How to Start a Nonprofit Organization in Virginia


Nonprofits are vital components of society. Nonprofit organizations seek to provide a better quality of life for individuals and other nonprofit organizations. Some nonprofits seek to educate individuals about important community, political, and environmental issues, while other nonprofits provide valuable services to those who are need of them. Understanding the rules of starting a nonprofit in Virginia will give your nonprofit the best chance of getting off the ground and becoming successful.

Things You'll Need

  • Virginia's Articles of Incorporation
  • IRS Form 1023
  • Nonprofit filing fees
  • Download and print the Articles of Incorporation form from the State Corporation Commission's website. The Article of Incorporation includes the corporate name, purpose, list of members and directors, and main aspects of the nonprofit. Fill out the form and mail it to the State Corporation Commission's office with the required current filing fee.

  • Apply for an Employer Identification Number on the Internal Revenue Service's website. This number is used to identify a business entity. No fee is required to obtain this number.

  • Download and print a copy of Form 1023 from the IRS website. This application gives nonprofits the opportunity to receive exempt status from federal income taxes on corporate profits under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Fill out the form and submit it to the IRS with the required current filing fee.

  • Apply online at Virginia's Department of Taxation website to obtain sales and use tax exemption if your organization is eligible. Learn about eligibility on Virginia's Department of Taxation website. No filing fee required to obtain the exemption.

  • Register your charitable organization with the state of Virginia by submitting Form 102 to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Registration is required for all organizations that plan to receive funds from the state of Virginia. Submit the current required filing fee with the completed form.

Tips & Warnings

  • Nonprofit organizations must also draft bylaws to receive tax-exempt status from the federal government and the state of Virginia. Sample Article of Incorporation and bylaws are available online to guide individuals through the process of becoming a nonprofit organization.
  • Check with the State Corporate Commission's office to find out the amount of the current filing fee for the Articles of Incorporation, and with the IRS to find out the amount of the current filing fee for Form 1023.
  • Check with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the current filing fee to submit Form 102.
  • A delay of nonprofit status is possible if vital information is missing from the Articles of Incorporation, Form 1023 or state tax-exempt forms.

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