How soon can I begin accepting donations?
If you are 100% sure of getting your 501c3 status (we have a 100% success rate after more than [appsxp] applications over [yearsxp] years), you can open a bank account, accept donations, and begin operating as soon as your Articles of Incorporation are filed in your state. Why? Because once you have your 501c3 status, the IRS will make that status retroactive to the date of the filing of the Articles of Incorporation in your state. However, if you fail to achieve 501c3 status for any reason, there will be no such retroactivity, and those donations you accepted will be disallowed by the IRS.
Important: Forty states have charitable solicitation registration, and you may be required to file with your state before soliciting donations. The following states are free of such registration: Arizona (unless a veteran’s organization), Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Wyoming.