How to Start a Nonprofit in Oklahoma


Steve Goldstein
Steve Goldstein
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Start a Nonprofit in Oklahoma

Are you looking to start a nonprofit in Oklahoma? You’ve come to the right place. Known for its vibrant community and rich culture, Oklahoma (often referred to as The Sooner 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 Oklahoma’s motto, “Labor conquers all things (Labor omnia vincit),” thousands of nonprofits are founded within the state each year. This article will provide a comprehensive guide to starting your own nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma. 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 Oklahoma, we encourage you to read this article in its entirety.

What is a Nonprofit in Oklahoma?

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 Oklahoma, 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 Oklahoma

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 Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma might be eligible for tax exemptions (check with Oklahoma Tax Commission), but this type of organization does not get to enjoy limited liability and personal asset protection.

How to Start a Nonprofit Corporation in Oklahoma

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 Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma 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 60 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 One unrelated directors to start the organization. If you don’t choose a minimum of One directors, it will automatically become a member-managed corporation.

Step 3: Appoint Your Oklahoma Registered Agent

The third step is to get a Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma.

Step 4: Write Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma state law. It is similar to an LLC operating agreement in Oklahoma for the LLC owners.

Step 5: File the Oklahoma Certificate of Incorporation

This is the most important step. File your Certificate of Incorporation with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. You can do it through three methods that are online, by mail and in-person. All the formation forms, such as the Oklahoma LLC Articles of Organization form, the Oklahoma Certificate of Incorporation form for corporations, forms for LLPs, and all others can be found on the Oklahoma 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 $25 for online, by mail filing or in person filing. to the Oklahoma Secretary of State, 421 N.W. 13th Suite 210, Oklahoma City, OK 73103 or upload it online (if available).

Step 6: Obtain Tax ID for Your Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma

The next step is to get the business licenses you need to run your nonprofit organization in Oklahoma. 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 Oklahoma, you must apply for the tax exemption to Oklahoma Tax Commission. 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 Tax Exemption Packet to apply for the state tax exemption. Read Oklahoma classification of taxes to learn more about the Oklahoma tax structure.

Step 10: Get Insurance for Your Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma Insurance Department for more information.

After Forming Your Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma. 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 Oklahoma

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

  • Guthrie Charities
  • Guymon Charities
  • Harrah Charities
  • Hartshorne Charities
  • Haskell Charities
  • Healdton Charities
  • Heavener Charities
  • Helena Charities.

