Many people in Godfrey and throughout the greater Saint Louis area may be interested in forming a charity for some noble cause.

As people probably guess, forming a charity or nonprofit is not just a matter of having a good cause and funds available for spending.

There are some important legal steps most nonprofit endeavors will want to take in order make sure their organization gets launched on the right path.

Like just about any other business organization, a not for profit must first file articles of incorporation with the Illinois Secretary of State and meet other requirements so that Illinois will recognize the business.

Far from just being a matter of checking the boxes, making this filing requires some careful thought since the documents filed will legally control how the organization is organized and run.

Moreover, the articles must be drafted correctly in order for the organization to get the coveted exemptions and other favorable tax incentives from the federal, state and local governments. Illinois organizations also register with the state’s attorney general.

Obtaining exemptions for the organization, and for donors who make gifts to the organization, is its own process which requires both financial knowledge and legal skill.

For example, to get tax exempt status, the organization must submit a detailed budget to the government what shows estimated operating costs and income. The budget must also identify its planned sources of income.

Forming a not-for-profit successfully can be the key to turning a noble idea into an attainable and fulfilling goal. On the other hand, going at the process blind can spell inconvenience or even serious and costly legal problems.