Charitable organizations that are successful, understand the value of having legal counsel in the early stages of forming and managing a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. An attorney can address current and potential legal issues that may impact an organization’s current or pending 501(c)(3) status.
Forming a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization can be complicated. There are some legal prerequisites that must be addressed while you are starting your organization. The State of Florida has very specific laws that must be followed regarding your Board, your bylaws, your financial reporting, and the management of tax-exempt entities.
First, you will need to form a Florida corporate business entity, then apply for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service and Florida Department of Revenue. 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 conduct and the size of the organization.
It can take several months for your tax-exempt status to be approved. Once it is, you will be required to file a few forms each year with Florida State and federal agencies in order to remain in compliance with your tax exempt status. An attorney can 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. Some of the forms you need to file are:
- Florida State Annual Report Filing
- IRS Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax
- Solicitation of Contributions
As your non-profit organization forms business relationships with partner agencies, donors, and local businesses, you need have solid, enforceable contracts written so your organization is protected from any legal challenges that may come up. An attorney on your side helps protects you, the money your organization has raised, and often times raises the organization’s credibility.