FAQs About CDP's Assistance to Nonprofits

The following are the most frequently asked questions regarding the Community Development Project's Assistance for Nonprofits:

Question: "How long do I have to wait until an attorney can help me? Can I come see you today?"

Answer: Most clients will not receive legal assistance for at least two weeks after they file a complete application. Each applicant for services must go through our internal approval process. Once approved, most matters are then placed with volunteer attorneys at law firms throughout Los Angeles County. Each of these law firms maintains its own internal approval process for pro bono matters. Volunteer attorneys cannot provide clients with any assistance before their law firm approval process is completed. We have found that the entire process usually takes a minimum of two weeks.

"How long does the process for incorporating and gaining tax-exemption last?"

Answer: Usually it takes anywhere from six months to one year for an organization to incorporate and gain tax-exemption. The two factors that cause most of the delays are: (1) client responses to requests for information; and (2) the large number of tax-exemption applications that the IRS must approve.

"I am already incorporated and I would like to file for tax-exempt status. Can you help me?"

Answer: We can help you gain tax-exemption, although you may not be considered exempt from the date of incorporation. The IRS grants retroactive exemption to organizations that have incorporated within 27 months of applying for tax-exemption. If you incorporated more than 27 months before you file an application you may still be considered exempt, but the date of your exemption will most likely be the date your application for exemption is filed.

"How much does it cost to become a tax-exempt organization?"

Answer: The total fees for incorporating and applying for tax-exemption are typically $930.00. For a detailed breakdown of the initial filing fees, click here.

"I am in the beginning stages of developing my nonprofit. Can you help me?"

Answer: We can only provide legal assistance for your organization. We recommend that you utilize the multitude of resources available here, including attending courses on program development, fundraising and budgeting.