What is a nonprofit organization?
What is a not-for-profit organization?
Nonprofit vs not-for-profit organizations
What is a for-profit organization?
A for-profit organization is one that operates with the goal of making money. Most businesses are for-profits that serve their customers by selling a product or service. The business owner earns an income from the for-profit and may also pay shareholders and investors from the profits.
Whether you decided to start a for-profit, not-for-profit or nonprofit, the first steps to creating your entity are the same. Start by filing for a business entity in the state in which you wish to run your operations. Your business entity might be a corporation, LLC, sole proprietorship or partnership. All of these entities can operate as for-profit, nonprofit or not-for-profit organizations.Once the entity has been formed, you will apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS. It’s during this step that you will select your tax-exempt status using Form 1024 if you wish to run as a nonprofit.
Some businesses start as one type of legal entity and later decide to convert to another.
Can you change your legal entity?
From nonprofit to for-profit
There are a few reasons why you may wish to change from a nonprofit to a for-profit. Maybe you believe you can get better access loans or other funding by becoming a for-profit. Or maybe you prefer to operate without the regulations that govern nonprofits.Regardless, once you’ve carefully considered this option and all shareholders are in agreement, you will need to notify the IRS by writing a “statement of nonprofit conversation.”
This statement will include:
Which legal entity is the best?
Ultimately, the legal entity that’s right for your business depends on your goals. As one entrepreneur, Jane Chen, outlined in Harvard Business Review, there are pros and cons to each entity.
“A for-profit can raise money from private investors, for which it must give equity or dividends to shareholders; ultimately, a return on investment is expected,” she wrote. “A nonprofit, on the other hand, can seek donations from individuals, foundations and corporations. Such stakeholders generally expect a ‘social return’ on capital.”There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to establishing a legal entity for your business. And, the good news is you can always change your entity as your business grows. Speak to an expert who can help you choose an entity that optimizes your tax deductions while serving your overarching goal.