how the organization’s finances will be managed, what fiscal year the organization will use, how often financial reports will be prepared and presented, how the bylaws may be amended, indemnification of officers, whether the officers will be compensated for their work, whether the organization may have any paid employees, a conflict of interest policy, a nondiscrimination policy, what happens if an officer resigns, and what happens if the organization ceases to exist. After writing the bylaws, have a formal vote to adopt the bylaws. (Keep in mind that, many nonprofit organizations are 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations so that donors’ contributions are tax-deductible. If this applies to your organization, then the IRS requires certain language in the organization’s bylaws regarding the organization’s purpose and provisions upon its dissolution. See Part III in IRS Form 1023 for more information. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/...)When the state writes back to you to say the organization is officially organized, decide which bank the organization will have a bank account, and open a corporate checking account there. The bank will ask to see the letter of incorporation from the state and the secretary’s minutes from the meeting when officers were elected.Forty states require a nonprofit organization to apply to solicit charitable contributions from its residents. For example, Virginia requires an organization to register with Form 102 along with a $100 initial filing fee. There is also an annual renewal and filing fee of between $30 and $325 per year thereafter. http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/pd... Alternatively, certain organizations can file a Form 100 instead with a $10 filing fee. http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/pd... (The ten states that do not require this type of registration are Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas (in most cases), Vermont, and Wyoming.) When the state approves the organization’s charitable solicitation registration, the organization can begin asking individuals, corporations, and other nonprofit organizations located in that state for charitable contributions.Generally, within 27 months of formation, the organization should apply for 501(c)(3) recognition from the Internal Revenue Service using either Form 1023 ( https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/...https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/...) or Form 1023-EZ ( https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/...https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/...). Very small organizations need not apply, but almost all other organizations should. The filing fee is $600 for most organizations; organizations who file a Form 1023-EZ are eligible to pay $275 instead. The Internal Revenue Service often takes six to nine months to process and approve the application, but sometimes it can take as little as four weeks. Sometimes the IRS will ask for further information. When the IRS sends a letter recognizing the organization’s 501(c)(3) status, do a little dance, and keep the letter in a safe place. Also keep a copy of the Form 1023 or Form 1023-EZ that was filed. Some donors may want to see them, an organization is required to show it to a person to requests to see it. Determination of the organization’s 501(c)(3) status is typically made retroactive to the organization’s date of formation.File a Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF, or 990-N with the IRS every year, within four months fifteen days of the end of the organization’s fiscal year. Keep copies of previously filed forms in case a member of the public asks to see them. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/...https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/...(Alternatively, if your organization wants to file as a different type of nonprofit, it may want to file a Form 1024 with the IRS instead. A few types of nonprofit organizations can self-designate itself tax-exempt under certain circumstances, but it is important to look carefully into this if the organization wants to go this route. Keep in mind that donations to organizations that do not have 501(c)(3) status are almost never tax-deductible to the donor. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/...https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/...)Good luck!
When are private foundations required to file form 990? And when does the IRS make it publicly available?
Private Foundations file a Form 990PF. Public Charities file a Form 990. Both may need to file a Form 990T if they have Unrelated Business Taxable Income (UBTI).The Form 990PF is filed on the 15th day of the 5th month following the year end of the foundation. For a December 31 year end foundation, it would file by May 15th of the following year. The Form 990PF filing deadline can be extended for 3 months and then for another 3 months. Many private foundations have fiscal years that are different from the standard calendar year.What is Form 990 or 990-PF? How can I learn about using them?The Form 990PF and Form 990 are governed by IRS Disclosure Regulations.https://www.irs.gov/charities-no...Public Disclosure and Availability of Exempt Organizations Returns and Applications: Documents Subject to Public DisclosurePublic Disclosure and Availability of Exempt Organizations Returns and Applications: Documents Subject to Public DisclosureWhat tax documents must an exempt organization make available for public inspection and copying?An exempt organization must make available for public inspection its exemption application. An exemption application includes the Form 1023 (for organizations recognized as exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3)), Form 1024 (for organizations recognized as exempt under most other paragraphs of section 501(c)), or the letter submitted under the paragraphs for which no form is prescribed, together with supporting documents and any letter or document issued by the IRS concerning the application. A political organization exempt from taxation under section 527(a) must make available for public inspection and copying its notice of status, Form 8871.In addition, an exempt organization must make available for public inspection and copying its annual return. Such returns include Form 990 , Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax,Form 990-EZ , Short Form Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, Form 990-PF, Return of Private Foundation, Form 990-BL , Information and Initial Excise Tax Return for Black Lung Benefit Trusts and Certain Related Persons, and the Form 1065 , U.S. Partnership Return of Income.A section 501(c)(3) organization must make available for public inspection and copying any Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return, filed after August 17, 2006. Returns must be available for a three-year period beginning with the due date of the return (including any extension of time for filing). For this purpose, the return includes any schedules, attachments, or supporting documents that relate to the imposition of tax on the unrelated business income of the charity. See Public Inspection and Disclosure of Form 990-T for more information.An exempt organization is not required to disclose Schedule K-1 of Form 1065 or Schedule A ofForm 990-BL. With the exception of private foundations, an exempt organization is not required to disclose the name and address of any contributor to the organization.A political organization exempt from taxation under section 527(a) must make available for inspection and copying its report of contributions and expenditures on Form 8872, Political Organization Report of Contributions and Expenditures. However, such organization is not required to make available its return on Form 1120-POL, U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Political Organizations.Most Forms 990 and 990PF are available on Guidestar a short time after they are filed with the IRS. Some Schedules attached to the Forms are not subject to public disclosure.GuideStar nonprofit reports and Forms 990 for donors, grantmakers, and businesses
How do you set up a philanthropic foundation?
Before answering, it's important to determine exactly what you mean when you use the word "foundation."  "Foundation" is used in a variety of contexts which can lead to confusion when you are discussing the specifics behind creating one.  In answering this question I will assume you mean a private foundation, which is a 501c3, nonprofit entity that is controlled by, and receives most of its funding from, a single individual, family, or business.As the first step I would recommend determining the purpose and mission of your foundation.  Everything else will eventually flow from this point.  You want to know why you are setting up a foundation, what you are interested in, and to a lesser extent, what you hope to accomplish.  As you grow and progress you will want to improve your grant making, measure progress, etc. and you will always struggle with this unless you have a purpose and mission that guides the foundation and its undertakings.Once you've done that you'll need to first set up a legal entity in the state you're going to do business in.  Every state has different rules and application processes, but the main decision in all cases is whether to establish the foundation as a corporation or a trust.  There are points for each, but generally private foundations are set up as corporations since they are more flexible in terms of accommodating change and directing the funds you will be giving out.  At a minimum incorporation will involve filing, identifying board members, and drawing up your articles of incorporation.  Depending on the state, and/or your own wishes, you might also establish by-laws, a conflict of interest policy, investment policy, etc. at this time.  For the most part, especially with an investment or expense policy (or other smaller details), these things can wait until later in the life of the foundation, if you choose to adopt them at all.Next, you'll need to move onto your interactions with the IRS.  You'll want to obtain an EIN number from the IRS, as well as apply for 501c3 tax exempt status.  This will involve completing Form SS-4 and Form 1023 respectively.  The IRS will take anywhere from 6-18 months to review Form 1023 and, potentially, award you 501c3 status, so it's good to get that moving as soon as possible and to be as thorough as possible in your application.Each one of the steps above has a variety of details associated with it, but this is the 30,000 foot overview.