If you are planning on forming a non-profit organization in the State of Ohio, there are certain steps that must be followed. After you have completed and had your federal non-profit application approved by the internal revenue service, you must then complete your registration at the state level.
The Ohio Secretary of State is the place to start. The Secretary of State is responsible for the authorization of all businesses in Ohio. The Office can help you start your non-profit organization. However, starting any type of business requires a great deal of planning and legal advice.
It is not necessary to incorporate your non-profit organization yet, if you choose to be unincorporated then you must still file organizational documents called constitutions in order to form an organization. You are also required to create bylaws which deal with the rules and regulations of the organization and all other business matters. If you choose to incorporate your organization the following three requirements must be met.
1. CHOOSE A NAME-Before you are permitted to incorporate your business you must choose a name for it. The name must be unique. No other business entity can have the same name. You can check on the Secretary of State website for name availability. If you have chosen an available name but are not quite ready to incorporate then you may place a temporary hold on it to prevent someone else from using the name you have chosen.
2. ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION– After choosing a name for your non-profit corporation you can file your Articles of Incorporation. The Articles must contain: the name of the corporation, the place in Ohio where the primary office it is located, the purpose the non-profit was formed and the Articles must be signed by the incorporator, or person who created the corporation. The Articles may also contain the persons who make up the Board of Directors, in Ohio you are required to have a minimum of three members on the board, the members of the group, qualification and classification of members, and any other rules pertaining to the organization.
3. STATUTORY AGENT– A Corporation is considered to be a fictitious person therefore, a statutory agent must be appointed to receive notices and other documents on behalf of the corporation. The Statutory Agent Acceptance must be filed at the same time as the Articles of Incorporation. The Agent who is appointed must sign the documents accepting the appointment. Failure to do so can be cause for your application to be rejected.
Prior to filing The Articles of Incorporation, Ohio law requires that bylaws be prepared. The bylaws will list all of the rules and regulations for running your corporation including how officers and directors will be elected and taking care of other business regulations as required by Ohio law. An attorney who specializes in work with non-profits can help you prepare your bylaws so that they comply with all Ohio laws.
There are numerous forms and documents that must be filled out and filed. It is very helpful to enlist the aid of a qualified business attorney who can assist you by ensuring that the forms are filled out and filed properly and that your non-profit organization is up and running as quickly as possible. There are legal professionals here to help you in all aspects of establishing your non-profit corporation.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained herein is not intended to be specific legal advice for your particular situation. It is meant to provide general information on the changing landscape of the law. You are encouraged to contact legal counsel for advice specific to your particular legal situation.