How Much Does It Cost To Start A 501c3?

Last Updated on December 11, 2021 by

Do you know what I like about nonprofits or even any company? Normal people like me and you can begin one. With an idea that begins as a dream, you can develop something that can change the course of many people’s lives. 

While it’s much easier nowadays than ever before to establish a non-profit business but it’s a tangled procedure that leaves many with unanswered questions. the best method to start? What should I first do and, perhaps most importantly what will it cost me?

While I go over the start-up procedure in depth in this blog as well as this video I wanted to discuss the second, real aspect of starting a non-profit and the financial costs.

how much does it cost to start a 501c3

What is the question? ….how much will it cost to begin an organization?

It’s “it’s complicated.” Generally, it’s a requirement to invest a minimum of $500 as a minimum, though costs can go as high as $1,000 or more. If this intrigues you read on to discover how the choices you make and the condition that you’re in, determine the amount you invest.

Important: in this article, I’m talking about non-profits that seek 501c3 tax-exempt status. There are many different types of nonprofits are nonprofit organizations.

I’ll break down your initial costs into four distinct categories. Certain costs are not negotiable, whereas others I suggest you think about. The four categories comprise:

  • Incorporation Costs
  • Filing for Tax Exempt Status
  • Charitable Solicitation Fees
  • Other Costs


Once you’ve come up with your concept for your nonprofit, hired an advisory board, and created your goals as well as goal statements, you’ll be able to register your nonprofit as a company in the state you’ll be operating in.

In certain states, your business could be classified as a nonprofit nonstock corporation or something similar. If you want to be an organization that is nonprofit and enjoy an easy and fast procedure to apply for federal tax-exempt status I would not suggest that you establish your business as an LLC.

Forms and the filing fee are different in every state. Contact the Secretary of State’s office to find out the procedure for filing your incorporation paperwork. Go here to view a list of the forms and fees required for every state.

how much does it cost to start a 501c3 nonprofit organization

The costs vary between zero in one state, and the maximum of $250 in another state. You may also be required to pay a fee to secure names for your business. The price could increase in case you want to expedite the process and have the filings completed in a hurry.

It’s impossible to find out until you have done the research yourself, study the state’s guidelines, or contact the office of the Secretary of State for more. Know your state’s nonprofit laws and get the information you require to get started. 

The majority of states permit the filing of your documents online Some states also provide templates that you can utilize to fill out. Make sure you include the proper terminology in the incorporation documents to ensure you do not run into problems when filing in order to be tax-exempt. I discuss the terminology in this article here.

The state you are in might also requires a business license, based on your particular business. For instance, if you provide services to barber customers you’ll need authority in order to trim hair. If you plan to offer counseling services- you’ll require credentials to perform this. 

Make sure you conduct a thorough analysis of your job actions and make sure you check in with the Secretary of State in order to confirm that you’ve submitted ALL necessary documents.

The state’s non-profit association is also an excellent resource for finding out the requirements specific to your state.

cost: $0 to $300 (depends on the specific state).


The process of submitting tax-exempt applications to the federal government and then establishing your nonprofit as a non-profit are two distinct procedures. There are a few nonprofits that are eligible for tax-exempt status or they delay it for reasons of their own. Nonprofits that offer educational or research-based service, as well as charitable services generally apply for the status of 501c3. Hospitals, associations, clubs, and so on. could all be non-profits, however, they could have an exemption from taxation other than 501(c)(3).

In order to apply for 501c3 tax-exempt status, You have the option to submit either of the two types, the 1023EZ or the 1023 forms.

Form 1023EZ (released at the end of 2014) was designed to streamline the procedure for smaller or new non-profits. Nonprofits that believe that they’ll earn no greater than $50,000 of gross revenue each year during the first three years can be qualified. If you also have not more than $200,000 in assets but were not found in a foreign nation and meet other criteria are met, you may be qualified for Form 1023EZ.

Look over the IRS”Eligibility Form” for information on whether you’re eligible. The cost for the 1023EZ form is $275. It is possible to fill out the form on the internet at

Form 1023 will be an OG form. This is my intention in every sense. It’s no fun to complete! It requires you to disclose various things like your purpose (to examine whether or not you are actually qualified as a non-profit) as well as your expenditure and projected budget, a complete schedule of programs, Board of Directors, your conflict of interest policy, and much more. The cost for the long-form is 600 dollars. It is possible to fill out the form on the internet at

In addition to paying the filing costs in addition, you could seek the assistance of a tax lawyer or professional to complete your forms or look over your tax forms. It will certainly increase your expenses.

If you’re in need of assistance organizing your papers in a binder for corporate use but you’re not a professional (like myself) and don’t have the time to create it by yourself, you can check out my mini-kit, which includes an agenda sheet, a cover sheet agenda, and meeting templates to help your company.

I’ll be stopping here and taking an instant to answer one question that I get asked often: What happens do you do if you make more than $50,000 following the time filing the 1023EZ?

Even with all the most positive intentions, you could be successful and earn more than you expected. There is no need to go back and submit any form. 

The IRS will be aware that you earned greater than $50,000 each time you file the annual tax form 990 and you might be in their sights. As of today, there’s no particular penalty for earning more than $50,000 within the first three years, when you apply using an EZ form. If you do intend to earn over $50,000 ensure you’ve done the right thing by filling out the lengthy form.

Be aware that you are filling this form with trust and you are not anticipating earning more than $50,000. It happens. Make sure to keep accurate notes of board meetings as well as your financials.

Let me finish with another frequently asked question: Can I solicit donations to raise the money I’ll need to create an organization?

It’s “yes but…” …..” you can still raise funds, but you need to inform donors that you’re still waiting to be granted tax-exempt status. If they make a donation while you’re waiting to receive a confirmation on the status of your tax-exempt status, they’ll be eligible for the deduction when you receive your tax-exempt status. Also, you must ensure that you have the approval to solicit donations within your state, something will be discussed in the next section.

Cost $275 or $600 for filing fees, plus any additional costs if you require professional help to file


The majority of new nonprofits are stunned to learn that they need to get approval to fundraise in a variety of states. At least in 40 states, you must register as a nonprofit prior to being able to actively engage in fundraising in that state. The fundraising could be done via mail, in person, or on the internet.

Why is this so important? Because states wish to safeguard their citizens from fraudsters who solicit money or fraudsters who aren’t acting in good faith.

Some states require that you be registered as a charity before you can solicit their residents. In addition, certain states might view the “Donate” button on your page as an active solicitation, since their residents are able to access your page at any time. are able to access your site at any time.

“Most new nonprofits are surprised to hear that they have to be approved to fundraise in many states.”

If you’re hearing this information for the first time and you’ve read through the prior paragraphs to ensure you’ve read it right I’ll help you save the moment. Yes, you did it right! You have to apply in several states if you wish to raise funds. Before you make the choice to solicit donations anywhere in the world, review the state solicitation laws to make sure you’re ready.

Because of the administrative burden and the expense obstacles for new businesses It is necessary to decide at what point you’d like to think about registering in different states. As a minimum, you must make sure to register in the state where you are physically located and also where you have a large number of donors. Keep in mind that you might not be required to sign up if you don’t have a substantial amount to raise.

Fees for solicitation of donations to charities are generally paid each year. To keep track of all your requirements utilizes my checklist for nonprofit compliance along with a calendar.

Price: This varies on the states that you raise funds in!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top