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How do you file an application for nonprofit status?

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Quick Answer

To file an application for nonprofit status, organizations must choose a business name, prepare nonprofit articles of incorporation, and submit them to the state corporate filing office, reports Nolo. To receive tax-exempt status, the corporation then submits a copy of the returned articles of incorporation, along with IRS Package 1023, Application of Recognition for Exemption, to the Internal Revenue Service. In some states, the corporation may have to file a separate application for exemption from state taxes.

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Full Answer

The organization must choose a unique name that conforms with state corporate filing office regulations, explains Nolo. For the documents that organizations need to file, some states use terms such as charter, articles of organization, certificate of formation or certificate of incorporation, instead of articles of incorporation. Websites of state corporate filing offices have samples or blank forms that organizations can use to create their articles of incorporation.

Smaller corporations can use the shorter Form 1023-EZ for their tax-exempt status applications, rather than using IRS Package 1023, according to Nolo. The IRS may approve the nonprofit status request outright or request further information. If it denies the application, the organization should contact a lawyer with nonprofit specialization. Most states grant automatic state tax exemption after the IRS approves a corporation's tax-exempt status.

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