Successful non-profits understand the value of obtaining legal counsel in the early stages of forming and managing a tax-exempt organization. For instance, an experienced non-profit attorney can address current and potential legal issues that may impact an organization’s current or pending 501(c)(3) status.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of obtaining legal counsel when forming and running your non-profit organization.
Getting Started: 501( c)(3) Status
Forming a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization on your own is a difficult and risky undertaking. There are several legal prerequisites that must be addressed during the formation of your group, followed by strict adherence to the rules regarding management of tax-exempt entities. There are very specific Florida laws that must be followed regarding your Board, your bylaws, and your financial reporting.
To found a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, you will first need to form a Florida corporate business entity, then apply for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Florida Department of Revenue. These are some fairly time-consuming steps, which require a lot of detailed documentation. Furthermore, certain organizations are required to register with the Florida Attorney General depending on the nature of the not-for-profit business activities it intends to conducts and the size of the organization.
If your organization is approved for tax-exempt status (which can take several months), you will be required to file various forms each year with Florida State and federal agencies in order to remain in tax-exempt compliance. Such forms may include the following:
- Florida State Annual Report Filing
- IRS Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax
- Solicitation of Contributions
You should consult with an experienced non-profit attorney to provide you with legal counseling regarding the formation of your Florida tax-exempt organization to ensure that it is properly formed and managed so you do not incur any unwarranted tax burdens.
Not-For-Profit doesn’t mean Not-For-Money
Once your organization is up and running, you will likely seek to form business relationships with partner agencies, funding sources, and local merchants, so you need have solid, enforceable contracts written so your organization is protected from any legal challenges that may arise. Remember, even though YOU are non-profit, your suppliers and vendors are NOT, and they may try to take advantage of you. Having an experienced non-profit attorney on your side protects you, protects your donor’s money, and often helps raise the organization’s credibility.
The Law Office of Brandon Woodward P.A. is eternally grateful that you have visited our web site or read our blog. The materials and information contained here are provided for informational purposes only and are not to be considered as legal advice. For questions about non-profits or contracts, and how they affect your business, or any other legal issues facing your business, EMAIL US, and we’ll give you a totally FREE consultation.