Organizational Structure

State, County and Municipality Requirements

Size of Organization: 

Being recognized as a tax-exempt nonprofit may provide you with extra benefits but you may also need to file additional forms.

  • Apply for your state corporate income tax exemption. Check with the appropriate state corporate tax agency. This usually is much less onerous than the federal tax- exemption process.
  • To benefit from lower postal rates, get a nonprofit mailing permit from your post office.
  • If you have paid staff, you need to report federal and state taxes (payroll) to the appropriate taxing authority. Your employees need to provide a federal W-4 form to the organization so that the number of withholdings they choose can be accommodated. There are separate withholding forms available for the states.
  • Check with your state unemployment insurance bureau whether you are subject to obtaining unemployment insurance, or paying unemployment taxes.
  • Your organization may be exempt from paying sales tax, but it is not necessarily exempt from collecting it.
  • You may be eligible for exemption from property taxes. Contact your local agency.
  • If you carry on business in any other state, you will probably need to register in that state, too. Check with the Secretary of State's office.
  • The above also applies to fundraising. Familiarizing yourself with the Unified Registration Kit may be very helpful   
  • You may need to acquire special licenses if your activities relate to providing health care, day care, distributing food or alcohol, and so on. You may need building or zoning permits or specific accreditation qualifications. Contact appropriate local agencies or professional associations.
  • Check what types of insurances are necessary to carry on your business and to protect your managers and the assets from harm. You may also find it necessary to obtain a Directors' and Officers' insurance to protect the members of the governing body.


How to Start a Nonprofit, Council of Nonprofits

How to Start a Nonprofit Organization [10-Step Guide], donorbox