Forming a nonprofit

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Forming a nonprofit

Forming a nonprofit organization can be perfect for people who want to be their own boss and devote their work to charitable causes. A nonprofit is established just like a for-profit enterprise, with the additional step of applying for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service.

In Virginia, nonprofits must:

- Be registered as either a non-stock 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 local 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 an application to become classified as a 501(c)(3) organization.

Necessary forms include IRS Form 8718 and IRS Package 1023. For instructions on filling out these forms, read IRS publication 557, Tax-Exempt Status for Your Organization.
All IRS forms can be obtained by calling (800) TAX FORM or downloading them from


The Business Information Center of the VDBA can e-mail you a step-by-step explanation with live links to numerous resources and all required forms and instructions. Call (866) 248-8814 to request nonprofit instructions or e-mail your request to

Business One-Stop to be unveiled in 2008

Starting a business in Virginia will become easier in early 2008 when the online “Business One-Stop” is introduced.  Entrepreneurs accessing the one-stop site will need to answer only a few simple questions to receive detailed information on the registrations, licenses and permits required.

Debut date of the new “Business One-Stop” will be announced on the Virginia Department of Business Assistance Web site, and the Virginia Business




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