Step 1) Choose a Valid Name for Your New Jersey Non-Profit

Choose a Business NameThe initial step to forming a Non-Profit in New Jersey is to choose a name for your organization. The New Jersey Non-Profit name should include any of the following: ‘Corporation’, ‘Incorporated’, or ‘A New Jersey Nonprofit Corporation’, or its corresponding abbreviation which includes: ‘Corp.’ or ‘Inc.’.

Then, make sure that your business name should not be similar as, or closely similar to the name of an existing business name registered with the Secretary of State. You can double check for the validity of the business name by using the New Jersey database name search tool.


Step 2) Choose the Directors for Your New Jersey Non-Profit

Choose the Initial DirectorsAs part of the requirements for starting a New Jersey Non-Profit a minimum number of directors should be elected, mainly to help in decision making during the organizational meeting of the Non-Profit.

As a requirement, there should be a minimum of three New Jersey Non-Profit directors.


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

Choose a Registered AgentA New Jersey Registered Agent is required for the compliance of state requirements. This Registered Agent can be an individual or a domestic or foreign business entity that can receive service of process on behalf of your organization. The Registered Agent in New Jersey should be legally registered to conduct business in the state.

A physical street address has to be provided by the agent. The Registered Agent has to consent to receive service of process on behalf of the organization prior to designation. Rocket Lawyer’s Registered Agent Services provides quality, reliable services for organizations across the country.


Step 4) File Your Non-Profit Articles of Organization

Register an LLCTo be a legally recognized New Jersey Non-Profit, you must file organizational documents to the New Jersey Department of Treasury.

Aside from the basic information included in your Non-Profit organizational documents such as name and purpose of Non-Profit, details of the Registered Agent, name and address of the incorporators, duration of Non-Profit, and more. The certificate of incorporation can be submitted through mail or online.

Together with the organizational documents, your certificate of incorporation should include a number of languages that will grant your organization a 501(c)(3) status and federal tax exemption from the IRS. These specific languages should include:


Step 5) Schedule a First Meeting with the Board of Directors

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsWith the initial directors you have elected, the next step is to schedule an initial meeting. During this organizational meeting, the subsequent agenda needs to be discussed and decided:

A minutes of the meeting should be created as soon as the meeting is finished.


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

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsA Corporate Records Binder is simply an organizer that contains all of the important documents including your New Jersey Non-Profit registration papers, copies of your Articles, corporate bylaws, and other pertinent paperwork.

Go to your local office supply chain to obtain a copy of the Corporate Records Binder or better yet, order and have it directly delivered to you via Amazon.


Step 7) Obtain an Employer Identification Number for Your New Jersey Non-Profit

Get an EIN for Your LLCYour New Jersey Non-Profit EIN is an organization’s unique identification number much the same way as a social security number works for an individual citizen.

An Employer Identification Number is required when your Non-Profit enters into transactions. There are various ways you can get an EIN, but if you’re looking to get it immediately, apply online at the IRS website.


Step 8) Open a Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountWhile starting and running a business in New Jersey, keeping your business and personal finances separate is important. The most effective way to do this is to open a business checking account.

A separate bank account will keep all your finances separate, which makes tax time much easier to manage. For a quick look at some of our favorite places to bank, see this review.


Step 9) Apply for Federal as well as State Tax Exemptions

Small Business TaxesWhen registering for Non-Profit taxes exemption, it is not just enough to think only about what tax exemptions you can obtain. Rather, it is equally important to know all information about the New Jersey Non-Profit tax registration, for you might still be required to file for other types of taxes. From there, you can follow this three-step guide on how to obtain federal and state tax exemptions.

1) File Form 1023 for Federal Tax Exemption

For your Non-Profit to have federal tax exemption from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you must file Form 1023, or the Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. This IRS form is a very lengthy document, and it requires a good amount of information from the business owner and the organization. Caution should always be exercised when filling out this form to avoid any erroneous entries that could cause a delay of your federal tax exemption approval.

In lieu of Form 1023, a shorter and easier form to fill out is Form 1023-EZ, or the Streamlined Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. However, only smaller Non-Profit organizations are able to use this form, those that meet the following requirements: (1) an estimated total annual receipt lesser than $50,000; and (2) total accumulated assets of less than $250,000.

2) File for New Jersey state tax exemptions

To apply for corporation business tax exemption, you must submit an exemption letter request addressed to the New Jersey Division of Taxation. Along with this letter should be a copy of your corporate bylaws, articles, and an affidavit stating that your organization is a Non-Profit and it does not operate for profit. For further details on the finer points of this exemption request, check the New Jersey Department of Taxation.

3) Additional State Reports and Requirements

Before you can begin any fundraising activities within and outside the state, you must look into additional state reports and requirements needed based on the activities you’re conducting as well as the size of your Non-Profit.


Step 10) Handle Your New Jersey Business Licenses & Regulations

Business LicensesThe next step to starting a business in New Jersey is to take care of the license, permit, and regulations your business will need to adhere to. Depending on your location and type of business, requirements will vary.

To learn more, visit the SBA. To have professionals handle all the research on your behalf while you focus on starting a business, look into this reliable package.


To-Do After Starting a

New Jersey Non-Profit

Now that you have followed the steps above, you are an official Non-Profit organization in the state of New Jersey. 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.

1) Plan Your New Jersey Non-Profit for Success

Write a Business PlanEvery business must have a concrete business plan to move towards the future successfully, and creating one for your Non-Profit should not be an exception.

A business plan brings various advantages to an organization. It helps you bring in the necessary capital funding, it allows you to forecast future progress, and it also helps you curtail possible problems and issues. To start with an effective business plan, refer to some of the resources below.

Quick Links to Writing a Business Plan


2) Create a Business Website

Build a Business WebsiteBefore you start marketing your New Jersey Non-Profit, it is important to start a website for your business. This will help your potential customers find and learn more about what you offer.

Rather than hiring a professional designer, you can build a custom WordPress website by yourself with minimal tech skills. Learn how to build a website from start to finish through this free setup guide.

This guide on New Jersey Non-Profit formation is intended for informational purposes. This should not be taken as a legal document or advice. If you’re seeking legal advice on the specifics involved when starting a Non-Profit organization in New Jersey, consult an accountant or a business lawyer.

Need Help Forming Your Organization?

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