In order for a corporation to obtain non-profit status at the federal level, it must apply to the IRS by filing IRS Form 1023. Depending on its location, a company may need to take further steps to obtain recognition at the state level even after federal acceptance.
The non-profit should ensure that Form 1023 is complete and is submitted with the appropriate user fee. Companies must also request an employer identification number, even if they have no employees, using Form SS-4. Companies can also request employer identification numbers through the phone or online. After being approved as non-profits, all charitable organizations must make their approved applications and supplementary materials available to the public in addition to its last three annual information returns.
If a non-profit intends to solicit any donations, it may have to register with its state's Department of Charities, which is usually a division of the Attorney General's office or the Secretary of State. There are 40 states which require registration before soliciting donations from the public, as of 2015, with exceptions including Arizona, Montana and Vermont. Although most states recognize federal non-profit status of companies, several states such as California have their own separate applications for acceptance.