How to get 501c3 status for your nonprofit organization in Georgia

How to get 501c3 status for your nonprofit organization in Georgia

Starting and maintaining a nonprofit in Georgia is a great way to give back to society, and be a beacon of positive change as you help people in need. While starting a nonprofit is a noble cause, you need to know the right way to start a nonprofit in Georgia.

How to start a 501c3 for your Nonprofit Organization in Georgia

To get a 501c3 tax-exempt nonprofit in Georgia, you should start by creating a nonprofit based on your goals and objectives. You will also have to apply for the 501c3 status with the IRS. If this is the first time that you are registering your non-profit, it can be difficult  to fully understand the process. Here are the steps you have to follow to register your nonprofit organization in Georgia:

Step 1: Pick a name for your Organization

You have to begin by picking a name for your organization that meets the requirements for naming nonprofits in Georgia. The name should also be simple so that donors and potential members can find it easily. Some guidelines that you should follow when naming your organization include:

  • The name of the organization has to include “company”, “incorporated”, “limited”, “corporation”, or an abbreviation standing for one of these words.
  • The name of the nonprofit should be under 80 characters.
  • Individuals registering the organization should get approval for their name from the Department of Banking and Finance if the nonprofit name has “bank” or “banking” in it.
  • The Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner has to provide approval for the nonprofit if the name of your organization includes words such as “fidelity”, “insurance”, or “assurance.” The approval should be written and include the permission details.

People registering the nonprofit should also check if the name they chose is not registered already. You can perform a quick name check to ensure you do not give your company a duplicate name. You should also check if a web domain is available for your nonprofit website. Even if you do not plan on getting a website for your organization right now, you might need to make one in the future.

Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent in Georgia

While running a nonprofit, you should present a registered agent for the organization. The agent is a trained and registered individual who receives documents on behalf of your organization. You can elect someone from the company or even yourself. Or, you can hire a third-party agent for the task.

Picking out the right agent matters because these agents handle future nonprofit affairs and documents on your behalf.

managersStep 3: Pick your Officers and Directors

The directors of a nonprofit are responsible for taking major decisions for the firm. They are also responsible for oversee nonprofit operations and various other tasks.

The president, vice president, and secretary are the three main officers that you will have to elect for your organization. Each of them come with responsibilities for their designations.

However, the directors within the nonprofit should not be related to each other. You can create a reliable method for electing officers within your nonprofit.

Step 4: Adopt Conflict of Interest Policies and Bylaws

It’s necessary for any nonprofit applying for a 501c3 needs to have policies for conflict of interest and specific by-laws. These can include:


These are simple rules that outline the operational process of a nonprofit organization.

Conflict of Interest Policy

The conflict of interest policies are simple rules to ensure all decisions made by the directors of an organization benefit the firm and not the officers.

Nonprofit organizations should adopt these policies in the first meeting. It clarifies the organization when the directors and officers get their appointments.

Step 5: File Incorporation & Transmittal Form Articles for the Nonprofit

File Incorporation & Transmittal Form Articles for a Georgian nonprofit is the next most important step in registering your organization. These articles ensure that your nonprofit is eligible for the 501c3 status. The organization should explicitly state that:

1. Purpose of the Nonprofit

The organization should clarify the main purpose of its operations. The purpose of the firm should be limited to one or more of the following:

  • Testing for public safety
  • Scientific
  • Religious
  • Preventing cruelty against animals/children
  • Literacy
  • Fostering national/international sports competitions for amateurs
  • Education
  • Charity

Clarity regarding the organization’s purpose helps the nonprofit understands its goals and role as a registered organization.

2. Dissolution

The organization should also clearly state how it will utilize its assets and what will happen to the assets if the organization dissolves. Organizations that need the 501c3 status should use their assets for a purpose that the 501c3 status was approved.

There’s a wide range of provisions for this information that you can follow. You can find the full details in section 5 of the sample IRS document.

Step 6: Get Approval for an EIN

The EIN or Employee Identification Number helps the federal government identify a business entity. It can also be a Federal Tax Identification Number and your organization’s social security number (SSN).

Here’s why you need it:

  • You need it if you want to open a bank account for the business.
  • The EIN is also necessary for Federal Tax Purposes
  • EIN also helps hire employees for the company

You can obtain an EIN free of cost from the IRS or the business owner who forms the company (or the nonprofit in this case). You can register via mail or online. You can check out the online details for the EINs for further details.

Step 7: Apply for 501c3 Status

For a quick recap, while applying for a 501c3 status, you have to keep in mind:

  • Electing three different directors for the board of directors, who should not be related to each other
  • Meet the requirements for Articles of Incorporation according to the required provisions
  • Choose the conflict of interest and by-laws for the nonprofit.
  • Get an EIN for your IRS

Once the organization meets all the requirements, you can apply for the 501c3 by filling out form-1023 online. If the IRC application gets accepted, they will notify you. You will receive a letter that explains your organization is exempted from all federal taxes as per section 501c3.

Important things to Follow after forming a Nonprofit

After starting a nonprofit organization, you should also have a plan on what to do next. Maintaining a nonprofit is more important than forming one. So, here are a few things to follow after you form a nonprofit.

business ownerSetup Business Banking

Finances are an essential element of any nonprofit organization, which is why setting up business banking is important. You should start by creating a business bank account to keep your personal and business assets separate. You should also get a business credit card for any sudden expenses you may have to bear. It also improves your credit score and is useful for gaining capital later.

Hire a Business Account

Hiring a business accountant is crucial to saving your business from overpaying on taxes, penalties, and tax errors that can cost thousands of dollars. It can simplify bookkeeping and payrolls and avoid unforeseen losses for the nonprofit. You can hire a business accountant for the firm or outsource your financials to another firm.

Get an Insurance Policy for the Nonprofit

An insurance policy is a major part of any nonprofit organization and can help protect it as the business grows. You can choose from various types of business insurance policies that can protect your business from different forms of liability. General liability insurance, for instance, protects you from lawsuits.

Professional liability insurance can protect against malpractice, business error defaults, and lawsuits. You should also get worker’s compensation insurance, which provides coverage when employees get sick, injured, or pass away.

Create a Business Website

Your nonprofit’s reach plays a vital role in its long-term success, and a business website is a great way to ensure you can better connect with clients and individuals. The website can be a great resource for new users, members, volunteers, or other individuals who may want to learn about your firm.

Some nonprofits refrain from creating a designated website for their business because they have no experience with websites. However, with website-building tools like Wix and Squarespace, building a website is not difficult.

Bottom Line

Getting a 501c3 for your nonprofit organization is a great way to make it tax-free. Organization owners can follow the steps mentioned in this guide to attain the 501c3 status. It’s a great way to start and maintain your nonprofit in Georgia. We also recommend taking the time to find the right insurance policy, an accounts manager, and other members of the organization to help it run smoothly.

Creating a positive reputation for the nonprofit will take some time, but it will become easier once you establish yourself. If you have further questions and concerns, you should consult with a professional for your nonprofit organization in Georgia

The Atlanta Small Business Network, from start-up to success, we are your go-to resource for small business news, expert advice, information, and event coverage.

While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest business news know-how from Atlanta Small Business Network.

Brandi Marcene
Brandi Marcene
Brandi Marcene is a contributing writer and investigative journalist for ASBN. Over the years, her writing has been published by several Fortune 500 companies, including Dell, Haute, Audemars Piguet, and Harry Winston.

Related Articles