Starting A 501c3 In Illinois – To form a nonprofit in Illinois, you must file your articles of incorporation with the Illinois Secretary of State. You can submit your articles online, in person, or by mail. Company registration costs $50 plus a payment processing fee of up to $4. After filing with the state, your charter officially establishes your business in Illinois, but actually forming a nonprofit involves several additional steps to fulfill its mission.
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Starting A 501c3 In Illinois
To form a nonprofit organization in Illinois, you must complete and file Articles of Incorporation with the Illinois Secretary of State. Review the document below and click on any number to see what information is required in the appropriate section.
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The name of your nonprofit must be clearly distinguishable from existing business entities operating in Illinois, and must not contain words that indicate prominent political parties (such as “Democrat,” “Democrat,” and “Republican”). You can do a name search on the Illinois Secretary of State website. An additional 90-day name order is available for a $25 fee.
Your registered agent must be an individual (such as yourself or a willing partner) or a company authorized to provide registered agent services. In either case, the agent needs an office with a mailing address in Illinois to serve process. If you rent Northwest, go here for our name and Illinois street address.
Illinois has some pretty specific guidelines for how to describe your nonprofit’s purpose. You must select one of the 33 permitted purposes (“charitable,” “charitable,” “athletic,” etc.), which you can read about on the Illinois Secretary of State’s website, and provide a detailed description. The purpose of the organization is to fulfill the chosen category. Also, if you plan to apply for federal tax exemption with the IRS, be aware that some of the permitted purposes of Illinois may not be tax exempt in the eyes of the IRS. See our Guide to Understanding IRS 501(c)(3) Requirements to see the specific tax-exempt language required by the IRS.
In Illinois, your nonprofit must have at least 3 directors. Your directors do not have to be Illinois residents or members of your nonprofit unless you draft your articles of incorporation or bylaws to include such requirements.
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You can also include additional optional provisions that apply to your nonprofit, including defining the duties of directors and officers (some of this content may appear in your bylaws instead of you). More importantly, if you plan to apply for a tax-exempt 501(c)(3), you should include a statement of purpose and an explanation of the nonprofit’s approach to preventing personal enrichment. If and when your association dissolves (often called a “termination agreement”). If your article contains additional terms and conditions, you may need to print and mail a paper form instead of submitting online.
Include the name and address of at least one participant. An organizer is simply the person who signs and files your Articles of Incorporation and does not have to be a director, officer, or member of your non-profit organization. When you hire Northwest to build your nonprofit, we’ll be your recruiting partner.
The Illinois Secretary of State charges $50 for the normal filing period (about 10 days) plus a $4 processing fee. You can also pay an additional $25 for faster 24/7 service.
Standard processing for Illinois nonprofits is approximately 10 days. However, if you file online or in person and pay the $25 processing fee, you can have your registration documents processed in one business day.
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Yes, your nonprofit must appoint an Illinois Registered Agent. You can do the work yourself, hire a volunteer partner, or hire a reputable company that provides registered agency services (such as Northwest). We recommend hiring a registered agent.
Why? Since your registered agent must be available during normal business hours to receive service of process, this is not an easy task for a human being. When you’re self-employed, you can’t be stuck in long business meetings, travel to meet with potential donors, take vacations, or do many other things that essentially keep you away from your nonprofit’s registered office. The address you provide also becomes public, so you’ll probably be dealing with a lot of spam, spam, and unwanted solicitors.
However, if you hire Northwest, our Illinois address will replace yours and we will always scan the service and ship it to you the same day we receive it. We help you protect your privacy, keep your business in good standing with the government, and give you the freedom to manage your profits on your own terms.
You will need an Employer Identification Number (FEIN or EIN) if you want to apply for a bank account in your nonprofit’s name and apply for federal and/or state tax exemptions. After the Illinois Secretary of State approves your application, you can apply for an EIN on the IRS website. You can also add our EIN service for an additional fee when you rent Northwest.
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Illinois requires that your nonprofit’s board of directors approve the bylaws at your organizational meeting. You don’t have to submit your rules to the state (and the state won’t accept them if you do), but that hardly matters. Even if your nonprofit is not required to write and adopt a bylaws, you can do so. No potential and successful nonprofit organization can function properly without directors, officers, and members who know who has what authority, who speaks on behalf of the organization, how long a director’s term is, who can vote on decisions, etc. Rules are self-control. These are the contracts your nonprofit makes with itself.
Of course, writing the rules isn’t easy, but Northwest is here to help. When you hire Northwest to start your nonprofit, you’ll get access to our charter writing templates and a variety of tools to help you start and manage your new nonprofit. Free form for non-profit organization. why? Because we want to do business with you for years to come, and your nonprofit needs to succeed. At Northwest, we believe that ultimately our customers’ success is our success.
Not yet. First, you need to get the IRS to recognize your nonprofit as a tax-exempt organization, and that will take more than a little time and effort. You submit a detailed exemption application to the IRS, pay a large application fee, and wait approximately 3-6 months for the IRS to review your business and make a decision. If your non-profit organization plans to pursue tax exemptions for public charities and private 501(c)(3) organizations, make sure that your statutory documents include specific wording that the IRS requires you to specifically dedicate to the pursuit of tax exemption goals.
If your nonprofit is federally exempt, it is automatically exempt from Illinois income tax. However, to obtain an Illinois sales tax exemption, you must file Form STAX-1 (Application for Sales Tax Exemption) with the Illinois Department of Revenue. Learn more in the Northwest Illinois Tax Exemption Guide.
How Can I Get My 501c3 Status Back?
Illinois does not require a state business license, but some cities and counties have their own licensing requirements. It is best to contact your city and county office and research your local requirements before doing business in Illinois.
Your nonprofit must register for an IRS ID with the Illinois Department of Revenue before hiring employees or making purchases or turnover (basically before doing any business). You can apply for business registration (REG-1) online at the MyTax Illinois website or by mailing a printed application to:
If your nonprofit collects donations, you must register as an Illinois charity with the Illinois Attorney General. When you file your charity’s annual report (Form AG0990-IL), not to be confused with the annual report you file each year with the Illinois Secretary of State, there is a $15 filing fee and an additional $15 fee. Please! The deadline for annual reporting of a charitable organization is 6 months after the end of the financial year of a non-profit organization. However, if your nonprofit is a religious charity, it may be exempt from annual reporting and fees.
Whatever you do, remember to register before collecting donations in Illinois, and always file your charitable giving report on time. The Illinois Attorney General charges a $200 fee when you request registration assistance and a $200 re-registration fee from nonprofits that do not file annual reports by the deadline.
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To open a bank account for your Illinois nonprofit, you must have the following items with you:
It is wise to check with the bank in advance about its requirements. Some banks may allow you to open a bank account in your nonprofit’s name to achieve resolution (especially if your nonprofit has multiple directors and/or officers).
The Illinois Annual Report updates (or verifies) your nonprofit information, e.g
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