Whether you’re planning on incorporating your athletic booster club to benefit from tax exemptions or your looking for access for both private and public grants for your academic booster club, you will need to understand how to properly write your booster club Articles of Incorporation. In order to be legally recognized as a corporation, you will need to create your booster club articles of incorporation and file it with the Office of the Secretary of State in the state you wish to incorporate. In short, this set of formal documents is required by the IRS in recognizing the incorporation of your booster club and drafts the basic information needed to form a corporation, the governance of a corporation and the corporate statutes in the state where the articles of incorporation are filed.
It is necessary to keep in mind that Articles of Incorporation differs from the Articles of Association. Since you are registering your booster club as an incorporation, you want to make sure that you follow the guidelines on how to write the Articles of Incorporation.
Planning Your Booster Club’s Articles of Incorporation
So what goes into writing your booster club Articles of Incorporation? Well, every state has its own set of requirements . To ensure you are in compliance with your state, you should make sure to visit your Secretary of State’s website or look for your state’s requirements on Booostr. While every state has different filing requirements, these are some of the points that are typically included in Articles of Incorporation:
- Name of corporation
- Type of corporate structure
- Duration of the corporation
- Statement of purpose
- Principal place/address of the business
- Registered Agent
- Incorporator’s Names, Addresses and Authorized Signature(s)
The Details of Your Booster Club Articles of Incorporation
Both your State’s Secretary of State and the IRS will refer to your booster club Articles of Incorporation before allowing you to incorporate and potentially granting you tax exemptions. You will want to do your due diligence and be sure you have included all of the specific points your state requires before filing your booster club’s Articles of Incorporation.
1. Name Your Booster Club Corporation
Naming your booster club corporation may not be as simple as it may seem. First things first, you need to ensure that your club’s name doesn’t already exist. If the name you decide to give to your booster club is too similar to another business registered in your state, regardless of its business structure, then you risk having your filing rejected. The process to check your potential booster club names is fairly easy: visit your Secretary of State’s website and conduct a business search in order to find out if the name you plan on giving your booster club already exists. Note that typically when naming a corporation, you must include one of the following words to the name: Corporation, Incorporated, Inc. or Corp. – but this varies from state to state.
2. Determine the Corporate Structure of Your Booster Club
In order to get the full benefits of being a non-profit (which we whole-heartedly recommend) we suggest you form your organization as a corporation rather than an association. Yes, there is extra leg work and jumping through the hoops to register your booster club as a non-profit, it is much easier to obtain tax exempt status from the IRS as a corporation than an association. To move forward in the process is your booster club (corporation) applying for both federal and state tax-exempt status. Both the IRS and your Secretary of State website will have instructions on the exact steps and paperwork needed to apply. The long term advantages of gaining access to both public and private grants, property taxes exemptions and tax-deductible donations makes the extra effort needed to obtain tax exempt status well worth it.
3. Set Your Booster Club’s Duration of Corporation
The Duration of Corporation is where you provide the length of time, in years, that you plan to keep your corporation operating. In many states, you are not even required to mention a specific duration in your booster club articles of incorporation. States that ask for it often do not require you to provide a limited duration; instead, you may decide to have your booster club’s duration remain “perpetual.” Furthermore, in several states, the duration is set by default as “perpetual” if you do not mention it.
4. Write Your Booster Club’s Statement of Purpose
Like most legal and organizational documents, you must specify the purpose for which your booster club is being formed. Many states don’t require you to be specific with the phrasing of your Statement of Purpose, though the IRS will need you to include more specific language if your booster club is a non-profit and you want to qualify for 501(c)(3) tax exemption. To appease the IRS, and help qualify you as a non-profit organization, you should include something very close to the IRS example below, if not word for word the same in your booster club articles of incorporation:
“Said corporation is organized exclusively for charitable, religious, educational, and scientific purposes, including, for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code.”
5. Your Booster Club’s Principal Place/Address of Business
This point in your booster club articles of incorporation is very straight forward, you will need to provide your booster club’s principal office location even if you decide to incorporate your club in a different state. Also, some states will require you to provide a street address. Keep in mind that the address of the corporation and the address of the registered agent (explained below) are different and you are required to mention both (though in separate articles) when filing your booster club’s Articles of Incorporation
6. Set Up a Registered Agent for Your Booster Club
You are probably asking what is a Registered Agent? A registered agent is a person or company that’s sole purpose is to provide a legal address for service of process in case of a lawsuit and for receiving official documents such as tax notices. You will need to set one up within in the state you are incorporating. However, it could be as simple as assigning one of your booster club’s officers as your registered agent if you incorporate your club in the same state where you do business. By chance if you are incorporating in a different state, then you’ll need to hire an agent in the state you decide to incorporate your booster club in. To hire a Registered Agent service, just do a quick google search for Registered Agent + Your state Name and you will find a plethora of companies .
7. Names, Addresses and Signatures of Your Booster Club’s Incorporators
Depending on the state you are incorporating in, you may be required to provide a list of names and address of the club’s directors in your booster club articles of incorporation. If the directors are not named in the booster club articles of incorporation, then the incorporator(s) will manage the affairs of your booster club until directors are elected. In addition, at least one incorporator needs to sign the Articles of Incorporation and in the case of there being multiple incorporators, generally, they should all provide their authorized signatures.
The Cost of Filing Your Booster Club Articles of Incorporation
The fees for filing your booster club articles of incorporation vary from state to state and can be anywhere from less than $100 up to around $1000. Filing fees and any specific filing requirements can all be found on your Secretary of State’s website or you can search for your state’s requirements on Booostr. While the cost varies, and might be a hurdle in some cases, it is part of the process for creating a long lasting legal entity that allows you to raise funds for your favorite school program!
Creating your Articles of Incorporation is one out of several very important steps required to form a corporation. Electing a board of directors and adopting bylaws are some examples of additional steps you’ll have to complete in order to incorporate your booster club. Even though forming your booster club as a corporation is work, and a bit more work if you go the tax exempt route, in the long term setting this proper foundation for your organization will help ensure its long term health and success over the years!