How to Start a Nonprofit in Florida


Steve Goldstein
Steve Goldstein
Business Formation Expert
Steve Goldstein runs LLCBuddy, helping entrepreneurs set up their LLCs easily. He offers clear guides, articles, and FAQs to simplify the process. His team keeps everything accurate and current, focusing on state rules, registered agents, and compliance. Steve’s passion for helping businesses grow makes LLCBuddy a go-to resource for starting and managing an LLC.

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Start a Nonprofit in Florida

Are you looking to start a nonprofit in Florida? You’ve come to the right place. Known for its vibrant community and rich culture, Florida (often referred to as The Sunshine State) is an ideal location for establishing a nonprofit organization. Unlike for-profit businesses, nonprofits focus on addressing pressing social issues and require a strong foundation, thorough research, and a clear mission targeting a specific community problem.

Embarking on the journey of creating a nonprofit entails various crucial steps, such as obtaining 501(c)(3) status. A 501(c)(3) organization is designed for charitable, religious, educational purposes, and more, qualifying it for federal and state tax exemptions.

In the spirit of Florida’s motto, “In God we trust,” thousands of nonprofits are founded within the state each year. This article will provide a comprehensive guide to starting your own nonprofit corporation in Florida. Keep in mind that the steps discussed here are general guidelines, and modifications may be necessary depending on your specific circumstances. To gain a deep understanding of how to start a nonprofit in Florida, we encourage you to read this article in its entirety.

What is a Nonprofit in Florida?

Nonprofit organizations are legal entities that operate to serve public benefits and address community issues. Unlike for-profit organizations, nonprofits do not aim to generate any profit. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) generally exempts nonprofit organizations from tax. However, based on the business entity structure, you will receive tax exemptions as a nonprofit.

In Florida, ensure you have a community issue to address before you start forming your nonprofit. It can generally be education, religion, charity, social service, or other social issues. Nonprofits do not pay taxes on the money they receive through fundraising programs, donations, or any charitable funding.

Types of Nonprofits in Florida

The first thing one has to decide is what type of nonprofit structure one wants. There are several types of nonprofits one can start. Here is a list of nonprofit types one can choose from-

  1. Nonprofit LLC
  2. Nonprofit Corporation
  3. Unincorporated Nonprofit

Forming an LLC in Florida for your nonprofit can be a smooth option. However, having a corporation is less complex than having a nonprofit LLC. Hence, it is wise to start a nonprofit corporation instead of an unincorporated nonprofit or nonprofit LLC.

LLCBuddy Editorial Team.

Technically, starting a corporation for your nonprofit protects your personal assets but also is eligible for Federal and State tax exemptions. When you form an LLC for your nonprofit, it only protects your personal assets but does not give you any tax exemptions. On the other hand, a nonprofit Corporation has both corporation and limited liability company benefits. You can also have an unincorporated structure where you don’t have to register it. Unincorporated nonprofits in Florida might be eligible for tax exemptions (check with Florida Department of Revenue), but this type of organization does not get to enjoy limited liability and personal asset protection.

How to Start a Nonprofit Corporation in Florida

Setting up a nonprofit corporation requires a few things to consider. Name of the nonprofit, initial directors, drafting bylaws, get a Registered Agent, obtain tax IDs, insurance, and a bank account – these are important steps you must follow. The steps mentioned here are general business formation steps. State-wise, some steps can be different. Getting an expert consultation before you start your nonprofit corporation formation is recommended. Here are the steps explained below-

Step 1: Get a Suitable Name for Your Florida Nonprofit Corp

The first step is to name your nonprofit corporation. You must be sure that the name is available and that no other organization is using this name. You can check the Florida LLC name search to find the best suitable name for your organization. You must follow those rules to avoid any legal issues later. You can reserve the name for 120 days for any domestic entity (such as a nonprofit LLC) if you’re not forming the nonprofit immediately.

Step 2: Appoint the Initial Board of Directors

The next step is to get your nonprofit’s initial board of directors. It is very important when you are setting up a nonprofit corporation. You need at least Three unrelated directors to start the organization. If you don’t choose a minimum of Three directors, it will automatically become a member-managed corporation.

