Incorporation and 501 (c) (3) Charitable Registration



Many of our clubs have had questions concerning incorporation and charitable organization registration.  Please investigate this classification for your club if you have not already done so.  There are many benefits that may be derived from incorporating under the state and federal charitable organization criteria, of which the tax exempt designation is a very important one for your garden club. You may not and should not be using the GCNJ’s Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) to exempt your club from state and federal taxes.  If you are already registered as a nonprofit, please check current reporting requirements at both the state and federal government websites.  There have been changes over the past few years.

The first step recommended to clubs that are still unincorporated and unregistered is to visit the New Jersey state government website at and search in the upper right hand corner the words “charitable registration” and, separately, “nonprofit” (no hyphen).  This will lead you to an informative booklet type presentation, “Starting a Non profit Organization in New Jersey – Questions and Answers” which introduces the steps involved for your club along with links for further information.

The IRS also has a number of informative publications available on line pertaining to charitable organizations, filing status, and required annual reporting documents. That web site may be reached at click on Charities and Non-profits in the header then click on Charitable Orgs.  You will be presented with a choice of online informational documents concerning 501 (c) (3) organizations and federal requirements for registering and reporting.  Keep in mind that it is the federal tax exempt designation of your organization that the state of New Jersey recognizes.

After perusing these web sites and the many resources they provide, your first contact should be a knowledgeable attorney familiar with nonprofit organizations. He or she will be able to explain the steps necessary to incorporate and file for your garden club, explain the advantages, if any, to your organization and give you an estimate of costs involved.  Although it may be possible to incorporate and register without an attorney, it is strongly suggested that you save yourself time and trouble by hiring an expert.

Specific questions concerning incorporation and charitable organization registration should be addressed with your attorney or a state tax or federal IRS representative. Federal and state addresses and phone numbers are available from the respective web sites.

If you have any questions, please contact me and I will attempt to steer you to information that might be helpful to you and your local organization.