How to Form an Illinois Nonprofit Corporation or 501c3
The first step in forming an Illinois 501c3 Nonprofit Corporation is registering
your nonprofit corporation with Cyberdrive, the official website of the Illinois
Secretary of State and the Business Services Division, located in the State Capitol
in Springfield. To do so, simply draft and file your Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation
with the Business Services Division.
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After your nonprofit corporation is registered with the state, if your business
is formed for scientific, religious, charitable, literary, or educational purposes,
you can apply for 501c3 status with the IRS. This status, and the tax benefits associated
with the status, are not available to businesses formed for profit or to nonprofit
corporations not formed for one of the above purposes. If you improperly attempt
to gain 501c3 status, your application will be denied.
Register your Nonprofit Corporation in Illinois
Your Nonprofit Corporation’s Articles of Incorporation will include much the same
information as a for-profit Illinois corporation, with the exception of a more detailed
purpose statement and, if applicable, the clauses required by the IRS in order to
later obtain 501c3 status.
Your Nonprofit Articles will include, at minimum, the following:
- Business name, including the appropriate corporate suffix
- Board of Directors, numbering at least three
- Registered Agent’s name and physical address
- Other provisions, which would include 501c3 language
Once placed on file by the Secretary of State, your organization becomes a legal
entity authorized to do business in the state of Illinois. Your next step, if your
intention is to become a 501c3 Nonprofit, is to apply for tax-exempt status with
Applying for 501c3 Tax-Exempt Status from the IRS
There is a great deal of information the IRS will need about your business in order
to grant you tax-exempt status. Some of the information you can expect to provide
is as follows:
- Form 1023
- Articles of Incorporation, including specific 501c3 language
- Three years of donation estimates
- Detailed description of your business activities
- Three years of expense estimates
- Conflict of Interest form
- Information about any organization from which you are involved in fundraising or
- Depending on the amount of compensation they are to receive, a list of any independent
contractors or officers
- Copies of any leases or contracts with any of the above persons
This is by no means a comprehensive list of the information the IRS will require.
Depending on your specific purpose, additional forms and information may be required.
When you use Click and Inc to file your 501c3, we make sure the required 501c3 language
is present in your state Articles of Incorporation from the very beginning. Learn
more about forming a 501c3 Nonprofit.
Further Responsibilities of a Illinois Nonprofit Corporation
All incorporated entities in Illinois, whether nonprofit or for-profit, must submit
an Annual Report to the Secretary of State’s office. Failure to do so may result
in a revoked status or late fees.
If any of the information provided to either the state or the IRS changes, it is
extremely important that you file the appropriate amendment document with one or
both levels of government. Failure to do so may result in penalties, late fees,
or the termination of your business.
You will be required to obtain an Employee Identification Number, also known as
an EIN. The EIN is obtained through the IRS. It is best to check with the IRS or
a legal advisor to determine what other IRS requirements are present for a 501c3
Depending on your purpose and your local jurisdictions, you may be required to open
any number of Business Licenses at the state, county, or town level. Learn more
about our Business License
Services to streamline the process.
Illinois Startup Quicklinks