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The first step in forming a 501(c)(3) charity in Alabama is to file your Certificate of Formation. This article will lead you through the nine steps necessary to submit a Domestic Nonprofit Organization Certificate of Formation in Alabama in order to formally create a nonprofit corporation.


Starting Over

A Domestic Nonprofit Corporation Certificate of Formation is required to form a domestic nonprofit corporation in Alabama. This tutorial will walk you through each step of completing this paperwork and getting started on the path to founding an Alabama charity.

Step 1: List the name of your nonprofit. Step 2: Confirm any members and your mailing address. Step 3: Select a Registered Agent.
Step 4: Describe the Purpose of Your Nonprofit Step 5: Confirm Its Duration
Step 6: List the names and addresses of the incorporator(s) (es)
Step 7: Form Your First Board of Directors
Step 8: Include Any Extra Attachments
Step 9: Documents for Formation

Step 1: List the Name of Your Nonprofit

The first step in completing an Alabama Certificate of Formation is to write your organization’s name on line one and attach a copy of your name reservation. If you haven’t yet decided on a name for your charity, these are the prerequisites for naming a nonprofit in Alabama:

Your nonprofit’s name, including any reserved names, must be unique within your state.
The words “incorporated,” “corporation,” or an abbreviation of either must appear in the name of your organisation.
However, your nonprofit’s name cannot contain any phrases that may indicate it is associated with a government entity, nor can it include the words “university,” “bank,” or “trust” without the required permits.

Look for the Availability of Your Name
Following the selection of prospective names — preferably, at least four or five — it’s essential to check their availability in your state. You may do this by completing the four suggested searches listed below.

Alabama Corporation Lookup
A nonprofit company must have a distinct name in order to exist in Alabama. You may simply verify whether your desired name is available by utilising the Alabama Business Entity Search tool.

Domain Name Lookup
We highly advise you to additionally check to see whether your company name is accessible as a web domain (URL). Even if you don’t intend to construct a company website right away, you should purchase the domain name to prevent others from gaining it. It’s a completely free search.

Federal Trademark Lookup
Using the federal Trademark Electronic Search System, you may quickly see whether your preferred charity name has already been trademarked. Even if you do not intend to create your charity right immediately, this is essential.

You may register for a trademark for your organisation after you have confirmed that no one else has previously trademarked your selected name.

Search the Web and Social Media
A good social media presence can help you reach out to prospective funders as well as customers who will employ your services. As a result, before registering your preferred name, check the web and prominent social media platforms for it to confirm it is accessible on all platforms where you want to advertise your group.

Request a Name Reservation
Before submitting their Certificate of Formation, domestic nonprofit companies in Alabama must file a name reservation. To make a name reservation in Alabama, follow these steps:

Fill out an online name reservation form and pay the $27 (subscribers) or $28 (non-subscribers) filing cost. This may be done throughout the formation process.
Alternatively, you may send a Name Reservation Request Form together with the $25 filing fee. This must be sent at least two weeks before the formation date.
Please keep in mind that you must include a copy of the name reservation with the formation paperwork you submit with the State of Alabama.

Step 2: Confirm Any Members and Your Mailing Address If your organisation will have members, click the relevant box on line three of the Certificate of Formation.

On line four, provide the organization’s main office address as well as the postal address, if it differs from the main office address.

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Step 3: Select a Registered Agent.

In the state of Alabama, a registered agent is necessary to submit a Certificate of Formation. Lines 5 and 6 of your Certificate of Formation should be filled out with the name and address of your registered agent.

What Exactly Is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent acts as your nonprofit’s official contact by receiving official papers on its behalf, such as compliance notifications and tax filings. In the case of a lawsuit, your registered agent is also responsible for receiving service of process paperwork.

Alabama Registered Agent Requirements
In Alabama, a registered agent for a nonprofit company may be anybody having a physical address in the state. However, your company is unable to fill this position.

While verification of permission from your registered agent is not necessary with this file, you must provide their name and address.

Step 4: Describe the Purpose of Your Nonprofit

On line seven, explain why you established your nonprofit company. This is one of the most significant parts of this document since your federal tax exemption is dependent on your organization’s purpose being in accordance with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) criteria.

To be eligible for 501(c)(3) status, your organization’s purpose must include one or more of the following characteristics:

Public safety testing
promoting amateur sports competition on a national and worldwide scale
Preventing animal/child cruelty

Step 5: Confirm Its Duration

Most nonprofit organisations are not created with a certain time frame in mind. However, if your organisation has a defined termination date, you should submit an attachment outlining it with your formation documentation.

Step 6: List the names and addresses of the incorporator(s) (es)

The incorporator’s name(s) and address(es) must be included on the ninth line of this form (s). An incorporator is whomever submits the Certificate of Formation, which might be a member of the organisation, a lawyer, or another designated person. If your nonprofit company has more than one incorporator, name them on a separate, connected document.

Step 7: Form Your First Board of Directors

On your Certificate of Formation, the state of Alabama requires you to identify at least three board directors. If you want to list more than three, you must include that information on a separate page. Follow these guidelines while creating your nonprofit’s inaugural board of directors:

Prefixes such as “Mr.” or “Ms.” should be avoided.
Use lineage titles if relevant.
If appropriate, use titles such as “M.D.” or “Ph.D.”

Step 8: Include Any Extra Attachments

You must incorporate certain extra declarations in your Articles of Incorporation to qualify for 501(c)(3) status. These pertain to the board of directors of your organisation and the allocation of assets following dissolution.

Changing the Members of Your Board of Directors
By attaching an amendment to your nonprofit’s Certificate of Formation, you may change the regulations involved in altering its board of directors. Otherwise, your nonprofit’s bylaws will reflect the board of directors’ needs and will need to be amended in order to make changes to the board.

Additional Provisions
To qualify for 501(c)(3) status, you must include a language in your Certificate of Formation that describes how your charity will utilise its funds and what will happen to it if/when the organisation dissolves. A example of such a provision may be seen on the IRS website. In particular, in the case of dissolution, all earnings should be utilised for tax-exempt causes.

Step 9: Documents for Formation

You must submit your formation paperwork with the Secretary of State after you have completed them. The original and two copies of the Domestic Nonprofit Corporation Certificate of Formation, as well as the Certificate of Name Reservation, must be included.

Please keep in mind that the signatures on your Certificate of Formation constitute both legal permission to the filing of your formation document and the agreement and knowledge of the specified registered agent.

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