A public charity is another term for the coveted Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)3 status. This designation allows all donations made to the charity to be tax deductible for taxpayers. To obtain this designation, the organization must have the proper provisions within the organizing documents.
501(c)3 organization is a type of charitable organization that is allowed to receive tax deductible gifts. The best examples are the large national charities such as the American Red Cross, American Heart Association or the Salvation Army. Every organization must have a determination letter from the IRS authorizing the status as a 501(c)3 charitable organization.
Section 6033 of the Internal Revenue Code requires tax exempt organizations to file an annual report. Form 990 fulfills this requirement. Many citizens utilize the information from Form 990 to evaluate the non-profit organization they donate to annually. The 990 covers much of the information any citizen desires to know about the charity of their choice.
Step three of starting a non-profit organization is gathering the potential board members for the first meeting. In step one; you formed a brain trust to validate the mission of the non-profit organization. In step two; you generated a list of potential board members by identifying sources and creating profiles. In this step, you have to get everyone together, present the mission to the group, get commitments to help, and set a date to legally form the non-profit organization.
I have had many clients come to me to ask how they could start a non-profit organization. The main purpose of starting a nonprofit is to gain the contribution advantage the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides. Why do you need the IRS to authorize this? What is the difference between tax exempt and a charitable organization? How does the church fit into all of this?