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Here are the steps you need to follow to form a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation in Georgia.
While we don’t support nonprofit corporation formations at this time, we can create your Georgia LLCs and other corporation types. Get started below.
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To form a corporation in Georgia that exists for charitable, educational, religious, humanitarian, or other nonprofit purposes, there are certain steps to follow. We’ll walk you through them and explain how to apply for tax-exempt status.
Steps to Form a Georgia Nonprofit Corporation
- Select initial directors
- Choose a name
- Choose a Georgia registered agent
- File Articles of Incorporation with Georgia
- Publish a Notice of Incorporation
- File initial annual registration within 90 days of filing
- Create corporate bylaws for your Georgia nonprofit corporation
- Hold initial meeting for the board of directors
- Set up a corporate records binder or other means of keeping records
- Get tax ID numbers
- Apply for licenses and permits
- Apply for tax-exempt status
- Register as a charity with the state
- Acquire insurance
- Open a bank account for your Georgia nonprofit corporation
Step 1: Select initial directors
Georgia law requires that you name one initial director, but if you want to apply for an IRS tax exemption, it is a good idea to select at least three. These directors must be at least 18, but there are no membership or residency requirements.
Step 2: Choose a name
Pick a name that signals the purpose of your Georgia nonprofit corporation. Check with the Georgia Secretary of State Corporate Division’s business name database name to see if that name is available. The name needs to include either “corporation,” “company,” “limited,” “incorporated,” “Corp,” “Co,” “Ltd,” or “Inc.”
Once you find an appropriate name for your Georgia nonprofit corporation, you want to make sure nobody else takes it. You can do this with the state of Georgia, and the name will be reserved for 30 days. Or, you can use our name reservation service to protect your choice until you’re ready to incorporate. You may also want a domain name (website address) for your Georgia nonprofit corporation. our domain name service can help you get the ideal domain name.
Step 3: Choose a Georgia registered agent
Your Georgia nonprofit corporation will need a registered agent. This is an individual or a business that will accept important papers and other legal documents on behalf of your nonprofit. Your registered agent must have a physical address in Georgia and be available during regular business hours.
We offer a registered agent service. Our registered agent partners will accept these documents on your behalf and then upload them to your ZenBusiness dashboard.
Step 4: File Articles of Incorporation with Georgia
You’ll need to file nonprofit Articles of Incorporation with the Georgia Secretary of State. These articles will include the name of your Georgia nonprofit corporation, the addresses and names of your registered agent and your incorporators, whether you plan to have members, and your Georgia nonprofit corporation’s mailing address. You can file online, in person, or by mail.
Foreign (out-of-state) entities must first apply for a Certificate of Authority to transact business in Georgia.
Georgia does not provide any Articles of Incorporation forms, but it does provide guidelines that you can use.
You can file your Articles of Incorporation on the Secretary of State’s website. If you plan to file them by mail, you’ll need to include a transmittal form.
Step 5: Publish a Notice of Incorporation
Georgia law requires that you publish a Notice of Incorporation in the nearest newspaper to your physical office on the next business day after you submit your Articles of Incorporation for a Georgia nonprofit corporation. You must choose a newspaper that is the official legal publication of the county where you’re registered, or in a newspaper with a minimum of 60% paid subscriptions. This notice of intent along with a fee needs to be sent directly to the publisher.
The template is:
Please publish once a week for two consecutive weeks a notice in the following form:
Notice is given that articles of incorporation that will incorporate (Name of Corporation) have been delivered to the Secretary of State for filing in accordance with the Georgia Business Corporation Code (or Georgia Nonprofit Corporation Code). The initial registered office of the corporation is located at (Address of Registered Office) and its initial registered agent at such address is (Name of Registered Agent). Enclosed is (check, draft or money order) in the amount of $40.00 in payment of the cost of publishing this notice.
Sincerely, (Authorized signature)
Step 6: File initial annual registration within 90 days of filing
Every Georgia nonprofit corporation needs to file an initial annual registration with the Secretary of State within 90 days of filing Articles of Incorporation. After the initial registration, you’ll need to file your annual registration between January 1 and April 30 of the following year.
Step 7: Create corporate bylaws for your Georgia nonprofit corporation
Your bylaws will outline how you’ll run your Georgia nonprofit corporation. Important issues like the appointment or the replacement of directors and officers, voting procedures, and how to deal with conflicts of interest are a few of the things your bylaws should cover.
