Question: becoming PTO

I'm forming a PTO in Alabama and I cant figure out if I have to file with the state to become a nonprofit organization first, or if getting our EIN and 501c3 is enough. I've spoken with the secretary of state and attorney general and neither could answer my question.

Asked by jlgunn31



Advice from PTO Today

Rose H writes:
Hi jlgunn31,
So, incorporating on the state level is not absolutely necessary, but if you do go forward with that, you should do that before going for 501(c)(3) status at the federal level.

Here's an excerpt from a great post we have on this topic:
No. These are two different and unrelated steps. Incorporation is recognized at the state level, and 501(c)(3) is a federal designation. Incorporation usually offers your PTO and its officers some protection from certain kinds of liability. Typically, incorporation must be renewed annually with your state’s department of commerce or with a similar office.

" Incorporation establishes the inception date of your organization, so you should incorporate before you file for 501(c)(3) status. If you decide to incorporate after you get your 501(c)(3) designation, you’ll have to start that process all over since in the eyes of the IRS, the newly incorporated organization is a brand-new entity."

Here's a link to the full article:


Answer this question: