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Forming a nonprofit

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If you want to be your own boss and devote your work life to charitable causes, establishing a nonprofit organization could be the best path for you. In Virginia, a nonprofit is established just like a for-profit enterprise, but owners must apply for tax-exempt status with the IRS.

In Virginia, nonprofits must:
Be registered as either a nonstock corporation or a limited liability company (LLC).

Register with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the ability to raise funds.

Obtain a business license, and, if required, register with the Virginia Department of Taxation.

A nonprofit organization becomes tax-exempt (allowing individuals and businesses who donate to the organization to deduct their gifts on their federal tax returns) by filing to become classified as a 501(c)(3) organization.

You must fill out IRS Form 8718 and IRS Package 1023. IRS publication 557, Tax-Exempt Status for Your Organization, explains how to fill out these forms. All IRS forms can be obtained by calling (800) TAX FORM or downloading them from


The Virginia Department of Business Assistance has established a Web site devoted to nonprofit basics and step-by-step formation guidance: The live links will enable you to print required forms and instructions.  For more information, contact the Virginia Business Information Center

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