Step 8: Hold initial meeting for the board of directors
This will be one of the most important meetings that your Georgia nonprofit corporation will hold. During this meeting, you’ll approve the bylaws, appoint the nonprofit’s officers, and select a bank for financial matters. Your board must meet at least once a year.
Step 9: Set up a corporate records binder or other means of keeping records
Record minutes of every meeting. Place the minutes of these meetings, along with other important documents, in a binder or on the cloud where they can be easily accessed.
Step 10: Get tax ID numbers
Apply for your Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). This will allow you to open a bank account, hire workers, and file taxes. We can help you do this with our EIN service.
Your next step is to apply for your Georgia state tax identification number from the Georgia Department of Revenue.
Step 11: Apply for licenses and permits
You’ll need to apply for various state and local licenses for your Georgia nonprofit corporation. For instance, you’ll need a different permit to run a bingo game than to run a raffle.
Keeping track of all these different licenses and permits can be confusing. Check out our business license report service. The service will indicate what kind of licenses or permits you’ll need, based on your location, from all levels of government.
Step 12: Apply for tax-exempt status
Obtaining federal tax-exempt status, usually under a 501(3)(c), for your Georgia nonprofit corporation is extremely important. You can raise funds, apply for grants, and issue tax receipts for donations or gifts. It also exempts you from federal income taxes.
It’s important you check with the IRS website to understand the specific terms you’ll need to use and what information you must provide when applying for tax-exempt status for your nonprofit corporation.
Once you obtain federal tax-exempt status, you’ll be automatically exempt from Georgia corporation taxes. Just attach your Articles of Incorporation and the letter from the IRS granting tax-exempt status to your Georgia tax returns. You can apply for income tax exemption by filling out this form.
This does not exempt you, however, from Georgia state sales tax. The state imposes sales tax on most Georgia nonprofit corporations.
Step 13: Register as a charity with the state
If you want to raise funds or accept donations for your Georgia nonprofit corporation, you’ll need to register as a charity with the Georgia Professional Licensing Boards and Securities Division.
Step 14: Acquire insurance
Most businesses with three or more employees (paid or or unpaid) require workers’ compensation at the very least, and liability insurance is wise. The kind of insurance you’ll need depends on the kind of Georgia nonprofit corporation you’re running. Your best bet is to talk to a licensed insurance agent.
Step 15: Open a bank account for your Georgia nonprofit corporation
You’ll likely need a copy of your Articles of Incorporation, your EIN, and a copy of your Georgia nonprofit corporation’s bylaws to open an account.
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Georgia Nonprofit Corporation FAQs
- Can the founder of a Georgia nonprofit receive a salary?
Yes. Both state law and the IRS allow the founder of a Georgia nonprofit corporation to receive a reasonable salary if they operate as an employee and register as such with the business and IRS.(Video) How to Get Your 501c3 ~ Sample 501c3 Application | Nonprofit Organization - 501c3 Organization
- How much does it cost to start a nonprofit corporation in Georgia?
Your starting costs will be $100 for the Articles of Incorporation and $40 for the publication notice fee. There are also additional costs for licenses and permits, but those are dependent upon what you need for your specific nonprofit.
- What happens if a Georgia nonprofit makes money?
If a Georgia nonprofit makes money in pursuit of its mission, those funds are not considered income and are nontaxable. These funds can be used to improve the nonprofit.
- What kinds of Georgia businesses can be a nonprofit?
Georgia nonprofit corporations fall into several categories including educational, scientific, charitable, veterans, healthcare, and religious. Can nonprofits sell products? Georgia nonprofit corporations can sell products and services to raise money to accomplish their goals, but they need to pay sales tax on any goods or services sold by the organization.
