If your Parish Voice will be involved in fundraising, or you anticipate being a Parish Voice for a long time, or if you will be seeking tax-exempt status through the IRS, then incorporation will likely be necessary.Otherwise, you can operate as an Unicorporated Association.


The following steps are required to obtain tax-exempt status for your Parish Voice:
  • 1. Obtain clearance from NY State to use your name.

  • 2. Incorporate in New York by filing a Certificate of Incorporation.

  • 3. Apply for tax-exempt status by filing Form 1023 and 8718 with the IRS.

  • 4. Obtain an Employer Identification Number by filing Form SS-4 or calling the IRS at 1-866-816-2065 or doing it online.

  • 5. Hold an organizational meeting of the Corporation to set up its management and by-laws.

  • 6. Make arrangements to comply with New York and federal annual filing requirements.

  • To obtain an incorporation kit -- CLICK HERE

  • To obtain a set of sample bylaws -- CLICK HERE

  • To get instructions and download the needed forms, follow the instructions below.

Note-It may be helpful to print this page before clicking on the links identified below.

1.Obtain clearance from NY State to use the name you choose for your Parish Voice Affiliate.

(Note avoid using a generic name as you may run into conflicts with preexisting names. Ideally you should have an attorney do a tradename and trademark search, but if this is beyond your means, you can rely on the clearance you get from NY State.) A good name:
The Parish Voice of XXXXXXXXX,Long Island, NY, Inc.

  • a. Go to

  • b. Read the introduction and then scroll down to, and click on, the link [Not-for-Profit Corporation Filings]. This will take you to the page entitled NOT-FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION FILINGS

  • c. Click on the link entitled To preserve the availability of a corporate name for use at a later date. This will take you to a section entitled Application for Reservation of Name with a link entitled Download Application for Reservation of Name Form (53KB PDF Form) (1 page). Click on this link and you will download Form DOS-635 which is the Application for Reservation of Name.

  • d. The first box asks for the applicant's name and address. The person who will be making the application is identified here, not the future corporation. The Certificate of Reservation will be mailed to this person.Next to "Name to be reserved", enter the proposed full name of the corporation, e.g., The Parish Voice of XXXXXXXXX,Long Island, NY, Inc.In the third box check the entry entitled "New domestic Corporation...". The applicant signs and prints his name on the last line and sends the form with 10 dollars to the NYS Department of State at the address indicated in the upper right hand corner.

  • e. That's it. A Certificate of Reservation should be received within ten days to two weeks.This Certificate will be attached to the Certificate of Incorporation when it is filed.

2. Obtain a Certificate of Incorporation by following these steps:
  • a. Go to

  • b. Read the introduction and then scroll down to, and click on, the link [Not-for-Profit Corporation Filings]. This will take you to the page entitled NOT-FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION FILINGS

  • c. Click on the link entitled To form a domestic not-for-profit corporation. This will take you to a section entitled Certificate of Incorporation. Read the explanatory materials and then scroll to the link entitled Download Certificate of Incorporation Form (DOS-1511) (71KB PDF Form) (4 pages) . Click on this link and you will download Form DOS-1511 which is the Certificate of Incorporation Form for Not-for-Profits seeking tax exempt status. Also click on Instructions for Completing Not-for-Profit Forms DOS-1510 and DOS-1511 (16KB PDF File) (5 pages)to download instructions for completing the form.

3. Fill out and file the Certificate of Incorporation DOS-1511 by following these steps:

  • Read the Instructions you downloaded in the Previous step.

  • Select one or two members of your Parish Voice who will serve as the Incorporator(s). Once the Corporation starts functioning, the incorporator position becomes inactive. However, the incorporator(s) can also serve as director(s) and officer(s) but that is not necessary.

  • On the cover page, enter the corporate name and the name and address of the person filing the Certificate

  • On the Certificate page enter the corporate name under the title and in the FIRST paragraph.

  • On the same page, section THIRD:, enter the purposes of the corporation. Here you might use the following which includes the VOTF mission statement and goals and other activities of your PV:
    • To provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the Faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of The Catholic Church
    • To disseminate materials and organize and conduct meetings of parishioners and others for the purpose of encouraging greater participation by the laity in the governance and guidance of the church.
    • To educate parishioners on their rights and duties as faithful Catholics to be actively involved in their parish and their diocese.
    • To encourage parish functions committed to the prevention of abuse.
    • To promote greater cooperation between the parishioners and their pastor and parish ministries.
    • To support faithful catholic clergy.
    • To support persons who have been victims of abuse.
    • To advocate accountability in the financial affairs of the parish and diocese through meetings, correspondence and the dissemination of printed materials.
    • To cooperate with the regional and national voice of the faithful organizations in furthering the above purposes.
    • To organize and conduct vigils, forums and seminars to advance the above purposes.

    To be sure that the corporate purposes don't overlap areas requiring additional approvals, the following language should be included:
    Nothing herein shall authorize the corporation directly or indirectly to engage in, or include among its purposes, any of the activities described in Section 404 of the New York Not-For-Profit Law.

  • On the same page, section FOURTH:, enter "B" for the corporation type.

  • On the Next page, section FIFTH:, enter the County where the corporation will be located.
    Under SIXTH, supply the names and addresses of the initial directors. These can be three or more members of your parish voice who are active in its governance. More directors can be added at the first meeting of the Board.

  • Under SEVENTH:, enter the name of the person who will receive notices from the Secretary of State of any actions initiated against the Corporation. (Hopefully a never event). This may be an incorporator or one of the directors.
    On the last page, the incorporator(s) print or type their names and addresses and sign the Certificate.

  • Mail the Certificate to:
    New York State Department of State
    Division of Corporations
    41 State Street, Albany NY 12231
    along with a check in the sum of $75.00 payable to the Department of State. That's it. In 4 to 7 days you should receive a receipt.

4. Obtain Form 1023 and 8718 to apply to the IRS for tax-exempt status

5. Obtain an Employer Identification Number

6. Determine if you must file a Charities Registration Statement
  • a. Effective July 1, 2003, Article 7-A of the Executive Law of New York State requires charitable organizations which solicit funds or use a fund raiser to register with the Department of Law. However, exempted is "(d) Any charitable organization which solicits or receives gross contributions of less than twenty-five thousand dollars during a fiscal year of such organization, provided none of its fund raising is carried on by professional fund raisers or fund raising counsel."(172-a).

  • b. If you satisfy these requirements, you are not required to register.

  • c. Instructions are found at

  • d. If you must register, the form is found at

7. Determine your annual filing requirements
  • a. To see if you must file a federal annual information return, go to,,id=96103,00.html "Tax-exempt organizations that have annual gross receipts not normally in excess of $25,000 are not required to file the annual information return."

  • b. To see if you must file a New York State return, check and file the corporate franchise tax form and instructions at Exempt: Is a Not-for-profit, and does not issue stock, and earnings do not benefit any officer, director or member, and is exempt from federal taxation.
8. Obtain a sales tax exemption