Non-profit organizations are formed by filing bylaws and/or Articles of Incorporation in the state in which they expect to operate.  The act of incorporating creates a legal entity enabling the organization to be treated as a corporation by law and to enter into business dealings, form contracts, and own property as any other individual or for-profit corporation may do.

Nonprofits can have members, but many do not.  The nonprofit may also be a trust or association of members.  The organization may be controlled by its members who elect a Board of Directors, Board of Governors, or Board of Trustees.  Non-profits may have a delegate structure to allow for the representation of groups or corporations as members.  Alternatively, it may be a non-membership organization and the board of directors may elect its own successors.

The two major types of nonprofit organization are membership and board-only.  A membership organization elects the board and has regular meetings and power to amend bylaws.  A board-only organization typically has a self-selected board, and a membership whose powers are limited to those delegated to it by the board.

A Non Profit needs to file with both the state it resides in and with the IRS in order to receive the appropriate tax-exempt status before beginning operations.  Even though a Non Profit does not pay state and federal income taxes, they are still responsible for all payroll related taxes.

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