Formation of a Georgia Nonprofit Corporation

The actual formation of a Georgia nonprofit does not need to be a long and complicated process. However, for the long-term success of the mission, a level of diligence and preparation is needed. 

It is still best to hire a law firm that has successfully helped many people form nonprofits in Georgia. Such a firm can help you complete and submit all the required forms quickly and accurately. This can save you both time and money when you form your Georgia nonprofit.

The Process of Forming a Georgia Nonprofit Corporation

Choose A Director
Georgia law requires that every nonprofit has at least one designated director. Generally, though, the IRS requires several directors before approving tax-exempt (501(c)) status. Larger nonprofits designate a person who will run day-to-day operations as the executive director or CEO.

Pick A Name
As with for profit corporations, nonprofit corporations must have a name that is clearly distinguishable from any previously registered nonprofit. A name can be reserved by filing a Name Reservation Request with the Georgia Secretary of State. That registration is good for thirty days, during which time the state, which costs $10.

Choose a Registered Agent
All Georgia nonprofit corporations (all entities actually) must have a registered agent. The registered agent is often an attorney or may be a member of the staff in larger organizations. Directors can also serve as agents. However, some nonprofit organizations hire another business to serve as their registered agent. Either way, the registered agent must have a physical address in the state.

Submit Georgia Articles of Incorporation
Nonprofits must submit Articles of Incorporation to the state, just like for profit corporations. The Articles of Incorporation have to include the name of the corporation, contact info for the corporation, and state that the corporation will be a nonprofit according to Georgia law. The paperwork also needs to specify whether the corporation will have members or will note have members. This “members” distinction is critical. A “members” non-profit corporation has a separate group of people who vote to select the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors for a “non-members” non-profit corporation replaces themselves.

If the non-profit wishes to also be tax-exempt under the myriad of 501(c) exemptions, its Articles must contain certain key, but boiler-plate, terms dealing with approved purpose and dissolution. Of course, tax-exempt status is a different process handled by the IRS.

Write Your Nonprofit’s Bylaws
You must create bylaws that specify your nonprofit’s rules and procedures. You do not have to file these bylaws with the state.

Hold a Meeting of the Board
You must hold the organizational meeting of the board of directors. At this meeting, you will appoint people to various positions and confirm the organization’s rules and procedures.

Get an EIN
Even a registered nonprofit must obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. This takes only minutes to do on the IRS site, and there is no fee.

Get the Relevant Business Licenses
Some profits may need to get business licenses. These could include city, county, or state licenses. An experienced attorney can help you figure out whether your nonprofit needs to get licenses or not.

Submit the Georgia Annual Registration Form
Both nonprofits and for profit companies must register with the state. This registration document must list three officers. It has to be filed within 90 days of the organization being formed and once per year afterward.

File The Federal Tax Exemption Form
Every nonprofit that wishes to obtain tax-exempt status has to file an application with the IRS. The form you must submit is called Form 1023. This form requires a great deal of info, so it’s best to have an experienced attorney help you complete and file it. Small nonprofits (less than $50,000 in projected receipts per year and less than $250,000 in assets) can complete the much shorter 1023-EZ form on the IRS site.

File Georgia Tax Exemption Forms
After obtaining your federal tax exemption, you must get your Georgia sales tax exemption. As long as your nonprofit has already been approved for tax-exempt status by the IRS, it will automatically be exempt from local taxes in Georgia. All you have to do is obtain exemptions from sales taxes and property taxes from the state, county, and city your nonprofit is in.

File Other Necessary Forms
Depending on how your nonprofit will operate, you may need to complete additional paperwork. Many organizations must also register under the Georgia Charitable Solicitations act.

A Top Law Firm Will Help You Form and Grow a Georgia Nonprofit

DeLong, Caldwell, Bridgers, Fitzpatrick, & Benjamin can help you if you want to form a nonprofit corporation in Georgia. We have successfully helped many clients form nonprofits quickly. Our attorneys will walk you through the process, so you can rest assured that you will be complying with all applicable laws and regulations. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you form a nonprofit corporation in Georgia, contact us today.