Attain 501(c)(3) status with the help of affordable non-profit lawyers.
Qualifying to become a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization certainly has it’s advantages. First, contributions to these non-profits are deductible on the donor’s income tax returns. Also, they can receive grants from other non-profits and government agencies as well as accept donations from private donations. Perhaps most importantly, directors of these types of non-profits are provided personal liability restrictions. There are some restrictions that non-profits face with this type of special classification. A few include not being able to be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests and the inability to participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates. It's smart to consult with non-profit attorneys to fully understand what's required to attain 501(c)(3) status.
Benefits of legal advice
Make sure your filings are in order
It’s helpful to have a professional double-check the materials you’re submitting. Forgetting something will only delay your ability to be protected from personal liability, plus some applications are non-refundable.
Gain a fresh perspective
Although you may have already come to the conclusion that your organization should be a non-profit, is that really the right move? Experienced non-profit lawyers may suggest another route that makes more sense.
Provides long-term stability.
Non-profit lawyers who assist you during formation will have a greater familiarity of your organization and its needs going forward, rather than a random lawyer you’re forced to hire when something goes wrong.
What’s a 501(c)(3) entity?
It's a non-profit organization formed for charitable, educational, religious or scientific purposes, and organized and operated according to section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Importantly, none of its earnings can be distributed to private shareholders or individuals.
Can I use a “do it yourself” website?
You could but you’re exposing yourself to risk. Those sites certainly have limitations, largely in that their forms are standardized and may leave out important details specific to your organization. You also miss out on the ability to have an attorney examine the right status and state right for you.
When should a non-profit file for 501(c)(3) status?
It’s smart to file within 27 months of the date you file your nonprofit articles of incorporation. If you file within this time period, your nonprofit's tax exemption takes effect on the date you filed your articles of incorporation.
Do I need an attorney to secure 501(c)(3) status?
Not necessarily - but it’s wise to. Organizations that seek non-profit status are routinely denied. That’s why it’s important to secure an experienced attorney in the beginning because once you’re denied it becomes even more difficult to secure 501(c)(3) status.
Are there any activities which may cause loss of 501(c)(3) status?
There are many activities that can cause a loss in exempt status. If your organization is a 501(c)(3), you are prohibited from engaging in any activity which involves the financial or other support of a candidate running for office. Although a limited amount of lobbying is allowed, this is another area which can cause loss of exempt status if it is excessive. Other areas that can cause problems with maintaining exempt status are using an exempt organization to generate trade or business income, violating the private inurement doctrine, and failing to pay federal income tax and possibly state and local income tax for any net income generated from trade or business activities.