Where can I get help filling out my incorporation and tax-exempt 501(c)(3) paperwork?
Forming a nonprofit includes filling out many legal documents, including, but not limited to, your state's incorporation paperwork and the Internal Revenue Service's Form 1023. While these forms can be filled out by us regular folks, you might consider hiring an experienced attorney or accountant to fill out the forms for you, or at least look them over before you submit them.
If you cannot afford to hire an attorney or accountant, you may want to look into these alternative ways to get free or low-cost help with filling out your startup forms:
- Ask your board members if they know attorneys or accountants who might volunteer their services
- Seek pro-bono legal assistance
- Ask local law schools if they offer a student-run legal clinic, which are often free or low cost
- Ask your state's nonprofit association if it can refer you to consultants or organizations that assist startups
If you choose to fill out the forms yourself, we recommend these books, widely available at libraries and booksellers:
- How to Form a Nonprofit Corporation, by Anthony Mancuso
- IRS Form 1023 Tax Preparation Guide, by Jody Blazek
Please note that the IRS is no longer accepting Form 1023 paper submissions as of April 30, 2020. Organizations are required to submit electronically online at Pay.gov.
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Explore resources curated by our staff for this topic:
Applying for Tax Exemption: An Overview
IRS's free video tutorial helps you through the process of applying for tax-exempt status.
FAQs for Form 1023-EZ: Streamlined Application for 501(c)(3) Application Status
The IRS released Form 1023-EZ, a streamlined 501(c)(3) application, on July 1, 2014. These pages contain some frequently asked questions about this form, with answers from a former IRS exempt organizations specialist.
Form 1023-EZ Update Report
A 2 year IRS study looks at the main reasons why 1023-EZ applications are rejected. !023-EZ is the shorter, less expensive way to apply for tax-exempt status, which not all nonprofit wannabes can use.
Frequently Asked Questions about Form 1023
Questions are separated by sections of Form 1023.
Help Filling Out Your 501(c)(3) Application
Designed to help new nonprofit organizations complete the Application for Exempt Status Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Help with the IRS Form 1023 for 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organizations
This free website explains the IRS form 1023 page by page and answers questions with references to successful applications and sample documents.
How to Obtain 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status for Your Nonprofit
How to apply for tax-exempt status for your nonprofit and the IRS Form 1023 application.
Sample Form 1023, Form 1024, Bylaws, etc.
Provides sample Forms 1023 and 1024 and related documents for organizations applying for recognition of 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status with the IRS.
How to Form a Nonprofit Corporation