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 the IRS.

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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 Articles.

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
  • Bylaws
  • Conflict of Interest form
  • Information about any organization from which you are involved in fundraising or donations
  • 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 links below.