Step 3: Appoint Your Florida Registered Agent

The third step is to get a Florida Registered Agent for your nonprofit corporation. The Registered Agent is a person who receives all the legal documents on your behalf. It is necessary to get a registered agent. He/she must be above 18 years old and have a physical address in Florida.

Step 4: Write Florida Nonprofit Bylaws

The next important step is to write the company bylaws. The directors and board members must decide how the meetings, elections, voting, and other corporate activities will be held. These bylaws must comply with the Florida state law. It is similar to an LLC operating agreement in Florida for the LLC owners.

Step 5: File the Florida Articles of Incorporation

This is the most important step. File your Articles of Incorporation with the Florida Secretary of State. You can do it through two ways, online and by mail. All the formation forms, such as the Florida LLC Articles of Organization form, the Florida Articles of Incorporation form for corporations, forms for LLPs, and all others can be found on the Florida SOS official website. Submit the details of your nonprofit corporation, like the name of the nonprofit, address, name and address of the registered agent, operation dates, directors’ details, and more information related to your company. You can send the form (for offline filing) and the filing fee of $35 for filing in-person and by mail to the New Filing Section, Division of Corporations, P.O. Box 6327, Tallahassee, FL 32314 or upload it online (if available).

Step 6: Obtain Tax ID for Your Florida Nonprofit Corporation

The subsequent step involves obtaining a Tax ID for your nonprofit corporation. You will need to acquire an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the official IRS website. To obtain the EIN, submit your application to the IRS office either by mail or through their online platform. There is no associated cost for this process.

Step 7: Get Business Licenses in Florida

The next step is to get the business licenses you need to run your nonprofit organization in Florida. Check with the local government office if any special licenses you need to run your nonprofit. You can file your nonprofit as a charity if you want.

Step 8: Federal Tax Exemption

You must submit Form 1023 to the IRS to file for federal tax exemption. This form, titled “Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code,” is required for all nonprofit corporations. Smaller nonprofits have the option to file Form 1023-EZ instead. You will be prompted to provide details about your organization upon obtaining the relevant form. Complete the form with the necessary information and submit it. The filing fees are $600 for Form 1023 and $275 for Form 1023-EZ.

Step 9: State Tax Exemption

Once you get the Federal Tax Exempt, it is time for State Tax Exempt. In Florida, you must apply for the tax exemption to Florida Department of Revenue. Get the form, fill it up with the correct details, and send it to the office. You may need to pay a fee along with the form and supportive documents to apply for the State Tax Exemption. You need Certificate of Exemption to apply for the state tax exemption. Read Florida classification of taxes to learn more about the Florida tax structure.

Step 10: Get Insurance for Your Florida Nonprofit

Once you start your nonprofit, you must get insurance to protect your organization. You must get workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance if you have employees. Based on your nonprofit structure, you might need general liability insurance, property, vehicle, auto insurance, etc. You can contact the insurance providers to learn more about which are required for your organization. Also, you can contact Florida Office of Insurance Regulation for more information.

After Forming Your Florida Nonprofit Corporation

Once your nonprofit is formed, there are additional steps to complete:

  • Get a Business Bank Account: You must get a business account for all types of business-related transactions in Florida. You may need different documents based on the bank and place of business. Check with the bank for it.
  • File Nonprofit as Charity: This is optional. Your nonprofit is either for charity purposes or any purpose that meets your community’s needs. If your organization is for charity purposes, then you can file your nonprofit as a charity to enjoy tax exemptions.
  • Other Business Compliances: You may need additional compliances based on your nonprofit type. Check with your attorney or local authority for more information.

Names of Nonprofit Corporations in Florida

Following are some of the Nonprofit Organizations in Florida. The contact information of these organizations can be found on Florida SOS official websites.

