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How to start a non profit organization in the State of Florida

How to start a Florida non profit corporation: 

  1. First you do a quick search for your name availability through the Divisions web records.
  2. Pick your initial directors ahead of time because they must be listed on your articles of incorporation.
  3. You file the Articles of Incorporation (Not for Profit) in duplicate with the FL Department of State, Division of Corporations. The Florida form is straight-forward and easy to understand. You can deliver it in person or by mail, along with the filing fee. The best method is to submit your nonprofit articles online. If not filing online, include the Cover Letter. You can fax file if you set up a SUNBIZ electronic filing account with the department.
  4. After you file your Florida articles of incorporation, you hold an organizational meeting to approve your bylaws.
  5. Get an EIN number from the IRS. 
  6. If you want to be a tax exempt organization in Florida, you apply for the exemption first with the IRS. Once you have received your federal tax exemption, then a simple note or phone call to the Florida Department of Revenue declaring your 501c3 status, and you will be off their tax roles. Pretty amazing, but you will likely go to ‘the big house’ and pay restitution if you commit fraud by claiming a corporate tax exemption that is not real.
  7. If your non profit is a charitable organization, you are required to register and renew every year with the FL Dept. of Agriculture, Division of Consumer Services. Yes that is right; not the attorney general, the dept. of agriculture.
  8. Don’t try to start your Florida non profit organization by yourself.  It is a large undertaking that takes a committed team to accomplish.  When meeting to make the final decision to start a FL nonprofit, be sure to decide who will serve as the initial directors.  Decide who will fund the initial formation fees and expenses, and if and when the FL nonprofit will pay people back.  Appoint one person to see to the filing the nonprofit paperwork.

How much does it cost to start a Florida non profit organization?

The filing fee for FL Articles of Incorporation is $70. The FL Department of State accepts check, money order or credit card.

How long does it take to form a Florida nonprofit organization?

Florida takes about ten days to process your incorporation filing. You can get it processed in one to three days if you file your articles online.

Are there corporate ending requirements for a non profit in Florida?

Yes, the name must end with Corporation, Corp, Incorporated or Inc. Your non profit cannot end in Company or Co.

What do I need to include on my Certificate of Incorporation?

You will need to list the names and addresses of three initial directors. You need one incorporator. You do need to furnish a principle office address and a mailing address of the non profit, and for the registered agent as well.

What are the incorporator requirements in Florida?

The incorporator must be a natural person, not a business entity, and typically the incorporators function ends after the corporation is filed.

Will I have to describe the purpose of the Florida nonprofit?

Florida wants a specific description of the organization; its purpose and activities. If you plan on applying for 501c3 status, you will need to attach an extra page for the required IRS language because the Florida form doesn’t allow enough room for the entire text. You can find the text on our Tax Exempt Language page.

Do I need a registered agent signature on my articles?

Yes, the registered agent must sign as accepting the position.

What are the annual fees to keep my Florida nonprofit organization active?

You file an easy Florida annual report online. The fee is $61.25 and it is due by May 1st.
Charities renew on their anniversary for $10 to $400 depending on revenue raised.

What do I need to do to fundraise in Florida?

First you have to get registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture, Division of Consumer Services. See our FL Charities page.

Florida Non Profit Formation Agency:

Florida Department of State
Division of Corporations
P.O. Box 6327
Tallahassee, FL 32314
or walk it in: Florida Department of State
Clifton Building
2661 Executive Center Circle
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Ph:  (850) 245-6052
Email:  corphelp@dos.state.fl.us

Northwest Registered Agent,LLC
Agent#  M08000005042
Tampa, FL 33607


More Florida Nonprofit Info....

Florida Nonprofit
How To Start A Florida Nonprofit
Florida Charity Registration
Foreign Florida Certificate of Authority, Nonprofit
Florida Non Profit Articles of Incorporation Non Profit Template

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