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Hi.
I was just curious if anyone here has started a non-profit organization, and if you'd be willing to share your experience.
Thanks.

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I helped start a non-profit group for professional education -- see http://www.aacis.org/

Filing the forms for Iowa incorporation as a nonprofit was very easy. Getting the 501(c)3 approval from the IRS was frustrating -- there was some back-and-forth as our articles of incorporation didn't have just precisely the wording that the IRS wanted to see. I believe that it had to do with specifying that if the organization disbanded, all assets would be given to another non-profit organization. It was sort of like "Mother May I" by mail -- but eventually we did get the approval. You might want to have your articles of incorporation and your IRS application reviewed by a CPA with some experience with nonprofits to forestall any problems.

Basically it's a two-step process. Incorporate in your state as a nonprofit, and then get 501(c)3 approval from the IRS.
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Very much as the previous person stated, and in that order. Having the disposal plans in compliance in case of dissolution is indeed very important.

Many CPAs have never dealt with non-profits. Indeed, many Enrolled Agents or competent accountants (non-CPA) are very knowledgable about these entities.

One thing to remember is that all exempt organizations do not have to be public charities. There are many options, and another one might be a better fit for the purpose in mind, and require less burdensome reporting.
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RiverCityFool:
thanks for your response. You make the process sound pretty straightforward.
A very interesting organization as well.
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mokus, i wasn't even aware of EA's.
Naively, I've always assumed that CPA's are familiar with most anything to do with accounting.
Thanks for the info.
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