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Nonprofit Law/Name Change Non-Profit CA

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Question
QUESTION: Hello,
We are a non-profit (501c3) organization registered with the State of California as "Mommyswithcancer.org". We are interested in changing our name to correct the mis-spelling of the word "mommies". So, the name would be "MommiesWithCancer.org"

Would filing a DBA be a good way to go? I was reading a bit of the Calfironai code online, and it appears a DBA is not required for a non-profit in California? Is this true?

Our organization is very grateful for your help!

ANSWER: I have in my profile that this free forum is only for general questions about IRS federal exemption issues of 501(c)(3) organizations. Your matter is controlled by state law and states may differ somewhat with how they would treat such issues. Even though this forum is not for such state law issues, I may be able to give you some leads.  You appear to have come to the right conclusion. Chapter 5 of the California Business and Professions Code is entitled "Fictitious Business Names" and starts at:
http://law.justia.com/california/codes/2009/bpc/17900-17930.html


Down at Section 17911 we see:
---Start of Excerpt--
This chapter does not apply to a nonprofit corporation or
association, including, but not limited to, organizations such as
churches, labor unions, fraternal and charitable organizations,
foundations, and similar organizations.
---End of Excerpt--
http://pages.citebite.com/k2k0h0r2fwfp

Harvey Mechanic
Attorney at Law
Harvey108@hotmail.com

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather more information.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: So, as a non-profit in CA, we can simply start doing business with a new name?! Can it really be that easy?

Thank you!!

Answer
The IRS will not care that you use a different spelling like you propose, even though you have not registered the different spelling with the State or County governments. I do not know of any issues you would have with the State or County governments for not registering the fictitious name, as it is not prohibited by law for a nonprofit to use a fictitious name without registering it.

It is not that there is any law stating that such an act may be
done.  Here in the United States, unless something is specifically
prohibited by law, then it is allowed.

  It is not the burden of the citizen in the United States to
show a case that evidences that it is legal to do an act. It would
be the burden of the person stating that it is NOT legal to do an
act to provide the exact citation. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary
of Law cites to the legal "principle that an act is not a crime
unless there is a law prohibiting it."
http://pages.citebite.com/m1q4d7q3j4yse

That phrase comes from the Latin "nullum crimen sine lege" and a
similar phrase is "Nulla poena sine lege" (Latin: "no penalty
without a law").
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nulla_poena_sine_lege

Of course, if there is already another organization using the spelling of the name you want to use, that could be an issue between your organization and that other organization.

Harvey Mechanic
Attorney at Law
Harvey108@hotmail.com

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather more information.

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Harvey Mechanic

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I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at Harvey108@hotmail.com I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "site:allexperts.com/q/nonprofit" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.

Experience

I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.

Education/Credentials

B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.


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