The first step to forming a non-profit company in New York is filing a Certificate of Incorporation with the New York Department of State. The Certificate of Incorporation is the main organizational document that includes information about the nonprofit company including the name, address, charitable purposes, directors, etc.
The Certificate of Incorporation for a non-profit company must meet all of the legal requirements of the State of New York and if you intend to apply for 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt status with the IRS then their requirements must be met too. The IRS requires certain provisions to be included and believe me, the IRS examines these documents very carefully for any company proposing to not pay taxes and therefore professional preparation is critical. To clarify, by “professional” I mean drafted by an experienced New York Attorney and not by an anonymous LegalZoom receptionist in California (you get what you pay for).
The next important document to consider are the non-profit corporate bylaws. These are not submitted to the State of NY, but are submitted to the IRS for examination if the entity applies for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Again, these documents are carefully examined by the government to assess if the entity qualifies for tax exempt status, so professional preparation is advisable.
Once the company is set up and has obtained an EIN number, the next step is drafting and submitting the Form 1023 for IRS tax exemption. These are very complicated applications and that can requires many hours of work. There can also be a lot of back and fourth and re-submissions with the IRS, so I cannot stress this enough: Be smart and secure adequate representation who’s familiar with this process. Having an attorney and accountant on your team will make the difference. Obtaining the exemption is only half the battle; we’ll discuss maintaining the exemption we’ll in another blog post soon.
If you have questions about setting up a 501c3 non-profit company in New York CONTACT US for a free phone consultation. For more details about our flat fee 501(c)(3) non-profit formation service click here.