Cultural agencies that do not qualify as a museum or historical society with collections are not eligible for a charter. If the organization is nonprofit, organized for the promotion of science, liturature, art, history, or other department of knowledge, and is educational in any way; for example preservation groups, or friends groups for museums, historical societies or historic sites, and wishes to incorporate, it may petition for the issuance of a Regents certificate of incorporation. This instrument constitutes official recognition that the organization's purposes are of educational or cultural value. It is a permanent form of incorporation.
These organizations are not authorized to own or hold collections, as defined in section 3.27 (a)(7) of Regents Rules, except to borrow items owned by other institutions for brief periods of time for purposes of study or short-term, temporary exhibition.
Most important of the many advantages of incorporation is that the educational organization becomes a legal entity. Title to the assets is held in the name of the education corporation and is thus protected from falling into the hands of individual members in the event the organization should dissolve.
Another important advantage of incorporation is that it makes the organization eligible to apply to the United States Internal Revenue Service as a non-profit, tax exempt education corporation under section 501 (C) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. This is important to a nonprofit corporation because money raised from dues, admission charges and gifts would otherwise be considered taxable income. This exemption also encourages contributions since donors may deduct such gifts from their personal income taxes.
Finally, incorporation gives an education organization the prestige and recognition of being a member of The University of the State of New York.
A corporation to which a certificate of incorporation has been issued may represent itself as "Incorporated under the New York State Education Law." In no case, however, may it claim chartered status