The Law Office of Dionna Reynolds, LLC serves the needs of Chicago area nonprofits and corporations by providing practical strategic and legal advice. Our goal is to help our clients succeed in their mission, whether that is building community assets, creating jobs, providing much-needed services, or supporting initiatives aimed at changing policy.
Nonprofit Creation and Counsel Services
As a law firm, we are mindful of the mission and limited resources of nonprofit entities as well as the value they provide to our communities. Our goal is to provide practical, creative solutions that meet the needs and budgets of our clients.
We represent a wide range of nonprofit, tax-exempt, philanthropic, and religious organizations. They include cultural organizations, educational institutions, foundations, hospitals, professional associations, religious groups, and social welfare agencies. Our services, which are available to new organizations as well as those that have a long history in the community, include:
Entity Formation and Tax Guidance
Our firm has experience setting up nonprofit, tax-exempt, and related organizations, including for-profit subsidiaries. We can help your organization obtain determination of federal and state tax-exempt status.
Contract Drafting and Negotiation
We assist clients in drafting, reviewing, and negotiating a wide range of business agreements, including but not limited to:
- Consulting agreements
- Corporate organizational agreements
- Employment agreements
- Joint venture agreements
- Leases and service agreements
- Non-compete agreements
- Non-disclosure agreements
We assist nonprofits with all aspects of running a successful organization, including:
- The establishment and maintenance of corporate governance procedures
- Interaction with regulatory agencies about compliance matters
- Issues involving investment and financial matters
As part of our services, we help clients prepare, file, and maintain the governance documents of their organizations. Attorney Dionna Reynolds also provides advice on directors’ and officers’ fiduciary responsibilities.
General Counsel Services
Just like their for-profit counterparts, non-profit organizations operate like businesses and can enter into partnerships, sign contracts, employ people, lease or buy real estate, own or license intellectual property, settle disputes, etc. Our corporate governance training and strategic planning services support not only the organization and its day-to-day activities but also its board of directors and organizational goals.
Articles of Incorporation
Attorney Dionna Reynolds provides experienced assistance at all stages of the incorporation process, from developing your organizational structure to filing your Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation.
S-Corporations, like LLCs, do not owe corporate taxes and protect their members from personal liability. They offer their members some noteworthy tax benefits, including the ability to claim losses on personal income taxes and pay lower self-employment taxes. However, there can be no more than 100 owners, and these owners cannot be non-resident aliens, other corporations, or unqualified trusts.
C-Corporations are the traditional form of the corporation and are treated as separate legal entities for tax purposes. A C-Corporation can have as many owners as desired, but in the for-profit world, one advantage is that owners can hold different types of stock and receive dividends when the company profits.
Limited Liability Company (LLC) is neither a corporation nor a partnership but combines some of the traits of both. Owners of this type of business are not personally liable when the company faces financial difficulties, meaning that if it goes bankrupt, only the business’ assets can be seized – not those of the owners. There is no limit to the number of members an LLC can have, and these members can be real people or certain types of businesses.
The Incorporation Process in Illinois
After you choose the business structure that’s right for you, you will also need to take steps that include drafting legal documents and filing them with the state. Attorney Dionna Reynolds can assist you with the following services:
- Registering your nonprofit with the State of Illinois
- Completing and filing your nonprofit status requests with the state and federal governments
- Drafting your articles of incorporation
- Helping you prepare your organizational bylaws
Q. How are Corporations Taxed in Illinois?
The answer depends on the tax treatment selected when you establish your business or nonprofit. C-Corporations have to pay a corporate income tax on their profits. In contrast, if the shareholders elect to be treated as an S-Corporation, the entity does not pay separate corporate income taxes, much like a partnership.
We can advise you on whether obtaining S-Corporation status will be appropriate for your organization since the Internal Revenue Code limits when shareholders can elect that status. We can also answer any questions you may have on the taxation process and recommend the right entity formation for your tax strategy.
Q. How Many Board Members Should a Nonprofit Have?
At least three directors are required on the board. They do not have to be residents of Illinois. The board runs the organization, and no individual can profit from its revenue.
Board members have a variety of responsibilities that include:
- Defining the organization’s mission and purpose
- Selecting, supporting, and reviewing the duties of the Executive Director
- Organizational planning
- Managing and monitoring financial resources
- Serving on committees
At the Law Office of Dionna Reynolds, LLC, we can provide you with legal guidance regarding board composition and the responsibilities of each member.
Q. Why Should I Use an Attorney to Incorporate My Business or Organization?
When you work with an experienced attorney, you benefit from the following:
- Education on the benefits, drawbacks, and obligations of each entity type
- Peace of mind knowing that corporate formalities will be observed and maintained
- Liability protection because the proper corporate procedure will have been followed
- Self-employment tax savings that can stand up under an audit
- Registration with all of the required government agencies
- Filing of all necessary paperwork
- Advice on tax issues
As a business owner or nonprofit founder, you will encounter numerous legal issues, including contracts, leases, employee issues, exit strategies, or disputes. A relationship with an attorney at the outset of your organization will help you plan for your legal future and serve as a valuable resource going forward.
Supporting Chicago Nonprofits and Businesses
For those looking to start a nonprofit organization or business in Chicago, it is important to consult a lawyer who has experience in the laws that apply to these entities. Our team will assist you with identifying the proper formation, taking into account the different types of entities and tax exemptions available, and providing legal guidance as it grows. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call 708-981-3344 or contact our office online.