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How to Tell Whether Your Nonprofit Corporation is a Public Benefit Corporation or a Mutual Benefit Corporation
A Public Benefit Corporation:
- Is designated as a public benefit corporation by statute; or
- Is tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; or
- Is organized for a public or charitable purpose and is required to distribute assets to a similar tax exempt organization upon dissolution; or
- Has elected to be a public benefit corporation.
Generally, if your corporation's mission is to serve the public or community at large, it is probably a public benefit corporation. Public benefit corporations can usually be characterized as charities.
Common examples: volunteer fire departments, grantmaking foundations, homeless shelters
A Mutual Benefit Corporation:
- Is any nonprofit corporation that does not fit the description of a public benefit corporation.
Generally, if your corporation's mission is to serve a limited number of members with common interests, it is probably a mutual benefit corporation.
Common examples: homeowners associations, snowmobile clubs, trade associations
For more information, please review the Maine Attorney General's Guide for Board Members of Charitable Corporations.
You may make this designation on one of the forms listed below for filing a new nonprofit corporation or submitting a filing on an existing corporation.
Filing a new corporation:
Articles of Incorporation (13-B MRSA 403)
Certificate of Organization (13 MRSA Chapter 81 903)
Submitting a filing on an existing corporation:
Articles of Amendment (13-B MRSA 802 and 803)
Restated Articles of Incorporation (13-B MRSA 805)
Articles of Merger (13-B MRSA 904)
Articles of Merger (13-B MRSA 906)
Annual Report (13-B MRSA 1301.2)
Certificate of Organization (13 MRSA Chapter 81 981-A)
Certificate of Resumption (13-B MRSA 1301.6)