501c3 & Non Profit FAQs
These 501c3 and Non Profit FAQs will help answer a few of your questions. Feel free to give me a call with any other questions you may have.
What do I need to know when I choose my business name?
- Your business name must be distinguishable from any other business name in Illinois to be accepted by the State. In order to be distinguishable it must look different. Plurals, numerals and spelled out numbers, dashes, capitalizations and spaces will not be considered unique. Ultimately it is up to the Secretary of State to determine whether it is unique enough. AMC Legal does an extensive search but sometimes the Secretary of State makes its own determinations.
- Non Profits can end in any of the Corporation suffixes listed above or NFP for Not For Profit or may leave the suffix off altogether.
Is my name protected?
- After incorporation, no other corporation, LLC or non profit can use your business name in Illinois. Partnerships and sole proprietorships are not state registered; therefore there may be a sole proprietor or partnership that has been using your business name. There is no central database for SPs and partnerships and they are not required to register with the state.
- Your name is only guaranteed in Illinois. It is not a national name registration. If you want to protect your name in Illinois only you can do an Illinois trademark. If you want it protected nationally you will need to do a Federal Trademark.
Why do you ask for a corporate purpose?
- I use the information you provide so that I can advise you on the type of business you are doing, to see if you will need any special license or if you need to do a professional corporation. Your articles will list “any lawful purpose” for your corporate purpose so you may do any type of business you like.
What is a Registered Agent?
- Every Corporation, LLC or Non Profit must have a registered agent. A registered agent must be at least 18 years old and have a physical location in Illinois. The RA is the one who receives important mailings from the Secretary of State and is the one who must accept service of process for important documents such as legal notices. The RA also appears on the Secretary of State website.
I am planning on having employees, what information must I have posted in the workplace?
- Follow this link to see what is required.
Can you help me with a business plan?
How long will it take to receive my book?
- If you do the regular service, it will depend on the Secretary of State’s schedule. If they are busy it could be 3-6 weeks, if they are slow it could be 2-5 weeks.
- If you expedite you will be filed the next business day and your book is shipped out within 2-3 business days. You should factor in shipping time.
- You can get a copy of your articles and EIN emailed to you or faxed to you before it is shipped.
What if I do business out of state?
- You may need to qualify to do business in the other state. It depends on your activities. Please call to discuss whether you will need to qualify your business in another state.
Do you obtain my business license?
- No. AMC Legal does not obtain your business license. You must contact the town that you are doing business in to obtain your license. Check out our resources page for link to many town’s websites.
Do I need a business license if I work out of my home?
- Maybe. This will depend on what your town requires for a business license. Contact your town hall or village to find out. Check out our resources page for link to many town’s websites.
Do I need a special business license?
- Some types of businesses need special business licenses from the state. For example, day-care services which are licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services. Trucking companies must register with the Illinois Commerce Commission. Those in the plumbing business register with the Department of Public Health.
- For a list of some other businesses needing special licenses please see professional regulations
What taxes will I have to pay for my business?
- Although I can offer you general answers regarding which entity may be best for tax purposes, I am not a tax attorney and cannot answer your detailed tax questions. I highly recommend that you consult with an experienced CPA to answer those questions. You can also see information provided by the IRS under our resourcespage for information provided by the state regarding state taxes.
Why do I have to sign the documents and do a Power of Attorney?
- I ask that you sign the documents because in the instance of any documents for the IRS it is required. Also, it is a good measure to have the client review the information before it is submitted to ensure accuracy. You must still sign the Power of Attorney so that I can prepare and submit the filings on your behalf.
Why do I have to send a copy of my driver’s license?
- This is just another way to ensure that you are who you say you are. Since most clients order over the internet or over the phone it is a good practice to protect both me and the client from identity fraud.
Why do you need my Social Security Number?
- You must provide your Social Security Number (SSN) for many documents such as the EIN application, the S Corporation application and several others. Even if you are not ordering these services it is required since the firm must have a way of verifying that you are who you say you are. No credit checks will be run and it is kept completely confidential. This is a law firm and you are protected by lawyer/client confidentiality.
What will show up on The Secretary Of State website?
- The SOS website lists the Registered Agent for the first year you are in business.
- For the LLC only the principal office address will appear after the first annual report.
Can I use my home address for my business address?
- You may use your home address. It will be listed on your articles of incorporation but it will not show up on the SOS website for the first year. You can change the business address on your annual report. If AMC Legal is your Registered Agent please update all contact information, including business address, at all times.
Which entity should I choose?
- We created a special page for this topic. Click here to view.
What IS 501c3?
- A 501c3 non profit organization will be tax exempt and is able to have their donors make deductible donations. A 501c3 can also apply for state and federal grants. This is for charitable, religious or educational non profits.
What do I need to do to get a 501c3?
- First you must incorporate your non profit organization in the state. There are many additional services you will need. Once incorporated, AMC Legal can help you apply for this tax exempt status.
- Applying for a 501c3 status is an extensive process. First I will send you a questioneer for you to fill out and you will need to provide supporting documentation. Of course, I will be there for you to answer any questions. Once you finish the paperwork, I will prepare the application, making sure all the t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted. I will provide you with a copy of the the application and submit it with your approval.
- If the IRS has any follow up questions or requires further information they will contact me as your representative.
How long does it take?
- The 501c3 application is a lengthy process. Once your application is filed the IRS will send an acknowledgement letter in 2-3 weeks. The entire approval process can take anywhere from 6 months to 18 months. 12 months is typical.