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Group Leaders: How To Incorporate Your Group

Does your group need to incorporate?

The first thing you will need to do is decide if your group wants to incorporate. Hear are some questions you may need to ask;

Q:  Why should you incorporate your group?
A:  Incorporating your group makes your group a legal entity. This entity protects its members and leaders from legal action taken against it.

Q:  Do we have to pay a lawyer to incorporate the group?
A:  No, anyone may incorporate your group.

Q:  What will it cost?
A:  If someone in the group does the paper work, the filing cost is only $75. You may also have the cost of a notary.

Q:  Do we have to incorporate?
A:  No.  However, one of the best indications of the need to incorporate is the level of activity and interaction with persons outside the support group.

Q:  When should we incorporate?
A:  As the level of activity and interaction with persons outside the group, and more families become involved in the group, it is probably advisable to incorporate and obtain liability insurance. I have heard it said that when you do not know each person in the group, it is time to incorporate. If you incorporate, it will keep the taxes away from any one person's name.


What do we do to incorporate?

Now that you have gotten approval from the group to incorporate, what next? Follow the steps below;

  1. Fill in the SS4 form, this is to get an EIN (Employee ID Number). The EIN is the same as your corporation’s federal tax identification number. Fax or mail this form to the correct center.  If you fax the form, you can request them to return fax your EIN number. They will mail you an EIN form with the number on it for your records.
  2. Assemble the Articles of Incorporation. You may use the form 395b to file, but I would suggest that you type them so that you may incorporate your group’s by-laws into the Articles of Incorporation. Your group will be bound by law to follow the Articles of Incorporation.  Sample Articles of Incorporation is available, and can be e-mailed to you in Word format, if you request it.
  3. Have a meeting with the incorporator, all the officers, and a notary. Read through the document and then have everyone sign and have it notarized.
  4. Mail the document (with filing fee of $75) to:  
Corporations Division
P.O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA  70804-9125

You will receive your Articles of Incorporation and the Certificate of Incorporation within two weeks.

What Now?

Now that your group is incorporated, you will need to keep the incorporation records maintained each year.

  1. You will need to file the incorporation annual filing each year. This will be sent to you (the incorporator) each year.  This is the time to make changes to officers or anything else you need to change. There is a filing cost, and there are additional charges if you make a change later in the year.
  2. Your group will need to pay taxes on any money it has left from the year. The group will need to file form 1120 or 1120a with the IRS.  The tax rate is 15% for the first $50,000 and tops out at 35% when your group makes over $15,000,000.  You may want to consider filing for tax exemption status. (501)

Resource information for incorporating your group.

  1. The web site of the Secretary of State is www.sec.state.la.us.  You can print forms, get FAQs answered and look at the database of incorporations in the state.
  2. The site for the IRS is www.irs.gov.  You can view, download, and print any form the IRS offers.  There is also a page of FAQs.
  3. The Secretary of State's Corporations Division can be reached at (225) 925-4704. And the address is:
P.O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125.