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How to start a nonprofit organization in Puerto Rico


Starting a non-profit organization in Puerto Rico can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Non-profits can provide much-needed services and support to a community, and can make a positive impact on society. If you are thinking about starting a non-profit in Puerto Rico, here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

  1. Determine the purpose of your non-profit. What issues or causes do you want to address? What services do you want to provide? It is important to have a clear mission and purpose for your non-profit in order to attract funding and volunteers.

  2. Choose a name for your non-profit. The name should reflect the mission and purpose of your organization. It is important to check that the name is not already in use by another organization.

  3. Choose a board of directors. A board of directors is responsible for making important decisions for the organization, such as setting policies and approving budgets. The board should consist of individuals who are committed to the mission of the organization and who have the skills and expertise to help the organization succeed.

  4. Incorporate your non-profit. In order to become a legal entity, you must incorporate your non-profit. In Puerto Rico, non-profits are incorporated as "corporations without capital stock." You can find more information on how to incorporate a non-profit in Puerto Rico at the Department of State website: https://www.estado.gobierno.pr/gobierno/department-of-state/

  5. Obtain tax-exempt status. In order to be eligible for certain tax benefits, you will need to apply for tax-exempt status. In Puerto Rico, you can apply for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You can find more information on how to apply for tax-exempt status at the IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/application-for-recognition-of-exemption

  6. Register with Hacienda and Suri. Hacienda is the Department of Treasury in Puerto Rico, and Suri is the Department of Consumer Affairs. Both agencies regulate non-profits in Puerto Rico, and you will need to register with them in order to operate legally. You can find more information on how to register your non-profit with Hacienda and Suri on their respective websites:


7. Obtain 501c3 status. 501c3 status is a classification given by the IRS to tax-exempt charitable organizations. It is an important designation for non-profits, as it allows them to receive tax-deductible donations and grants. In order to obtain 501c3 status, you will need to file an application with the IRS. You can find more information on how to apply for 501c3 status at the IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/application-for-recognition-of-exemption


8. Create a budget and develop a fundraising plan. Your non-profit will need financial resources in order to operate and achieve its goals. Develop a budget that outlines your expenses and income, and create a plan for fundraising. This could include grants, donations, and events.


Starting a non-profit in Puerto Rico can be a complex process, but with careful planning and dedication, you can make a positive impact in your community.


Some additional tips for starting a non-profit in Puerto Rico:

  • Seek out resources and advice from other non-profits or non-profit organizations in Puerto Rico. They can provide valuable insights and guidance.

  • Consider hiring a lawyer or accountant to help with the incorporation process and to ensure that you are in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.

  • Have a clear and concise business plan that outlines your goals, target audience, and funding sources. This will help you stay focused and on track as you work to establish your non-profit.

  • Be persistent and don't get discouraged. Starting a non-profit can be a challenging process, but the reward of making a positive difference in your community is worth the effort.

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