  • Bikers Against Drunk Drivers
  • Hunger Fight
  • Big Cat Rescue
  • Charity Cars Inc.
  • Wounded Warrior Project.
  • Global Village Champions Foundation Inc.
  • Mission in Citrus Inc.
  • For The Love Of Cats Inc.

FAQs

What are the steps to start a nonprofit in Florida?
The steps to start a nonprofit in Florida include
Are there any fees associated with starting a nonprofit in Florida?
Yes, there are fees associated with starting a nonprofit in Florida. The filing fee for the Articles of Incorporation is $35, and the application fee for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status with the IRS is $400 for organizations with annual gross receipts of $50,000 or less, and $850 for organizations with annual gross receipts exceeding $50,000.
Does Florida have any specific requirements for nonprofit organizations?
Yes, Florida has specific requirements for nonprofits. For example, Florida requires nonprofits to appoint a registered agent and maintain a registered office in the state. Nonprofits must also hold annual meetings and maintain corporate records.
What are the filing and reporting requirements for nonprofits in Florida?
Nonprofits in Florida are required to file annual reports with the Florida Department of State. Nonprofits must also file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ, an annual financial report, with the IRS.
Is there a minimum amount of money needed to start a nonprofit in Florida?
No, there is no minimum amount of money needed to start a nonprofit in Florida. However, the amount of money needed to cover startup costs and maintain operations will depend on the scope of the organization.
What are the steps for starting a nonprofit in Florida?
The steps for starting a nonprofit in Florida include researching the type of organization you’d like to create, deciding on a name and purpose, creating a board of directors, applying for tax-exempt status with the IRS, and registering with the Florida Department of State.
How long does it take to start a nonprofit in Florida?
The process typically takes several months to complete, as there are several steps involved in the process.
What type of organization is required to register with the Florida Department of State?
All nonprofit organizations must register with the Florida Department of State. This includes charitable organizations, social clubs, and other non-profit entities.
Is a Florida nonprofit required to file an annual report?
Yes, all nonprofits in Florida must file an annual report with the Division of Corporations.
What type of information is required for the application for tax-exempt status with the IRS?
The application for tax-exempt status with the IRS requires information about the nonprofit organization such as its purpose, structure, activities, and financial information.
What is the fee for registering a nonprofit in Florida?
There is a $35 fee for registering a nonprofit in Florida with the Division of Corporations.
Is a Florida nonprofit required to have a board of directors?
Yes, all nonprofits in Florida must have a board of directors. The board should consist of at least three individuals who are not related.
Is there a filing fee for the Florida Department of State’s annual report?
Yes, there is a $61.25 filing fee for the Florida Department of State’s annual report.
Are there any other fees associated with starting a nonprofit in Florida?
Depending on the type of organization, additional fees may be required when registering with the Division of Corporations. Additionally, there may be fees associated with applying for tax-exempt status with the IRS.
Is there a minimum amount of time that a nonprofit must be in operation before filing for tax-exempt status with the IRS?
Yes, the IRS requires that a nonprofit be in operation for at least five months before filing for tax-exempt status.
Does a Florida nonprofit need to obtain local approvals or permits?
Yes, depending on the type of organization, additional local approvals or permits may be required.
What type of documents are required to register a nonprofit in Florida?
The documents required to register a nonprofit in Florida include Articles of Incorporation, a Certificate of Incorporation, and a Certificate of Limited Partnership.
Is there a minimum amount of money that must be raised for a Florida nonprofit to be approved for tax-exempt status?
Yes, the IRS requires that a nonprofit raise at least $5,000 in the first year of operation in order to be considered for tax-exempt status.
Is there a fee for changing the name of a Florida nonprofit?
Yes, there is a $35 fee for changing the name of a nonprofit in Florida with the Division of Corporations.
Are there any ongoing annual fees for a Florida nonprofit?
Yes, all nonprofits in Florida must pay an annual renewal fee of $61.25.
Is there a minimum number of board members required for a Florida nonprofit?
Yes, all nonprofits in Florida must have a minimum of three board members.
Is there a minimum amount of money that a Florida nonprofit must have in its bank account?
No, there is no minimum amount of money that a nonprofit must have in its bank account.
Is a nonprofit in Florida required to file an annual tax return?
Yes, all nonprofits in Florida must file an annual tax return with the IRS.
What type of information is required for the annual tax return?
The annual tax return requires information about the nonprofit organization’s income, expenses, assets, and liabilities.
What is required for the annual renewal with the Florida Department of State?
The annual renewal with the Florida Department of State requires a $61.25 fee and an updated annual report.
Is a Florida nonprofit required to obtain a state sales tax permit?
Yes, all nonprofits in Florida must obtain a state sales tax permit in order to collect sales tax.
What type of information is required for the application for a state sales tax permit in Florida?
The application for a state sales tax permit in Florida requires information about the nonprofit organization such as its purpose, activities, and financial information.
Is there an annual fee for the state sales tax permit in Florida?
Yes, there is an annual fee of $25 for the state sales tax permit in Florida.
Is a nonprofit in Florida required to obtain a federal tax identification number?
Yes, all nonprofits in Florida must obtain a federal tax identification number in order to apply for tax-exempt status with the IRS.
What type of information is required for the application for a federal tax identification number?
The application for a federal tax identification number requires information about the nonprofit organization such as its purpose, structure, activities, and financial information.
Is there an annual fee for the federal tax identification number?
No, there is no annual fee for the federal tax identification number.
Does a Florida nonprofit need to register with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services?
Yes, all nonprofits in Florida must register with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in order to solicit donations.
What type of information is required for the application for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services?
The application for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services requires information about the nonprofit organization such as its purpose, activities, and financial information.
Is there a fee for registering with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services?
Yes, there is an annual fee of $50 for registering with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Also Read

