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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