Step 1) Name your Washington Non-Profit

Choose a Business NameThere are several restrictions that must be observed when naming a Washington Non-Profit. These restrictions are stipulated by the state so strict observance is a necessity to incorporate a Washington Non-Profit.

Having said this, a Washington Non-Profit name should never be similar or even remotely similar to an existing business entity registered with the state.

In addition, it cannot include any words or abbreviations that pertain to Limited Liability Company or Corporation designations.

For further statutes on the restrictions and naming conventions for WA Non-Profits, you can check the Revised Code of Washington Section 24.03.045. To verify the validity of a WA Non-Profit name, use the Corporations Name Search tool. A name reservation can then be filed to keep the name while you are still in the process of completing your article requirements.


Step 2) Select Initial Officers and Directors

Choose the Initial DirectorsIn the state of Washington, at least one or more directors is necessary to incorporate a Washington Non-Profit.

These initial directors will help in making crucial decisions during the organizational meeting, and will serve under the board until the first shareholder meeting.


Step 3) Pick a Washington Registered Agent

Choose a Registered AgentA Washington Registered Agent is required when incorporating a Non-Profit.

This Registered Agent should be a professional who lives in Washington or a business entity that is state registered to conduct business in Washington. A business physical address should be provided by the Registered Agent.

Registered Agent Services can run up to $160 per year, but when you incorporate a Washington Non-Profit with IncFile, you get FREE Registered Agent services.


Step 4) File your Non-Profit Articles of Incorporation

Register an LLCA Non-Profit Articles of Incorporation should be submitted to facilitate for the formation of your Non-Profit. The following information is required when filing this form:

The form available in the Secretary of State website does not include the languages specified by the Internal Revenue Service to gain 501(c)(3) tax exemption status. In order to get this exemption status, the following languages need to be included when filing the Articles of Incorporation:


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

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsThe initial meeting with the board of directors is an organizational meeting. The following agenda should be discussed and decided upon during this organizational meeting:

Be sure that an accurate minutes of the meeting is prepared. This should then be signed by all the attendees of the organizational meeting.


Step 6) Maintain a Corporate Records Binder

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsA Corporate Records Binder is a simple organizer when you can file all the vital documents to your Non-Profit. Documents such as your Non-Profit Articles of Incorporation copy, minutes of the meeting, tax reports and business licenses and permits, and other similar documents.

The nearest office supply store in your area should have a Corporate Records Binder available, but for convenience, you can also order at Amazon.


Step 7) Get a Federal Employer Identification Number

Get an EIN for Your LLCAs a Washington Non-Profit, you are still required to request for a federal Employer Identification Number as this is ID is a key in almost all kinds of business transactions you enter into. It works similarly to the individual’s Social Security Number.

A federal Employer Identification Number is free and should be requested through the Internal Revenue Service. Among the various ways to apply for it, the easiest and most convenient is through online application in the IRS website.


Step 8) Open a Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountNever mix business with personal stuff especially when it comes to managing finances and expenses.

This is one very important business best practice that you should never ignore. It will not only help you manage finances better, but it ensures that come tax season, you’ll have an easier and more stress-free time at complying with tax reports and other deliverables.

Recommended Resource: To decide on which bank account is best for business, this resource roundup should give you some solid options.


Step 9) Apply for Federal and State Tax Exemption Status

Small Business TaxesAs soon as you have formed a Non-Profit, you can now file for tax exemptions from the federal and state levels and complete additional requirements to be approved. The following steps should guide you:

1) Apply for Federal Tax Exemption Status

To attain a federal tax exemption status, the completion of Form 1023, the Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code is necessary. After which, this should be filed. When completing Form 1023, it is vital to exercise caution as this is a lengthy form that requires tons of information.

For an alternative to this form, a Non-Profit can file for Form 1023-EZ, the Streamlined Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Smaller Non-Profits with projected annual total receipts that is lower than $50,000 and total estimated assets of less than $250,000 can use this form instead of Form 1023.

2) Apply for State Tax Exemption Status

The state of Washington has no corporate income tax so there is no need to file for tax exemption on this. For additional information on additional tax exemptions your Non-Profit may qualify for, check with the Washington Department of Revenue.

3) Additional State Reports and Registration Requirements

Aside from tax exemption requirements that must be completed, there may also be additional registration requirements and state reports to be submitted when conducting fundraising activities and outreach programs. Look up the possible requirements for this in the Washington Secretary of State Charities Program.


Step 10) Complete your Washington Business License Obligations

Business LicensesWith so many tasks you need to take care of when starting a Washington Non-Profit, never forget to take care of your business license obligations. Licenses and permits are necessary for the business’ legal operations so it is a must that you complete all these.

Recommended Source: To get going in completing this task, asking for professional help can really make a big difference in accomplishing it successfully. You can look into this awesome resource package. If you’re doing the task yourself, this SBA resource guide should be a great place to start.


To-Do After Starting a

Washington Non-Profit

By the end of step 10, you should have already formed a Washington Non-Profit. The additional steps below are recommended business best practices and not mandatory. However, accomplishing these will increase the success of business operations.

1) Make a Solid Business Plan

Write a Business PlanA business plan is a blueprint that serves as the guide to operating a successful business. It’s all about following the steps laid out to accomplish tasks and meet objectives, anticipate possible issues and create contingency plans and monitor progress and growth.

Although it’s not the easiest of tasks to write a business plan, you can start with a solid business plan now. Use the links below to start.

Quick Link to Writing a Business Plan


2) Make a Business Website

Build a Business WebsiteA business website represents your business online, and it is also an effective way to show credibility.

A professional business website can now be created through WordPress, and you do not even require the technical expertise of a web design team or professional. Through Bluehost’s one-click installation of WordPress, you can begin making a website now.

Resources for Getting Started: This step-by-step tutorial on how to set up a website should get you started right away.

This is only a guide on forming a Washington Non-Profit, and it should never be taken as a legal document or even a legal advice. You can seek the expert advice of a business lawyer for further details and legalities involved in forming a Washington Non-Profit or starting a Washington business in general.

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