Most Pennsylvania nonprofit organizations are formed as 501 3 c organizations. This means that they have been established to support some religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purpose. In order to form one of these properly, there are three basic steps:
Forming A Pennsylvania Corporation
Your first step will be to select the board of directors. In this state, each corporation must have one or more people named as directors on this board. Then agree on a name for your company. This name must be unique in the state. It is really simple to make sure your chosen name is available by searching the database here: http://www.dos.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/corporation_bureau/12457
File Pennsylvania Nonprofit Articles Of Incorporation
You should be able to obtain the correct forms from the Pennsylvania Department of State. This department should also be able to answer most of your basic questions so you can complete these forms correctly. You might seek assistance from a credible book or expert if anything about these forms is questionable or confusing to you. For example, there are some details to be attended to that will ensure the IRS will also confer tax-exempt status on your 501 3 c organizations. There are some good self-help guides to alert you to these details.
Then you simply need to prepare your bylaws and hold your first board of directors meeting. Note that you do not need to file the bylaws with the state, but you need them for your own organization’s internal use. One of order of business of your first board of directors meeting will be to approve these bylaws. Finally, appoint a secretary to your board who will set up a binder to keep your corporate records. This binder should contain, for example, approved copies of each meeting’s minutes.
Obtain Tax-Exempt Status In Pennsylvania And The US
Your 501 3 c organization now needs to be recognized by the state and the IRS as a tax-exempt organization. You need to complete RS Form 1023 with the IRS. Once the IRS has signed off, contact the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue for the state forms.
Finally, check with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office to see if you need permission to conduct specific fundraising activities. Larger organizations might need to register first. After completing this step, your group should have done everything to become one of Pennsylvania’s 501 3 c organizations.