How to Form a Pennsylvania 501c3 Nonprofit Corporation
To form a 501c3 in Pennsylvania, you first need to register with the state as a
nonprofit corporation by filing Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation. After you’ve
registered your Pennsylvania Nonprofit, you’ll need to obtain the 501c3 status from
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The 501c3 status is available for those qualifying corporations organizing for charitable,
religious, educational, literary, or scientific purposes. Corporations may not operate
as if they are tax-exempt until they have received that distinction from the IRS—this
means that even after you register your Pennsylvania Nonprofit Corporation, you
are still responsible for any taxes and you may not accept tax-exempt donations
until you have officially received tax-exempt status from the IRS.
Register your Nonprofit Corporation in Pennsylvania
Other than your purpose statement, which cannot be a “general purpose” and must
specify in detail how your business fits into one of the above categories, your
Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation will include much the same information as For-Profit
Your Nonprofit Articles should include the following information:
- Incorporator signature
- Corporate name, which must be available for use
- Registered agent, and office address (PO box not acceptable)
- Purpose (if you intend to apply for 501c3 status, you will also need to include
specific language here)
- Statement that the corporation does not contemplate gain or profit
- Statement that the corporation is nonstock (if stock, number and par value of shares
should be listed)
- Whether or not your nonprofit corporation has members
- Clauses including specific IRS-requires 501c3 language
When the state receives your complete application and filing fee and files your
business, you are then officially a legal entity, able to do business in the state
of Pennsylvania. Once you’re an official entity, you can send your 501c3 application
in to the IRS to receive tax-exempt status.
When you form your 501c3 Nonprofit Corporation in Pennsylvania with Click and Inc,
we make sure to include all of the 501c3 language that will be necessary when you
apply with the IRS so that you don’t have to amend your articles later.
Applying for 501c3 Tax-Exempt Status from the IRS
In addition to your state filing information, the IRS will require a great deal
of information from you, including but not limited to the following:
- 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 you may be required to open any number of Business
Licenses with your state, county, or town. Learn how our
Business License Services can help you.
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 Pennsylvania Nonprofit Corporation
Once your nonprofit corporation has been registered with the state, you will need
to publish notice of the filing in two newspapers of general circulation.
If any of the information that you’ve included in your Articles of Incorporation
changes, you should submit an Article
Amendment to change your information with the state. If the state does not
have updated information for your company, they may not be able to reach you with
important updates and filing deadline notifications. Additionally, they may penalize
your business for failing to keep your information updated.
You should also obtain your EIN—Employee Identification Number—with the IRS.
Pennsylvania Startup Quicklinks
For information on other types of businesses in Pennsylvania, please explore the