Georgia Small Business ServicesGet a Georgia Operating Agreement Template File Your Georgia Annual Report Start a Business in Georgia Get a DBA Name for Your Georgia Business Form a Georgia Corporation Form Your Georgia LLC Get a Georgia Registered Agent
Most Popular States to Start a Nonprofit Corporation
- Florida Nonprofit Corporation
- Virginia Nonprofit Corporation
- Wisconsin Nonprofit Corporation
- Michigan Nonprofit Corporation
- Ohio Nonprofit Corporation
- Oregon Nonprofit Corporation
- Missouri Nonprofit Corporation
- Montana Nonprofit Corporation
- Oklahoma Nonprofit Corporation
- New York Nonprofit Corporation
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What It Costs to Form a Georgia Non-profit. It costs $100 to file Articles of Incorporation as a non-profit in the Peach State. A $40 fee applies for publication of your Notice of Intent to Incorporate. The IRS charges a filing fee of $850, unless your nonprofit's annual revenues are below $10,000.How many board members are required for a nonprofit in Georgia? ›
The state of Georgia only requires nonprofit organizations to have one board member, but the IRS rarely provides tax-exempt status with less than three unrelated board members. It is recommended for nonprofits to have three to twenty-five board members depending on the size and purpose of the organization.Does a nonprofit need a business license in Georgia? ›
Organizations wishing to solicit charitable contributions in the State of Georgia must register to conduct business in the state, reach a determination with the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") of its federal tax status, and then register as a charitable organization with the Office of the Georgia Secretary of State.Can you run a nonprofit alone? ›
Technically speaking, yes, you can start a nonprofit alone. However, it takes a lot of time and effort, so if you can't work on it full-time, we strongly recommend doing it with a partner or a team. The other thing is, even if you start out completely on your own, you will very quickly need to involve other people.Do nonprofit owners make money? ›
Non-profit founders earn money for running the organizations they founded. They often put in long work hours and make far less money than executives at for-profit organizations. When running a non-profit is their sole employment, it is reasonable for them to draw a salary for the work they do.Is opening up a nonprofit worth it? ›
Creating a nonprofit enables you to think beyond profits and revenue, and enables you to think of your overall purpose in life or business. It's a vehicle that allows you to focus on the big picture and set long-term goals and objectives that can change the lives of hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people.How I started my own nonprofit? ›
- Complete the articles of incorporation. ...
- File the articles of incorporation. ...
- Draft bylaws. ...
- Hold an official meeting. ...
- Apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number. ...
- Apply for federal tax exemption. ...
- Familiarize yourself with initial state requirements. ...
- Register as a charity.
Non-profit companies must at all times have at least three directors (unless MoI indicated a higher minimum number of directors). The appointment of an auditor and company secretary is not mandatory but optional.What is the most common type of nonprofit? ›
501(c)(3) - charitable organizations
501(c)(3) charities are the most popular type of nonprofit. There are more than 1.5 million registered charitable organizations in the United States. 501(c)(3) organizations are funded primarily through charitable donations and government grants.
A limited liability company or a Low-Profit LLC can exist as a nonprofit limited liability company if the LLC is completely owned by a single tax-exempt organization and the LLC meets a dozen requirements as set forth in an IRS mandate called: “Limited Liability Companies as Exempt Organization Update.”
The founder is hired by the nonprofit as the executive director (or in a similar leadership role). This way, the founder is paid, but they do give up all their authority to the board of directors, which governs the nonprofit and has hiring/firing authority of the founder's position.Who regulates nonprofits in Georgia? ›
The Secretary of State regulates charitable organizations operating within the state. All charitable organizations are required to register with the Secretary of State unless exempted by law. You can search the Secretary of State's database for registered charities at http://verify.sos.ga.gov/websites/verification/.Can husband and wife serve on nonprofit board? ›
A married couple, or other closely related persons, can serve together on a nonprofit board provided that no higher authority prevents it.Are nonprofits tax-exempt in Georgia? ›
Generally, Georgia does not grant a sales or use tax exemption to churches, religious, charitable, civic and other nonprofit organizations. These organizations are required to pay sales tax on all purchases of tangible personal property.Does Georgia require bylaws for nonprofit? ›
Nonprofit bylaws are legally required in Georgia.
In Georgia, bylaws are legally required by the state. According to GA Code § 14-3-206, the nonprofit's incorporators or board of directors shall adopt initial bylaws.
- A founding document /constitution. Here's a checklist to help you formulate your organisation's constitution.
- A deed of trust (a written agreement used by trusts).
- The memorandum and articles of association (which set out the mission of your NPO and monitors its growth).
Association, Trust, or Corporation
A nonprofit organization can organize itself in four ways: an unincorporated association, a trust, a corporation, or a limited liability company.
