Keep Legal Records that Meet IRS Standards

There are several key documents that you want to have accessible at all times as it relates to your nonprofit. These documents are the foundation of good record-keeping as it relates to running a nonprofit. Here are 9 of the legal records that you need to keep to meet IRS standards.

Articles of Incorporation

This is the formal charter document for your nonprofit that is filed with your state. It should be prepared with asset protection clauses and limited liability clauses. It should also have the language that the IRS and major grants require.

Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)

The FEIN, or taxpayer-identification number is like a social security number for your nonprofit. This number allows donations that are given to your nonprofit to be viewed separately from the personal income you receive that you have to report on your income taxes.

Application for Tax-Exemption

This is the actual application you filed with the IRS (or that your nonprofit attorney filed on your behalf) to obtain tax-exempt status. You will need to keep a copy of this on file, as well as any addendum you submitted or letters received from the IRS.

IRS Determination Letter (Tax Exemption Letter)

This is the letter that the IRS provides you with once your nonprofit is approved, stating that you officially have tax-exempt status. You will need to keep this on file as most grants and funding opportunities require a copy of it.


These are the governing rules for your nonprofit. You will need to make sure the most recently adopted version of the bylaws is on file and signed by the appropriate board members.

Meeting Minutes

Meeting minutes serve as a transcript that documents what took place during the official meetings you have with your board and committee members for your nonprofit.

Letters & Correspondence from the IRS

If you ever send or receive a letter from the IRS, make sure you keep a copy in your business records.

Nonprofit Tax Returns

Make sure the Form 990s that you have filed for the last three years (or as many as you have if you are a new nonprofit) are kept in your Corporate Minute Group.


This documents key votes and decisions that were made and formally adopted by your nonprofit.

Starting and growing a nonprofit is not a simple task. You need the right team with the right expertise to help you on this journey. Our team has helped thousands of people start and grow nonprofits that impact the world. If you want the best for your nonprofit, look no further than Chisholm Law Firm. We have a 100% success rate for our clients. 

You can rest assured that your nonprofit is in the best hands and that we’ll get everything done right the first time. Call us today to schedule your free consultation.

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