Nonprofit and Tax-Exempt 501(c)(3) Formation - San Diego Attorneys

Nonprofit and Tax-Exempt 501(c)(3) Formation

San Diego 501c3 and Nonprofit Organization Attorneys

Are you a person or group of people who are dedicated to a cause and helping others here in California or around the world?  Are you interested in learning more about forming a nonprofit organization or a 501(c)(3) business entity in San Diego or Southern California?

If you are taking steps to organize a group for a charitable or nonprofit purpose, what do you need to know in order to be able to legally fundraise and operate as an entity?  Are all charitable and nonprofit organizations tax exempt?  If you are going to invest your time and energy for the benefit of others it is important to fully understand how to protect yourself from a legal perspective while meeting the requirements of California and Federal law.

Tax-Exempt or Nonprofit

There are a lot of misconceptions about the concepts of nonprofit organizations and a tax-exempt status under federal and California law.  The simple fact that an organization is a nonprofit does not mean they are free from the obligation of filling and paying state and federal taxes.

The term “nonprofit’ refers to the status of your organization or entity under California law.  The term “tax-exempt” specifically applies to tax exemption under US and California tax laws.  Generally speaking, a nonprofit organization in California is established to support a cause, community, national or international interest or “public benefit,” “mutual benefit” or “religious” purpose.

California has strict laws regarding the operational aspects of your nonprofit activities including how you may or may not conduct fundraising activities and whether you may use the term “Foundation” or “Charity” in the name or informational communications of your entity.

The simple formation of a nonprofit organization or corporation does not relieve your group from the responsibility of filing tax forms and paying associated federal and state taxes.  Many well meaning individuals believe the formation of a 501(c)(3) entity commonly called a 501c3 or a 501c establishes their tax-exempt status.  In order to truly obtain tax-exempt status your organization must meet specific requirements and apply for tax-exempt status with the IRS and the State of California.

The experienced business and nonprofit entity formation attorneys at the Watkins Firm can help you to understand your obligations under federal and state laws and how to ensure the investment of your time, energy and money accomplish the goals you have in mind.

Forming a 501(c)(3) or a California Nonprofit Corporation

What is a California 501(c)(3) corporation and is this the right entity for your public, community or religious efforts?  We invite you to contact the Watkins Firm to learn more about starting a California 501(c)(3) or other nonprofit corporation.  Our experienced attorneys will guide you through each step of formation and ultimately operations and fundraising.  We help you to select the appropriate 501(c)(3) or a California Nonprofit Corporation entity and prepare all of the legal documents required to do so.  This includes but is not limited to:

  • Articles of Incorporation
  • Advice regarding Bylaws and important clauses and concepts required to properly structure your entity
  • Preparation of federal and state tax exemption applications
  • Preparation of property exemptions for personal property and real estate

Your Watkins Firm attorney(s) will provide ongoing counsel regarding fundraising issues, operational and employment matters, contracts and leases and help you to avoid legal disputes and the potential for litigation.  If a dispute arises the Watkins Firm employs a unique strategy designed to resolve legal disputes in a timely and cost-effective manner.

We invite you to review the recommendations of our clients and contact the Watkins Firm or call (858) 535-1511 for a free initial consultation.  Learn about the aspects of forming a nonprofit entity and achieving a tax-exempt status.

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To set up a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our knowledgeable San Diego business lawyers, call us at 858-535-1511 or contact us online.


9915 Mira Mesa Blvd., Suite 130
San Diego, CA 92131

Telephone: (858) 535-1511
Fax: (858) 535-1581