A nonprofit organization is an organization that does not distribute its surplus funds to owners or shareholders, but instead uses them to help pursue its public purpose mission. In the United States, nonprofit organizations are formed by incorporating in the state in which they expect to do business. The act of incorporating creates a legal entity enabling the organization to be treated as a corporation under law and to enter into business dealings, form contracts, and own property as any other individual or for-profit corporation may do.
In the United States, after a recognized type of legal entity has been formed at the state level, it is customary for the nonprofit organization to seek tax exempt status with respect to its income tax obligations. That is typically done by applying to the Internal Revenue Service “(IRS”), although statutory exemptions exist for limited types of nonprofit organizations. The IRS, after reviewing the application to ensure the organization meets the conditions to be recognized as a tax exempt organization (such as the purpose, limitations on spending, and internal safeguards for a charity), may issue an authorization letter to the nonprofit granting it tax exempt status for income tax payment, filing, and deductibility purposes. The exemption does not apply to other Federal taxes such as employment taxes. Additionally, a tax-exempt organization must pay federal tax on income that is unrelated to their exempt purpose. Failure to maintain operations in conformity to the laws may result in an organization losing its tax exempt status.
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