How to Start a Non-Profit in Louisiana

by Melinda Gaines

Non-profit organizations generally serve their communities by providing needed resources and services or dedicate their time to volunteering. The process for establishing an official non profit organization varies by state. Louisiana's process for starting a non-profit requires several steps, but is fairly straightforward.

Incorporate your Louisiana non-profit organization by submitting your Articles of Incorporation to the following address: Commercial Division PO Box 94125 Baton Rouge, LA 70804 A copy of the form for Articles of Incorporation is available on the website for the Louisiana Secretary of State. You will also need to send a filing fee along with your Articles of Incorporation.

File a copy of your Certificate of Incorporation within 30 days of submitting your Articles of Incorporation. The certificate, and instructions for filing it, will be sent to the address listed in your Articles of Incorporation filing.

Obtain 501(c)(3), or tax exempt, status for your non profit by submitting Form 1023 to the IRS at the following address: Internal Revenue Service P.O. Box 12192 Covington, KY 41012 A copy of Form 1023 is available at the Internal Revenue Service website. Having 501(c)(3) status will allow individuals and businesses to deduct any donations they make to your organization when they file their taxes. You will also need to submit a fee along with Form 1023. As of 2010, this was $400 if your organization's gross receipts total $10,000 or less per year over a four-year period; $850 if your non profit's gross receipts are over $10,000 per year over a four-year period.

Make your non-profit exempt from Louisiana income and franchise taxes by submitting a copy of your 501(c)(3) letter from the IRS to the following address: Louisiana Department of Revenue PO Box 201 Baton Rouge, LA 70821 There is no filing fee to obtain income and franchise tax exemption in Louisiana if you are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Become exempt from collecting sales tax if your organization will conduct fund raising activities such as garage and bake sales--your non profit will only be exempt from collecting Louisiana sales tax, not paying it. To do this, submit an “Application for Exemption from Collection of Louisiana Sales Taxes”, Form R-1048, to the following address: Louisiana Department of Revenue Taxpayer Services Division 617 North Third, PO Box 201 Baton Rouge, LA 70821 There is no filing fee for this. You can obtain Form R-1048 via the link in the “Resources” section below titled “Form R-1048”.

Register your non-profit organization with the Louisiana Attorney General by submitting a copy of your Articles of Incorporation, By-laws, IRS Form 990, a Unified Registration Statement and a filing fee to the following address: Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Section PO Box 94005 Baton Rouge, LA 70804 You can obtain the forms you need at the Louisiana Attorney General website--ag.state.la.us. Registering with the Attorney General is necessary, because without it, your non-profit cannot solicit any donations or funds unless you are a religious organization, voluntary health organization or educational institution--these non-profits are exempt from having to register.

About the Author

Melinda Gaines has been a freelance writer since 2006, with work appearing online for YellowPages and other websites. Her areas of expertise include business, beauty, fashion and sports. Gaines attended the University of Houston where she earned a Bachelor of Science in sport administration.

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