Beginning Steps to Start a California NonProfit 501(c)3

Where to start your CA NonProfit Filings

You've decided to start a California NonProfit Organization. Where do you begin?

The initial decision-making process for starting a NonProfit in California should include coming up with an appropriate name, verifying the availability of that name, shaping your intentions on the solicitation and distribution of monies, services and/or goods and clearly identifying the persons who will benefit from your work. You'll decide whether there will be compensation for any of the duties you and your Board intend to perform and consider the best candidates to help you achieve the goals of your California Non Profit Organization.

Once these fundamentals are answered, you may move towards the beginning of the filing processes. Before the Internal Revenue Service will accept an application for Tax Exemption, they will require that you become a recognized business entity in the State of California. This means you will incorporate with the California Secretary of State or in some cases file as a California Unincorporated NonProfit Association. The IRS will accept either of these types of California NonProfit Business Entities with an Exemption Application.

A set of Organizing Documents must be created- this will be either Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Association- and a set of NonProfit Bylaws that will establish rules that are designed to guide and in some cases protect the organization are recommended by the IRS. These Organizing Documents must be compliant with both the laws of California and those of the Internal Revenue Service.

Once your California Non Profit Organizing Documents are endorsed by the Secretary of State and you have obtained an IRS Employer Identification Number, you will have the paperwork required by most financial institutions to open a NonProfit Bank Account. At this time all additional agencies and reporting requirements specific to California should be met. For California NonProfit Corporations this will include registering your NonProfit Officers and establishing a NonProfit Board of Directors. Most California Charitable Corporations will also have filings required with the California Attorney General's Office if you have or are accepting donations at this time.

Once you have been filed properly and completely as a California NonProfit Corporation or California Unincorporated Non Profit Association, you will be in the position to advance to the next step: Tax Exemption.

Final Steps to Filing For NonProfit 501(c) Tax Exemption