Step 1) Select a Non-Profit Name for Your Organization

Choose a Business NameThe naming convention for naming of your Non-Profit organization in Georgia applies.

When forming a Non-Profit in Georgia, the name should be unique and distinguishable from any other business registered with the Secretary of State’s Corporations Division. Also, any of the following words or its corresponding abbreviation is required to be present in the actual Georgia Non-Profit name: ‘Company’, ‘Corporation’, ‘Incorporation’ and ‘Limited’.

Use the business name database tool in the Secretary of State of Georgia website to check for its availability.


Step 2) Elect an Initial Number of Officers and Directors for Your Organization

Choose the Initial DirectorsStarting a Georgia Non-Profit requires you to get officers and directors to help you make big decisions for the start of your operations.

Meanwhile, until the first shareholder’s meeting, the owner has to appoint the Georgia Non-Profit officer and directors. A minimum of only one director for your Non-Profit is the requirement.


Step 3) Get a Registered Agent for Your Georgia Non-Profit

Choose a Registered AgentTo register your Non-Profit with the state, a Georgia Registered Agent should be hired. His role is crucial in that it is through the agent that legal notices are forwarded.

An individual or a business entity, the registered agent in Georgia should be legally qualified to do business in the state. Also, the agent should provide a physical address for where the legal notices and documents will be sent.

You can actually find a qualified professional Registered Agent with the help of Rocket Lawyer.


Step 4) File Your Georgia Non-Profit Articles of Incorporation

Register an LLCTo legally register your Non-Profit, you must file a Non-Profit Articles of Incorporation.

The Articles of Incorporation form for Non-Profits should look like this. In addition, instructions as well as the address on where to send the form are included in the link. Make sure to check all the information in the sample form, so you can have it in your form as well.

As filing an Articles of Incorporation alone does not automatically qualify you for the 501(c)(3) with the IRS, you should include specific languages in the form. For example, a clause explicitly stating that should your Non-Profit be dissolved, your assets will be donated to another 501(c)(3) organization. The languages you include should be in accordance to the IRS provisions.


Step 5) Have an Initial Meeting with the Board of Directors

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsThe meeting with your board of directors should happen once you hired these individuals. To get started, discuss of the following topics:

Minutes of the meeting should always be prepared to be signed by the attendees of the meeting.


Step 6) Maintain a Corporate Records Binder for your Non-Profit Documents

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsA Corporate Records Binder is the safekeeping book where you store all your Non-Profit documents. Once you register your Georgia Non-Profit, any pertinent document about your Non-Profit should be stored in this binder.

You can get your own Corporate Records Book at the office supply chain nearest you or you can have it shipped directly to your office via Amazon.


Step 7) Get an EIN for Your Non-Profit

Get an EIN for Your LLCA Georgia Non-Profit EIN is required even if you will be operating as a Non-Profit. Basically, every transaction from this point onwards requires your Employer Identification Number even if you do not hire employees.

As such, even opening a bank account for your Non-Profit requires an EIN so make sure that you have one. You can easily get an EIN from the IRS for free in under an hour if you apply online or through a phone session.


Step 8) Open a Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountTo track the ins and outs of your Georgia Non-Profit finances, put the profits and assets where they belong. The best way to do this is to open a separate account from your personal bank account.

For a quick look at some of our favorite places to bank with, see this review. Keep in mind that you can also use the bank you keep your personal account with, just be sure all transactions separate.


Step 9) Request for Federal and State Tax Exemptions

Small Business TaxesAs an organization registering for Non-Profit taxes, there are extra requirements. These requirements are specific for Georgia Non-Profit tax registration. Observe the steps below to get your tax exemptions:

  1. Request a Federal Tax Exemption by Filing Form 1023

To jumpstart the process of your federal tax exemption, you need to file a Form 1023. This form is known as the Application for Registration of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All Non-Profits should file for this form to avail of federal tax exemption.

A streamlined version applicable for smaller Non-Profits is the Form 1023-EZ. This form is shorter and less complicated than Form 1023. If a Non-Profit meets the following criteria, it can use this form: (1) estimated annual total receipts smaller than $50,000; (2) overall assets smaller than $250,000.

  1. Request for Georgia State Tax Exemption

Even if you are a Non-Profit, there are still some state taxes you may not be exempt from. And there are also several that you may be exempted for. Look up the required information on your Georgia tax exemptions on the state’s website. All forms and paperwork requirements you need for your state tax exemptions can also be found here.

  1. Apply for Other Additional Registration Requirements and Reports

Any fundraising activities and outreach programs will be approved by the Office of the Attorney General of Georgia, according to the size of your Non-Profit and the nature of the activity. More reports and registration requisites may be required, so make sure to check with the Attorney General’s office.


Step 10) Handle Your Georgia Business Licenses & Regulations

Business LicensesYour business licenses and regulations are part of the requirements for starting a business in Georgia. To learn more about the business licenses and permits you will need visit the SBA website.

Note that to operate your business legally, adherence to all licenses and permits are a must. If you need help and would like professionals to do the research on your behalf, here is a reliable service.


To-Do After Starting a

Georgia Non-Profit

Now that you have followed the steps above, you are an official Non-Profit organization in the state of Georgia. Other than the 10 steps based on state guidelines, here are 2 extra steps based on best practice for starting a successful organization. Not required, but highly recommended.

1) Prepare Your Georgia Non-Profit for Success

Write a Business PlanOnce you start the process of starting a business, your end goal should always be that your business thrive and grow into a  long-term success.

To be able to do this, a business plan is a necessity. A business plan is a map that will pave the way for your business’ success if you create a solid plan. The links below should get you ready to write a solid business plan.

Quick Links on How to Write a Business Plan


2) Build a Business Website

Build a Business WebsiteThe next step when starting a business in Georgia is to build a professional website. This will give you added credibility and help future customers find out more.

Although building a website was difficult to do in the early 2000’s, nowadays it’s easy! You can use a simple tool like WordPress to build a customizable website. Learn how to get started with this step-by-step guide.

Please be advised that this guide on starting a Non-Profit organization in Georgia is merely for informational purposes. For questions and specific details on starting a Georgia Non-Profit or starting a new business in general, your lawyer’s expert advice is required.

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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