Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

How about this causality conundrum: Which came first, Articles of Organization or an Employer Identification Number (EIN)?

With our mission statement complete, T. and I had decided that the next step is to start filling paperwork, knowing that this can be a tedious process and that there are many things that need to be filed before applying for 501(c)(3) and tax exempt status.

The first two on the list (click here to see how we narrowed it down) were to file for an Employer Identification Number OR to incorporate with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Seems to be straightforward, right? Not so much. Enter the conundrum:  Each appears to be a prerequisite for the other.  So, unless we are completely missing an unknown step one right in front of our noses (completely possible), one of these can be done without first doing the other.

However, the online Articles of Organization form with the Secretary of the Commonwealth requires an EIN before filling.

However, this form requires the legal entity name and date it was formed, so Articles of Organization must be field first.

Hence the-chicken-or-the-egg conundrum.

(Pause for phone call to Secretary of the Commonwealth William Francis Galvin’s office)

Aha! Success! The Answer: Leave the EIN blank and file Articles of Organization (effectively incorporate) in the Commonwealth.  Then file for an EIN with legal name and date of creation. Then, when EIN is recieved, file an addendum to Articles of Organization with EIN.

It never occured to us to leave blank what was “required” information.  Of course, now we know.

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