Why Florida Nonprofit Corporation is So Important

First and foremost, Florida Nonprofit Corporation plays a significant role in filling the gaps left by government and private sector organizations. These nonprofits often cater to marginalized or underserved populations, offering vital resources and services that might not otherwise be accessible to them. They provide a safety net for those who fall through the cracks of society, offering assistance with housing, food, healthcare, and education, among other things.

Furthermore, Florida Nonprofit Corporation helps to address pressing social issues such as poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, and mental health. These organizations work tirelessly to advocate for policy changes, raise public awareness, and mobilize resources to create positive change within communities. Through their advocacy efforts, Florida nonprofits play a crucial role in shaping public opinion, influencing legislation, and ensuring that the voices of the most vulnerable are heard and represented.

In addition to their social impact, Florida Nonprofit Corporation also plays a crucial role in fostering a sense of community and unity among Floridians. These organizations bring people together from all walks of life, creating opportunities for engagement, collaboration, and connection. By volunteering, donating, or participating in nonprofit activities, individuals can build strong relationships, develop a sense of belonging, and contribute to the overall well-being of their communities.

Moreover, Florida Nonprofit Corporation serves as a driving force for innovation and creativity. These organizations are often at the forefront of developing new solutions to complex problems, experimenting with novel approaches, and taking risks that government and private sector organizations might be unwilling or unable to take. By fostering a culture of experimentation and entrepreneurship, Florida nonprofits help to pave the way for progress and positive change within society.

In conclusion, Florida Nonprofit Corporation plays a crucial role in addressing social, environmental, and health issues within our communities. These organizations provide essential services and resources to those in need, advocate for policy changes, and foster a sense of unity and community spirit among Floridians. By supporting and engaging with nonprofit organizations, individuals can make a meaningful difference in the lives of others, contribute to the greater good of society, and help to create a more just and equitable world for all.

Conclusion

Starting a nonprofit corporation in Florida is an incredible way to give back to your community and positively impact the causes that matter most to you. By forming a nonprofit, you can provide essential services, promote awareness, and make a lasting difference in the lives of those who need it most. In Florida, a lot of nonprofit organizations are there to cater to people in need. Starting a nonprofit corporation is better than an LLC, as it provides limited liability and tax benefits. It helps you save taxes. If you want to start a nonprofit in Florida, you must follow the steps mentioned above in the article.

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