A nonprofit can have a president/CEO and an executive director if the organization maintains a specific structure.What is the founder of a nonprofit called? ›
The founder or founders of a newly formed nonprofit typically hold the position of Board President or Chairman of the Board (often referred to as just “Chairman”). The founder's official title and role can change depending on the needs and desires of the board.How do you pay yourself in a non profit? ›
You can pay yourself a reasonable compensation for services actually rendered. The IRS judges reasonableness on the basis of comparable salaries for comparable organizations, not on the percentage of income of the employer organization that goes toward salaries.
A commonly used reserve goal is 3-6 months' expenses. At the high end, reserves should not exceed the amount of two years' budget. At the low end, reserves should be enough to cover at least one full payroll. However, each nonprofit should set its own reserve goal based on its cash flow and expenses.Is it better to start a nonprofit or for-profit? ›
Start by asking yourself about your goals for your business. Is your main to make money? Then you should start a for-profit business. But if you want your business to donate profits and services to the public, consider starting a nonprofit business.What are 2 disadvantages of a nonprofit organization? ›
- Limited Purposes. In order to be exempt under the tax laws, a nonprofit organization can only perform certain functions listed in those laws. ...
- Lobbying. ...
- Public Scrutiny.
- Wages. Just as for-profit businesses, your nonprofit can deduct wages it pays to employees, including holiday bonuses. ...
- Fringe benefits. ...
- Repairs. ...
- Marketing and advertising expenses. ...
- Licenses and training. ...
- Financial losses.
Budgeting a Nonprofit's Money
Any surplus that the nonprofit receives is reinvested back into the nonprofit itself, assuming they don't use it to pay outstanding debts. Additional funds may also be placed into a reserve fund that the organization can use if they run into financial difficulties.
There Are Three Main Types of Charitable Organizations
Most organizations are eligible to become one of the three main categories, including public charities, private foundations and private operating foundations.
Forming a new nonprofit might be the most complicated way to act on your passion to serve your community. The biggest challenge for most new nonprofits is to develop and maintain reliable income streams. Estimates vary, but most experts agree that less than half of nonprofit startups survive beyond five years.How do you start a nonprofit with no money? ›
- Create a Business Plan.
- Build a Board.
- Find an Online Fundraising Tool That's Free to Start.
- Assemble Supporters and Create a Team of Passionate Volunteers.
- Hold Free Events and Online Campaigns.
- Apply for Community Grants.
- Find Fiscal Sponsors.
- Form Corporate Partnerships.
How do nonprofits recruit board members? First and foremost, there are no legal guidelines in place determining who can serve on the board of a nonprofit. This means it's entirely up to your organization who will be the best individual for the position.Who appoints the board in a nonprofit? ›
Often, a nominating committee of existing board members evaluates the current board situation and its needs, gathers names of prospective new members, and recommends candidates to the full board, which then votes on whether to elect the new members.
- Getting paid. ...
- Going rogue. ...
- Being on a board with a family member. ...
- Directing staff or volunteers below the executive director. ...
- Playing politics. ...
- Thinking everything is fine and nothing needs to change.
Most nonprofits sustain their programs essentially through a mix of private contributions, donations (including in- kind), fundraising activities and events, fees charged for certain services (including membership) or sales of goods/items.What should every nonprofit have? ›
- Get Clear on Your Mission. ...
- Gather a Great Board. ...
- Craft Bylaws. ...
- Conflict of Interest Policy. ...
- Choose an Entity Structure and Tax Status. ...
- Develop an Annual Budget and Strategic Plan. ...
- Create a Realistic Fundraising Plan.
The main distinction between an LLC and a nonprofit is that a nonprofit is formed to serve a public or charitable purpose, whereas an LLC is formed to earn a profit. This means that nonprofits do not have to pay federal taxes per IRS subsection 501(c), whereas LLCs do.How long does it take to get 501c3? ›
Applications for nonprofit status must be submitted online to the IRS. If an organization is eligible to apply for nonprofit status with Form 1023-EZ, the process can take as little as four weeks. For those who must file Form 1023, the process could take up to six months or longer.How do I change my LLC to a nonprofit in Georgia? ›
- Resolve to convert from an LLC to a corporation by voting.
- Choose a name for the nonprofit organization (if you decide not to go with the LLC's name)
- Officially file Articles of Incorporation.
- Transfer the LLC's assets and liabilities to the corporation.
- Choose a name. ...
- File articles of incorporation. ...
- Apply for your IRS tax exemption. ...
- Apply for a state tax exemption. ...