FAQs

What is required to start a nonprofit in Oklahoma?
To start a nonprofit in Oklahoma, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. These articles must include certain required elements, such as the organization’s name, registered agent, and purpose.
Is there a fee to file nonprofit Articles of Incorporation in Oklahoma?
Yes, there is a $25 filing fee to file nonprofit Articles of Incorporation in Oklahoma.
Are there any additional requirements to form a nonprofit in Oklahoma?
Yes, after filing Articles of Incorporation with the Oklahoma Secretary of State, you must also apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status with the IRS and register with the Oklahoma Charitable Solicitations Act.
How long does it take to form a nonprofit in Oklahoma?
It usually takes 1-2 weeks to form a nonprofit in Oklahoma.
Is there a minimum amount of money required to start a nonprofit in Oklahoma?
No, there is no minimum amount of money required to start a nonprofit in Oklahoma.
What are the benefits of forming a nonprofit in Oklahoma?
The benefits of forming a nonprofit in Oklahoma include tax-exempt status, limited liability, and the ability to raise funds from individuals, foundations, corporations, and government sources.
Are there any restrictions on the activities of a nonprofit in Oklahoma?
Yes, there are certain restrictions on the activities of a nonprofit in Oklahoma, such as not engaging in partisan political activities or conducting activities that are not related to the organization’s mission.
What is the Oklahoma Charitable Solicitations Act?
The Oklahoma Charitable Solicitations Act is a set of regulations that require organizations that solicit donations from the public in Oklahoma to register with the Oklahoma Secretary of State.
What is the process for registering with the Oklahoma Charitable Solicitations Act?
The process for registering with the Oklahoma Charitable Solicitations Act includes filing an application, paying a fee, and submitting an audit report.
What are the filing requirements for a nonprofit in Oklahoma?
The filing requirements for a nonprofit in Oklahoma include filing Articles of Incorporation with the Oklahoma Secretary of State and registering with the Oklahoma Charitable Solicitations Act.
Is there a filing fee to register with the Oklahoma Charitable Solicitations Act?
Yes, there is a $50 filing fee to register with the Oklahoma Charitable Solicitations Act.
Is there a time limit to register with the Oklahoma Charitable Solicitations Act?
Yes, organizations must register with the Oklahoma Charitable Solicitations Act within 30 days of beginning fundraising activities.
What is the purpose of an audit report?
An audit report is an independent review of an organization’s financial statements. It is used to ensure that an organization is complying with applicable laws and regulations.
What is the process for applying for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in Oklahoma?
The process for applying for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in Oklahoma includes filing Form 1023 with the IRS and providing additional required information.
Is there a fee to apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in Oklahoma?
Yes, there is a fee of $750 to apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in Oklahoma.
Is there a time limit to apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in Oklahoma?
Yes, organizations must apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in Oklahoma within 27 months of filing Articles of Incorporation.
What is the purpose of filing an annual report in Oklahoma?
The purpose of filing an annual report in Oklahoma is to update the Oklahoma Secretary of State on the organization’s activities.
Is there a fee to file an annual report in Oklahoma?
Yes, there is a $20 filing fee to file an annual report in Oklahoma.
What is the process for amending a nonprofit’s Articles of Incorporation in Oklahoma?
The process for amending a nonprofit’s Articles of Incorporation in Oklahoma includes filing an Amendment Form with the Oklahoma Secretary of State and paying a $25 filing fee.
What is the process for dissolving a nonprofit in Oklahoma?
The process for dissolving a nonprofit in Oklahoma includes filing a Certificate of Dissolution with the Oklahoma Secretary of State, notifying all creditors, and paying any outstanding debts.
Are there any ongoing reporting requirements for a nonprofit in Oklahoma?
Yes, nonprofits in Oklahoma must file an annual report with the Oklahoma Secretary of State and must file Form 990 with the IRS.
What is the purpose of filing Form 990?
The purpose of filing Form 990 is to provide the IRS with financial information about a nonprofit organization’s activities and operations.
Is there a fee to file Form 990?
No, there is no fee to file Form 990.
Are there any restrictions on the fundraising activities of nonprofits in Oklahoma?
Yes, nonprofits in Oklahoma must comply with the Oklahoma Charitable Solicitations Act and must obtain prior approval from the Oklahoma Secretary of State before conducting any fundraising activities.
Are there any limits on executive compensation for nonprofits in Oklahoma?
Yes, nonprofits in Oklahoma must comply with IRS regulations regarding executive compensation.
Are there any restrictions on the use of funds by nonprofits in Oklahoma?
Yes, nonprofits in Oklahoma must use funds for activities related to their mission and must follow applicable laws and regulations regarding the use of funds.
What is required to register a nonprofit in another state?
To register a nonprofit in another state, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State in that state. Each state has different requirements, so it is important to research the requirements of the state in which you are registering your nonprofit.
Are there any restrictions on the types of activities that a nonprofit in Oklahoma can engage in?
Yes, nonprofits in Oklahoma must comply with state and federal laws and regulations regarding the types of activities they can engage in.
Are there any rules regarding the use of a nonprofit’s name in Oklahoma?
Yes, all nonprofits in Oklahoma must use their registered name when conducting business and must obtain prior approval from the Oklahoma Secretary of State before using a different name.
Are there any restrictions on the types of investments a nonprofit in Oklahoma can make?
Yes, nonprofits in Oklahoma must comply with state and federal laws and regulations regarding the types of investments they can make.

Also Read

Why Oklahoma Nonprofit Corporation is So Important

One of the primary reasons why nonprofit corporations are so important in Oklahoma is their ability to fill the gaps left by government agencies and other entities. While government agencies and other institutions may provide certain services and resources, there are often limitations to what they can offer. Nonprofit organizations, on the other hand, are often able to provide more tailored and flexible services that cater to the specific needs of their communities. This level of flexibility and customization is essential in ensuring that all members of the community receive the support they need to thrive and prosper.

Nonprofit corporations in Oklahoma also play a vital role in advocating for the interests and well-being of underserved populations. Many nonprofit organizations focus on issues such as poverty, homelessness, mental health, and addiction, working tirelessly to address these critical issues and bring about positive change. By advocating for greater resources, funding, and support for these populations, nonprofit corporations in Oklahoma are able to make a substantial impact on the lives of those who are most in need.

Furthermore, nonprofit corporations are crucial in fostering a sense of community and solidarity among residents of Oklahoma. Through their various community outreach programs, events, and initiatives, nonprofit organizations help to bring people together, creating strong bonds and connections that enhance the overall well-being of the community. By nurturing a sense of belonging and unity, nonprofit corporations in Oklahoma contribute to the social fabric of the state and help to build a stronger, more cohesive society.

Nonprofit corporations in Oklahoma also play a pivotal role in promoting economic development and growth. Many nonprofit organizations in the state work to stimulate economic activity, attract investment, create jobs, and support local businesses. By providing a wide range of services and resources that enhance the overall quality of life in Oklahoma, nonprofit organizations contribute to the state’s economic prosperity.

In conclusion, nonprofit corporations are an invaluable asset to the state of Oklahoma, providing essential services, advocating for marginalized populations, fostering community cohesion, and promoting economic development. Without the tireless efforts and dedication of these organizations, many individuals and families in Oklahoma would be left without access to critical resources and support. It is crucial that we continue to support and champion the work of nonprofit corporations in Oklahoma, as they play a vital role in enhancing the well-being and prosperity of our communities.

Conclusion

Starting a nonprofit corporation in Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma, 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 Oklahoma, you must follow the steps mentioned above in the article.

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