When choosing a Louisiana Non-Profit name, ensure that it qualifies for the specifics the state has outlined to be approved.
These specifics include the following: (1) the name should not any of the following words: anything related to bank such as ‘banker’, ‘banking’, or ‘bank’; ‘insurance’; ‘cooperative’; ‘security’; ‘surety’; (2) additionally, the name should not contain any name relating to a public park, playground or any public facility collectively with words such as ‘foundation’, ‘fund’, ‘benefit’, ‘benevolent’, ‘endowment’, or ‘philanthropic’.
For a complete list of the restricted word/s when it comes to naming your Louisiana Non-Profit, refer to Sections 204 and 204.1 of the Louisiana Nonprofit Corporation Law. As soon as a unique name has been coined, you can then check its available using the Louisiana name database.
One requirement to starting a Louisiana Non-Profit is to choose your initial Louisiana Non-Profit officers and directors. These officers and directors will serve your Non-Profit until the first shareholder’s meeting.
You are required a minimum of three directors to register legally. If the organization has less than three members, then the number of directors should also correspond to the number of members.
A Registered Agent in Louisiana is a requisite to file the Articles of Incorporation. A Louisiana Registered Agent can be an individual who resides within the state, an individual or partnership law firm in Louisiana, or a domestic or foreign Corporation that is duly recognized by the state to act as a Registered Agent.
Most importantly, a physical street address in Louisiana should be provided by the Registered Agent. That said, you can hire a Registered Agent service and pay up to $160/year, or get a Louisiana Registered Agent free of charge when you form your Non-Profit with IncFile – which is $100 less than other online incorporation services.
To jumpstart the legal registration process of your Non-Profit organization, prepare and file an Articles of Incorporation. The Secretary of State has a sample Non-Profit Articles of Incorporation you can use as a basis for your own document.
Within a 30-day period of filing your Articles of Incorporation, you must also file for a copy of your Non-Profits Certificate of Incorporation and a certified copy of your articles to the mortgages recorder’s office where your organization’s registered office is situated. For filing, you can either do it online, through mail or by fax.
Aside from the standard information required, you are also to include specific provisions that meet IRS conditions to qualify for the 501(c)(3) Non-Profit tax exemption status. These provisions should include: (1) a statement of your Non-Profit’s purpose; (2) a statement that your Non-Profit will not be involved in any kind of illegal activity; and (3) a statement of assets dissolution leaving your assets to another 501(c)(3) organization in Louisiana in case your business is dissolved.
The organizational meeting should take place as soon as you have elected the directors of your Non-Profit to discuss the following agenda and come to a decision:
The minutes of the meeting should be signed by all participants.
A Corporate Records Binder is a folder where you can keep all Non-Profit documents such as your Louisiana Non-Profit registration papers, your minutes of the meeting, and your certification of Incorporation.
You can obtain a Corporate Records Binder at an office supply store near your area or ordered directly order through Amazon.
A Louisiana Non-Profit EIN is still a requirement for your business even if you are not hiring employees. The same way it applies that you still need to get one despite seeking federal and state tax exemptions.
You can start processing for a free EIN via the IRS website.
The next step to starting a Louisiana Non-Profit is to start a separate bank account from your personal one. This is important because you will be able to keep all assets separate in the eyes of the law.
Although there are many options available, do the research to see which is right for you and your business. If you’re not sure where to get started, here is a great roundup of the best banking options.
When it comes to the exemptions for Louisiana Non-Profit tax registration, you should observe the following steps to accomplish this task. Know though that even if you are registering for Non-Profit taxes exemption, it does not necessarily mean that you don’t have to pay any taxes at all.
Follow these three-step process for federal and state tax exemptions:
For federal tax exemption, you have to file Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. As this form is very lengthy, there is an alternative form that can be used. However, this alternative form can only be used if you meet a specific criteria.
Form 1023-EZ, Streamlined Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, can be used provided that your gross annual receipts is not more than $50,000 and total assets do not exceed $250,000.
As soon as you accomplish the requirements for federal tax exemptions, you can then move to complying with the requirements for state tax exemptions. You do not have to file for exemption of state income tax as this is an automatic exemption when you’re a Non-Profit. However, take the time to check the Department of Revenue’s Louisiana office to find out more about state taxes you might still need to comply despite being a Non-Profit.
When performing fundraising activities or outreach programs, especially if conducted outside the state of Louisiana, your Non-Profit may be subject to file for reports and registration depending on its size and the activity. It is prudent to visit the Attorney General’s website to know more about this.
As part of your requirements when starting a business in Louisiana, you are required to comply with the appropriate business licenses and regulations. These licenses are set at the local, state, and federal levels, and depend on a number of factors.
For more information visit the SBA or have professionals find out what your specific requirements are through this reliable service.
Now that you have followed the steps above, you are an official Non-Profit organization in the state of Louisiana. 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. Not required, but highly recommended.
The primary step to planning your organization for success is by writing a solid business plan.
In case you’re wondering, no, you don’t need a business plan for state compliance, but you will need one to start your Non-Profit on the right track. You can get started with an effective business plan with the links below.
Before you start marketing your Louisiana Non-Profit, it is important to have a business website. This will give you a solid online presence and credibility aspect.
Since you are likely starting a business on a budget, I highly recommend looking into building a website through WordPress. It is simple, easy, and free. Learn how to get started with this helpful guide.
Note that this is an informational guide and not legal advice. A Louisiana business lawyer is the only professional whom you should talk to if you want to learn about the legal intricacies of starting a Non-Profit organization in Louisiana or about Louisiana Non-Profit organizations in general.