- Draft bylaws. ...
- Appoint directors. ...
- Hold a meeting of the board. ...
- Obtain licenses and permits.
Nonprofit vs not-for-profit organizations
Nonprofits are formed explicitly to benefit the public good; not-for-profits exist to fulfill an owner's organizational objectives. Nonprofits can have a separate legal entity; not-for-profits cannot have a separate legal entity.
- Define a philanthropic objective.
- Create a mission statement.
- Solidify grantmaking guidelines.
- Hire a legal team and financial advisors for initial planning and ongoing compliance, recordkeeping and tax returns.
- Establish a board structure and appoint board members or trustees.
What It Costs to Form a Georgia Non-profit. It costs $100 to file Articles of Incorporation as a non-profit in the Peach State. A $40 fee applies for publication of your Notice of Intent to Incorporate. The IRS charges a filing fee of $850, unless your nonprofit's annual revenues are below $10,000.
Charities should generally not compensate persons for service on the board of directors except to reimburse direct expenses of such service. ... Charities may pay reasonable compensation for services provided by officers and staff.What should nonprofit board members not do? ›
- Failing to Understand Fiduciary Duties.
- Failing to Provide Effective Oversight.
- Deference to the Executive Committee, Board Chair, or the Organization's Founder.
- Micro-managing Staff.
- Avoiding The Hard Questions.
- Insufficient Conflict Management.
- Lack of Awareness of Laws Governing Tax-Exempts.
Being a fiduciary obviously includes the financial aspects of a nonprofit. Each board member has a responsibility to ensure, to the best of their ability, that all funds are handled and accounted for in a transparent and compliant manner.How do I register my non profit organization? ›
- Application Form or Renewal of Charity Status (Application Form)
- Certificate of Registration / Certificate of Incorporation.
- Entity's Tax Registration Number (TRN)
Yes, a limited liability company (LLC) can be a nonprofit. However, forming a nonprofit limited liability company can be complex, so few people choose this option. When people refer to nonprofits, they often mean a nonprofit corporation. This is because many of the founders of nonprofits choose to incorporate.How much does it cost to start a nonprofit organization? ›
To file with the IRS to be tax-exempt, you must file the 1023 form, which costs either $275 or $600 depending on which form you use. This means that filing costs in total will cost at least $350 - $675. This process will vary depending on your state and type of nonprofit.How do I register a non profit with the IRS? ›
To apply for recognition by the IRS of exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Code, use a Form 1023-series application. The application must be submitted electronically on www.pay.gov and must, including the appropriate user fee.What is the difference between 501c3 and 501c19? ›
The biggest difference, then, is the specific group the organization serves. While 501(c)(3) organizations might serve some veterans, their main goal usually isn't to serve only veterans. That's where 501(c)(19) organizations come in!Does the founder of a nonprofit get paid? ›
The bottom line is that non-profit founders and employees are paid from the gross revenues of the organization. These salaries are considered part of the operating costs of the organization.How does a non profit make money? ›
Some nonprofits receive donated items, which they then sell. Nonprofits can also make money from the services that they provide to the public. For example, a nonprofit organization that focuses on education could host classes for the community. They could charge a fee for these classes.
Start by asking yourself about your goals for your business. Is your main to make money? Then you should start a for-profit business. But if you want your business to donate profits and services to the public, consider starting a nonprofit business.What are operating expenses for a nonprofit? ›
Operational costs are expenses a nonprofit incurs — whether it is actively generating a product or service or not generating one at all. Essentially, operating expenses are the "keep the lights on" costs of the nonprofit world. These include: Literally keeping the lights on — meaning electricity and other utilities.How many people are needed to register a non-profit company? ›
A non-profit company must have at least three incorporators and three directors and may be registered with or without members.What are the advantages of a non-profit company? ›
- Separate entity status. A nonprofit corporation (or LLC) has its own separate existence. ...
- Perpetual existence. ...
- Limited liability protection. ...
- Tax-exempt status. ...
- Access to grants. ...
- US Postal Service discounts. ...
- Credibility. ...
- Professional registered agent.
How much does it cost. R175 - Memorandum of Incorporation (Subject to allowed reduction) for standard non-profit company (CoR 15.1C). R475 - Memorandum of Incorporation (Subject to allowed reduction) for customised non-profit company with members (CoR 15.1D) or without members (CoR 15.1E).