501(c)(6) Formation in Florida

At Chisholm Law, we take pride in our extensive experience in nonprofit law, and we are here to guide nonprofit leaders in Florida through the intricate process of 501(c)(6) formation. If you're committed to advancing the common business interests of your members, we are your trusted legal partner. We’re here to provide you with valuable insights into the world of 501(c)(6) organizations and how we can assist you in this journey.

Want to learn more? Explore all of our nonprofit formation services:

  • Nonprofit Planning
  • Incorporation
  • 501(c)(4) Formation
  • 501(c)(6) Formation
  • 501(c)(7) Formation
  • Tax-Exempt Reinstatement
  • State Tax Exemption
  • Foreign Registration

To give you a head start in your 501(c)(6) journey, we put together answers to the most common questions about 501(c)(6) formation in Florida. Read on to discover how we can help your Florida nonprofit through formation and beyond!

Professionals gather around a table to discuss 501c3 formation.

What Is a 501(c)(6)?

A 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization is designed to promote the common business interests of its members. These organizations typically include business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards, and similar groups.

The primary objectives of 501(c)(6) organizations are to facilitate collaboration, networking, and advocacy on behalf of their members.

Benefits of 501(c)(6) Status

Obtaining 501(c)(6) status offers numerous advantages, including:

  • Tax Benefits: 501(c)(6) organizations are exempt from federal income tax, allowing you to allocate more resources towards your mission.
  • Enhanced Credibility: 501(c)(6) status enhances your organization's recognition within the community, fostering trust and support.
  • Lobbying and Political Activities: As a 501(c)(6), you can actively engage in lobbying and political activities to advance your members' interests and advocate for change.
  • Valuable Resources and Services: Your organization can provide essential resources, such as networking opportunities, industry research, and educational programs to your members, further promoting their common interests.

What are the Requirements To Qualify for 501(c)(6) Status in Florida?

Meeting eligibility criteria is crucial for a successful 501(c)(6) formation. This includes having a clear purpose aligned with promoting common business interests, following specific governance requirements, and engaging in activities that serve your members.

  • Common Business Interests: Your organization should serve as a platform for promoting the common business interests of its members. For example, a chamber of commerce may focus on economic development, while a real estate board could work to improve industry standards and practices.
  • Membership: Your members must be actively engaged in the industry or field represented by your organization. For instance, a business league may require that its members be involved in a specific trade or profession.
  • Governance: Your organization must have a clear governance structure, including bylaws, officers, and regular meetings. Demonstrating transparency and accountability is essential.
  • Activities: Your activities should primarily revolve around the betterment of your members and their common interests. This can involve hosting events, offering industry-specific educational programs, or facilitating networking opportunities.

As your legal support, our team of attorneys will guide you through the application process, ensuring you meet all necessary requirements.

What Is the Difference Between 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(6)?

501(c)(6) organizations differ significantly from 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, particularly regarding their purpose, tax deductibility, lobbying activities, and political engagement. Understanding these distinctions is essential in determining the most suitable tax-exempt status for your organization.

  • Purpose: 501(c)(3) organizations are typically charitable, educational, or religious entities. They focus on providing services or resources to the general public. In contrast, 501(c)(6) organizations exist to promote the common business interests of their members within a specific industry or field.

Example: A local animal shelter (501(c)(3)) provides services to the public, while a real estate association (501(c)(6)) advocates for the interests of its real estate professional members.

  • Tax-Deductibility: According to the IRS Internal Revenue Code, donations to 501(c)(3) organizations are tax-deductible for the donor, which can be a significant fundraising advantage. 501(c)(6) organizations do not offer the same level of tax-deductibility for contributions.

Example: Donations to a local food bank (501(c)(3)) are tax-deductible for the donor, while membership dues to a chamber of commerce (501(c)(6)) may not be.

  • Lobbying and Political Activities: 501(c)(3) organizations are subject to restrictions on lobbying and political engagement, whereas 501(c)(6) organizations have greater flexibility in advocating for legislative changes and supporting political candidates who align with their industry interests.

Example: A public policy think tank (501(c)(3)) may have strict limits on lobbying, while a business association (501(c)(6)) can actively advocate for policies that benefit its industry.

  • Public Benefit: 501(c)(3) organizations must operate for the public benefit and demonstrate their charitable or educational impact. 501(c)(6) organizations focus on advancing the interests of their specific members, with benefits primarily accruing to those members.

Example: A museum (501(c)(3) is open to the public and showcases educational exhibits, while a regional trade association (501(c)(6) primarily serves the interests of its industry members.

Understanding these distinctions is vital in choosing the most appropriate tax-exempt status for your organization and ensuring your activities align with your legal status and purpose.

How Do You Start a 501(c)(6) in Florida?

Starting a 501(c)(6) requires a well-thought-out plan and careful adherence to regulatory requirements. Our step-by-step guide outlines the process of starting a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization, from developing your mission to filing your Internal Revenue Service (IRS) application.


Begin by clearly defining your organization's mission, purpose, and goals. Ensure that your mission aligns with the common business interests of your prospective members.


File the necessary documents to incorporate your organization at the state level, typically involving articles of incorporation. Ensure compliance with your state's nonprofit laws to establish your organization's legal foundation.


Draft bylaws that outline your organization's governance structure, membership criteria, decision-making processes, and more. These bylaws are essential for your organization's operations and will provide a framework for how your organization functions.


Establish a board of directors elected by your members. The board should oversee the organization's operations, make key decisions, and ensure compliance with the law. Your board will play a pivotal role in guiding your nonprofit toward its objectives.


Prepare and submit an application to the IRS for 501(c)(6) status. This application requires careful documentation and adherence to specific IRS guidelines. The IRS will review your application to determine your eligibility for tax-exempt status.


Maintain compliance with state and federal regulations, including filing required reports and adhering to tax obligations. This ongoing responsibility is critical to ensuring your organization retains its tax-exempt status.


Throughout this process, consider the invaluable assistance of legal counsel. Legal guidance is essential to navigate complex nonprofit laws and regulations successfully. An experienced attorney will help you avoid potential pitfalls and ensure that your organization operates within the boundaries of the law.

By following this roadmap and seeking experienced legal guidance, you can embark on your 501(c)(6) nonprofit formation journey with confidence, knowing that you are taking the right steps to create a successful organization that serves the common business interests of your members.

Why Choose Chisholm Law?

Our mission is to support your mission. Chisholm Law brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record in nonprofit law. Our testimonials showcase successful 501(c)(6) formations, illustrating the benefits of having us as your legal supporter.

Beyond formation, we offer comprehensive legal services to Florida nonprofit leaders. From grant writing to fundraising we’re here to help you secure stability and success.

Take the first step towards your 501(c)(6) formation journey today.

“We Are Proud Of Our 100% Success Rate For Our Nonprofit Filings 99.9% Success Rate for Trademark Filings Since 2010.*”


CHISHOLM LAW FIRM Official Logo (2024)