Step 1) Name Your Florida Non-Profit

Choose a Business NameWhen forming a Non-Profit in Florida, select a name that is not the same as an existing registered business in the Division of Corporations. Additionally, your Florida Non-Profit name should have any one of the following words: ‘Incorporated’, ‘Corporation’, ‘Inc.’, or ‘Corp.’.

After you have selected a name, check for duplicates using the business name search tool. Please note that the state of Florida does not allow for name reservation, so wait until  you’re ready to get started with your Non-Profit.


Step 2) Elect Initial Officers and Directors for Your Florida Non-Profit

Choose the Initial DirectorsStarting a Florida Non-Profit means that you need to have a set of officers and directors to help run your Non-Profit Corporation.

These Florida Non-Profit officers and directors will help you decide on crucial matters related to your organization while guiding you through issues related to daily operations. In Florida, you are legally required to maintain a minimum of three directors.


Step 3) Choose a Registered Agent for Your Florida Non-Profit

Choose a Registered AgentA Florida Registered Agent is another requirement for you to legally operate as a Non-Profit. A Registered Agent can be an individual professional or a business entity.

Either way, they should be duly registered to operate a Registered Agent service in the state. A Registered Agent should consent to his designation to receive legal paperwork on behalf of your Non-Profit.

To lessen the burden of finding the right Registered Agent, let Rocket Lawyer hire the appropriate professional for you.


Step 4) Prepare and File Your Non-Profit Articles of Incorporation

Register an LLCOnce you verify your Non-Profit name for use and select a Registered Agent, you can legally file your Non-Profit. To do this, file a Non-Profit Articles of Incorporation to the Division of Corporations.

Always remember to read the instructions provided before the actual form to ensure you complete it correctly. Since the form is only a standard incorporation document, include specific language to obtain the 501(c)(3) tax exemption status.


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

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsThe first meeting with your board of directors is the organizational meeting.  You will discuss the following items of importance:

After the meeting, remember to prepare the minutes of the meeting for your records.


Step 6) Create a Corporate Records Binder to hold Important Information

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsMost business owners create a Corporate Records Binder to store all of their organization’s documents for safety. As a Non-Profit Organization, you should also start your own Corporate Records Binder.

Documents such as your Florida Non-Profit registration form, business license and permits paperwork are filed here.  When you need to reference these documents, you will be able to find them immediately. The Corporate Records Binder is available at your local office supply chain or you can order via Amazon.


Step 7) Obtain an EIN for Your Organization

Get an EIN for Your LLCAn Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a series of numbers issued by the Internal Revenue Service as a way to monitor your tax and employment obligations.

You cannot operate legally in the state if you do not have an EIN, as almost every business transaction requires this.  Apply for a free Florida Non-Profit EIN through the IRS website.


Step 8) Open a Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountWhen running a Florida Non-Profit, keeping your business and personal finances separate is critical. Do this by opening a separate checking account for your business.

While there are many options available, here are the top 3. You can also use your local bank, just be sure that all transactions are kept separate.


Step 9) Apply for Federal and State Tax Exemptions

Small Business TaxesThere are several steps to obtain federal and state tax exemptions. First, be mindful of the requirements for Florida Non-Profit tax registration exemptions at the federal and state levels.  This will give you a better grasp on what exemptions you qualify for.

Next follow the steps below when registering for Non-Profit tax exemptions:

  1. File a Form 1023 for Federal Tax Exemption

IRS Form 1023 or the Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code should be filed to avail of federal tax exemptions. Since this form is detailed and lengthy, it is important to read the annotations and instructions provided before the actual form. This will ensure that you complete the form correctly.

Alternatively, smaller Non-Profit organizations with yearly gross receipts under $50,000 with overall assets not exceeding $250,000 can qualify for IRS Form 1023-EZ. This form is a streamlined version of form 1023 and is less detailed than the previous form.

  1. File for Florida State Tax Exemption

As previously mentioned, there are several state tax exemptions your Non-Profit may qualify for. For example, your business may be exempt from sales and use tax, income tax, property tax, etc. To learn more about potential tax exemptions your Non-Profit may qualify for, visit Florida’s Department of Revenue.

  1. Additional State Reports and Registration Prerequisites

Aside from standard tax exemptions, there are additional requirements when conducting fundraising activities and donation drives.  It’s best to inquire about these requirements by contacting the Office of the Attorney General.


Step 10) Manage Your Colorado Business Licenses & Regulations

Business LicensesIn addition to business taxes, you must also manage your business licenses and regulations. This is essential for your business to be legally operating in the eyes of the state.

Keep in mind that these requirements will vary depending on your state and industry, so be sure to do your research. Visit the SBA website for more information, or have professionals find the specific requirements for you through this reliable service.


To-Do After Starting a

Florida Non-Profit

Now that you have followed the steps above, you are an official Non-Profit organization in the state of Florida. Other than those 10 steps that are based on state guidelines, here are 2 additional steps based on best practices for starting a successful organization.  They are not required, but are highly recommended.

1) Plan Your Florida Non-Profit for Success

Write a Business PlanEvery business, regardless of the size, type or structure, needs a business plan. Without a plan your business is destined to fail.

A business plan gives a sense of direction in regards to the daily operations of your business. When you write a business plan, write with a purpose.  Create a solid plan that will clearly set the path to your success. Get started using the links provided below.

How to Write a Business Plan Quick Links


2) Build a Business Website

Build a Business WebsiteToday,a business website is essential if you want to be taken seriously by your customers.

With WordPress, you’ll be able to build a professional website for your Non-Profit in minutes. No need to hire a professional designer. Get started using this simple step-by-step guide.

Note that this article is only for informational intent, and it must not be taken in any way as a legal document. Please refer to your lawyer always for questions on starting a Non-Profit Organization in Florida or Florida Non-Profit in general.

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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