What is a nonprofit?

A nonprofit organization or entity is a type of organization that doesn't earn profits for the owners.

It's tax-exempted due to its societal role. Often, a nonprofit organization can be for religious, scientific, and educational purposes amongst others. This makes schools, churches, mosques, charities, universities fall under nonprofit organizations if any register as such.

The function of any of these must be channeled towards providing goods and services for public benefit. And unlike other types of organizations, a nonprofit is obligated to reveal financial information and operating details to the public for donors to access how their donations were spent.

Contributions or donations to nonprofits are taxed as the donor makes the donation. However, the received donations are tax-free. The IRS approves the request for a 501(c)(3) status to exempt a nonprofit from paying tax. Once approved, a nonprofit organization must comply with the regulations that guide the running of a nonprofit.

Need help with your nonprofit's taxes?

Finding the right accountant has never been easier. In just 5 minutes, we'll get to know you, your business, and the kind of help you're looking for.

Nonprofit Employee Management

Many wonder how employees are catered to under a nonprofit arrangement. Well, for small-scale types, volunteer services may be sufficient. For medium or big-sized non-profit the service of paid employees is sometimes unavoidable. The payment will be for the staff, directors, and managers.

Apart from wages or salaries, nonprofits can also provide assets for employees. Either salary or assets compensation for service. A nonprofit must provide regular workplace necessities as would a profitable organization. Workplace rules and provisions as stipulated by the state for profit-oriented organizations apply to non-profit organizations despite tax benefits. Such rules are universal and created to ensure employees get an excellent and conducive working environment. Hence all types of organizations -- profit or non-profit are obligated to strictly adhere.

A non-profit organization can exist in many sectors and industries except a few like politics. A non-profit organization can't be political. Organizations applying a 501(c)(3) must strictly stay away from any political campaigns-- not financing a political campaign or other related expenses.

Nonprofit vs Not-for-Profit

Nonprofit and not-for-Profit are often regarded as identical terms. But there's a slight difference between the two. Nonprofits, as stated earlier, most offer certain public services or goods. For not-for-profit, the goal is different. Such organizations serve membership purposes and use donations to run the club or group and not the public. The classification by the IRS creates another distinction between nonprofit and not-for-profit organizations.

Section 501(C) classifies each under different subsections for further clarification. Nonprofit functions under 501(c)(3) and organizations such as charity, religious, educational, and scientific foundations fall into this category. The tax procedure for nonprofits exempt organizations from tax charges, but individuals who donate are taxed. Not-for-profit operates under 501(c)(7). Organizations here are majorly recreational -- made up of clubs co-owned by members. Donors are not taxed as it is for nonprofits.

Contents

Find an Accountant