Step 1) Select a Non-Profit Name

Choose a Business NameWhen forming a Non-Profit in Connecticut, your organization’s name should be completely unique. It should not be the same as or closely resemble an existing Non-Profit organization registered under the Secretary of State’s records.

In addition, your Connecticut Non-Profit name should have one of the following words: ‘Company’, ‘Corporation’, ‘Incorporated’, or an equivalent abbreviation of those words. Check on your selected name’s availability through the state’s business name records search.


Step 2) Elect Officers and a Board of Directors for Your Non-Profit

Choose the Initial DirectorsTo maintain state compliance when starting a Connecticut Non-Profit, you are required to select a number of officers and a board of directors. In the state of Connecticut, a minimum of three directors should be elected in order to register legally.

As the business owner and incorporator, it is your responsibility to choose your Connecticut Non-Profit officers and directors.


Step 3) Select a Connecticut Registered Agent for Your Non-Profit

Choose a Registered AgentA Connecticut Registered Agent is an individual or business entity who will act as a representative for your business.  He or she will receive service of process or any legal documentation forwarded by the Secretary of State for your business.

If the Registered Agent in Connecticut is an individual, he or she must be a resident of the state with a license to operate in Connecticut.  Most importantly, the Registered Agent should consent to become your representative before you file as a Non-Profit registration.

You can hire a Registered Agent service and pay up to $250/year, or get a Connecticut Registered Agent free of charge when you incorporate your organization with IncFile.  Using this option, you obtain a Registered Agent and have your Non-Profit legally incorporated at the same time.


Step 4) Organize and File the Certificate of Incorporation for Your Non-Profit

Register an LLCTo legally register your Non-Profit organization in Connecticut, you need to file a Certificate of Incorporation to the Secretary of State. Visit the state’s website, download the form, and then submit it.  Be prepared to provide some information related to your non-profit as you file for the Certificate of Incorporation.

The form only includes minimal information required to legally register your Non-Profit, so you need to write down certain languages in your application in order for the IRS to grant you federal tax-exemption status. Add these languages into your application:


Step 5) Conduct Your First Meeting with Your Board of Directors

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsTogether with the officers and directors you have selected, hold your first meeting to discuss the running of your Non-Profit organization’s operations.  At this meeting, the following should be decided upon:

The minutes of the meeting should be prepared, with signatures of the meeting’s attendees affixed on the document.


Step 6) Create a Corporate Records Binder for your Non-Profit’s Documents

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsA Corporate Records Binder is a record keeping folder used to store all the forms and documents for your Organization. Connecticut Non-Profit registration forms, meeting minutes, and other documents can be placed here. This folder should be stored in your Non-Profit’s office.

You may buy a Corporate Records Binder at a local office store or via Amazon.


Step 7) Procure a Connecticut EIN for Your Non-Profit

Get an EIN for Your LLCA Connecticut Non-Profit EIN is required in all aspects of business operations, even if you are a Non-Profit organization.

An EIN number is equivalent to the social security number of an individual, and must be obtained when starting a Non-Profit. You can easily obtain a free EIN from the IRS website.


Step 8) Open a Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountWhen you open a business bank account for your Non-Profit, your personal and business finances will be seen as separate by the state of Connecticut. This step is all about protecting your personal assets and it should not be take lightly!

There are many options available, from Bank of America to Chase. For a quick outline of the best place to open a business bank account, see this quick review.


Step 9) Apply for Federal and State Tax Exemptions

Small Business TaxesAfter you have legally registered your Connecticut Non-Profit organization, next file for Connecticut Non-Profit tax registration exemptions.

There are several steps to enjoying tax exemptions from the federal and the state government. Make sure to follow these steps for registering for Non-Profit taxes exemption below:

  1. File a Form 1023 or Form 1023-EZ federal tax exemption request

The first step to a tax exemption status is to file Form 1023. This form allows your business to be recognized as a Non-Profit organization with 501(c)(3) exempt status. This form is a bit lengthy, so you may need to refer to the detailed instructions provided in the actual form to ensure accuracy.

If you are a smaller Non-Profit organization with a net asset worth of less than $250,000 and total receipts not more than $50,000, you can qualify for the streamlined Form 1023-EZ.

  1. Apply for state tax exemption

The next step is to file for tax exemptions in the state of Connecticut.  There are several types of taxes in the state, and you may qualify for one or more exemptions. To better identify which taxes your organization is exempted from, refer to the state’s tax agency for more information.

  1. Additional registration and state report requirements

Some states impose special conditions when it comes to Non-Profit registration and state reports, so be aware of legal requirements.  Dependent upon the size of your Non-Profit and the activities you plan to undertake, you may need to file for a few additional licenses or special permits, especially regarding fundraising activities.


Step 10) Comply with Your Connecticut Business Licenses & Regulations

Business LicensesThe next step when starting a business in Connecticut is to adhere to all licenses and regulations. This will all depend on your specific industry and location, so be sure to do your research.

To get started, see this resource roundup or look into this package where professionals do the research on your behalf. Do what is best for you!


To-Do After Starting a

Connecticut Non-Profit

Now that you have followed the steps above, you are an official Non-Profit organization in the state of Connecticut. In addition to the 10 steps that are based on state guidelines, here are 2 additional steps based on best practices for starting a successful organization. These steps are not required, but are highly recommended.

1) Plan Your Connecticut Non-Profit for Success

Write a Business PlanA Non-Profit organization requires a sense of purpose and direction.  You can achieve this goal and fulfill your Non-Profit’s ultimate purpose.

This can be done with the help of an effective business plan. Make sure to write that business plan!  It is the best way to define your goals, set expectations, and present ways to achieve all those. See the links below to get started.

Quick Links to Writing a Business Plan


2) Build a Business Website

Build a Business WebsiteThe next step when starting a Connecticut Non-Profit is to build a website. This will give you added credibility and help future customers find out more about your products or services.

If you don’t want to hire an expensive web designer or build everything from scratch, try WordPress.  WordPress is a great option to help you create a customized business website without having any tech skills.  Walk through the entire process using this step-by-step guide.

Please be reminded that this guide on starting a Non-Profit Organization in Connecticut is just that – an informational guide. This should not be taken as a legal advice. Only your lawyer is entitled to give you legal advice on the specifics of starting a Non-Profit or starting a new business in general, so make it a point to talk to one. Good luck!

Need Help Forming Your Organization?

Have a reliable incorporation service like IncFile or LegalZoom do the work for you. Just answer a few questions about your organization and they’ll take care of the paperwork.

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