How to Start a Nonprofit Corporation in West Virginia (2024 Guide)


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Start a Nonprofit Corporation in West Virginia

If you would like to form a corporation in West Virginia, you should also consider starting a nonprofit corporation since it plays a crucial role in our society, addressing a wide range of community needs and positively impacting countless lives. Starting a nonprofit corporation in West Virginia can be rewarding, but it requires careful planning, dedication, and a thorough understanding of the various legal and financial requirements.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through Starting a Nonprofit Corporation in West Virginia, from initial planning to ongoing compliance, so that you can make a meaningful difference in your community.

If you want to know more about nonprofit corporations, you may read the whole article until the end, which the Webinarcare Editorial Team had thorough research. Before starting a nonprofit corporation in West Virginia, you must cross-check all the factors and be guided by the steps.

What is a Nonprofit Corporation?

A nonprofit corporation is a legal entity formed under a given state’s specific laws and regulations in the United States. It is created to serve a public or mutual benefit rather than generating profits for its owners or shareholders. Nonprofit corporations typically operate in education, healthcare, social services, arts and culture, and environmental conservation.

In a nonprofit corporation, any surplus income the organization generates is reinvested into its programs and services rather than distributed to shareholders or members. This allows nonprofits to focus on fulfilling their mission and addressing community needs without the pressure to maximize profits.

An example of a nonprofit corporation in West Virginia is Mountaineer Food Bank – A non-profit organization that provides food assistance to those in need in West Virginia..

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Steps on How to Start a Nonprofit Corporation in West Virginia

To start a nonprofit corporation in West Virginia, you must follow the below steps that, include research and planning, choosing a corporate name, appointing directors, filing for Articles of Incorporation, creating corporate bylaws, holding the initial board of directors, issuing stock, obtaining required licenses and permits, registering with state tax agencies, Annual reporting and ongoing compliance. All these steps are basic ones. It can be changed depending on the type of corporation you form and the nature of your business.

Step 1: Research and Planning

Before starting your nonprofit corporation in West Virginia, you must research and plan. This stage is critical to the success of your nonprofit, as it will help you refine your mission, identify potential supporters, and avoid pitfalls. By conducting thorough research and developing a well-informed plan, you can establish a nonprofit corporation that makes a real difference in the lives of those you serve.

Step 2: Choose a Name for the Nonprofit

Once you have a clear vision for your West Virginia nonprofit corporation, it’s time to choose a name. Your organization’s name should be unique, memorable, and reflective of your mission and purpose. Follow these steps to choose and register your nonprofit’s name in West Virginia:

Consider the Mission and Purpose when Choosing the Name

Your nonprofit’s name should be closely tied to its mission and purpose, making it clear to potential supporters what your organization is about. Choose a name that is meaningful and easy to remember, as this will help with marketing and fundraising efforts.

Check for Name Availability with the West Virginia Secretary of State

Before registering your nonprofit’s name, you must ensure another organization still needs to use it in West Virginia. You can do this by checking the West Virginia Secretary of State ‘s online database or contacting their office directly.

Register the Name

Depending on your West Virginia ‘s requirements, you may need to register your nonprofit’s name with the Secretary of State. This typically involves completing a name reservation of 120 days or registration form and paying an online reservation fee of $15, and mail reservation fee of $15. Be sure to follow your state’s specific guidelines and procedures for name registration.

To check the availability of your desired corporate name, you can search the West Virginia Secretary of State’s business name database and West Virginia Business Name Search.

If your nonprofit corporation plans to operate under a name other than its legal name, you may also need to register a fictitious or “doing business as” (DBA) name.

The DBA filing can be done by two methods, by mail and in person., which costs around $25. In addition, the DBA’s validity in West Virginia is Indefinite, which you can file in West Virginia Secretary of State.

You can check out How to File a DBA in West Virginia for clearer understanding.

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Step 3: Hire a Registered Agent

Hiring a Registered Agent is essential in starting a nonprofit corporation. Registered Agent is a person or company responsible for receiving important legal documents, tax notices, and other correspondence for your nonprofit corporation. They ensure that your nonprofit corporation remains compliant with state regulations and requirements. There are West Virginia Registered Agent Services to check in forming West Virginia Nonprofit Corporation.

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Step 4: Establish Governance and Bylaws

With your nonprofit’s name in place, it’s time to establish your organization’s governance structure and create bylaws. These important documents will outline how your nonprofit will be run, including the roles and responsibilities of board members, the decision-making process, and the procedures for managing finances and record-keeping.

  • Choose the Initial Board of Directors: Your nonprofit’s board of directors will guide your organization’s activities and ensure its long-term success. Choose individuals passionate about your mission, bring diverse skills and expertise to the table, and are willing to commit the time and effort needed to fulfill their responsibilities as board members. In West Virginia, you need to have at least Three directors for you to operate a nonprofit corporation.
  • Create Bylaws: Your bylaws are the governing document for your nonprofit, outlining the roles and responsibilities of board members, the decision-making process, and the procedures for managing finances and record-keeping. Be sure to cover board meetings, voting, committees, officer positions, conflicts of interest, and amendment procedures. Your bylaws should be tailored to your organization’s needs and requirements and developed in consultation with an attorney experienced in nonprofit law.
  • Hold the First Board Meeting: Once your bylaws have been drafted, hold your first board meeting to review and approve them. This meeting should also include the election of officers, such as the president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. Be sure to document the meeting’s discussions and decisions in meeting minutes, as these records will be important for maintaining your nonprofit’s legal compliance.

Step 5: Incorporate the Nonprofit

The next step in starting your West Virginia nonprofit corporation is to formally incorporate your organization with the West Virginia Secretary of State. Incorporation establishes your nonprofit as a separate legal entity and provides limited liability protection for its board members and officers. To incorporate your nonprofit, follow these steps:

Prepare the Articles of Incorporation

The Articles of Incorporation is the legal document formally establishing your nonprofit corporation. This document should include your organization’s name, purpose, Registered Agent, and principal office address. Be sure to follow your state’s specific requirements for the content and format of the Articles of Incorporation.

File the Articles of Incorporation

Once your Articles of Incorporation is complete, please submit them to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office, along with any required filing fees. The filing process may vary depending on your state, but it typically involves mailing or submitting the documents online. Keep a copy of the filed Articles of Incorporation for your records.

Filing Articles of Incorporation in West Virginia may be done with two methods, online and by mail. The Articles of Incorporation fee may vary from different state. However, in West Virginia, it costs $25 for online and by mail filing.

  • Online Filing: Create an account/Log in to the SOS site, get the e-form, fill it, and submit online. Or get the online PDF, fill it up and upload it back on the site.
  • Offline filing: Send the form by mail to Eastern Panhandle Business Center, 229 E. Martin St., Martinsburg, WV 25401

Step 6: Apply for State and Federal Tax Exemptions

Your organization may be eligible for state and federal tax exemptions as a nonprofit corporation. Obtaining tax-exempt status can save your nonprofit money and make it more attractive to potential donors. To apply for tax exemptions, follow these steps:

Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An EIN in West Virginia is a unique number the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assigns to your organization. You’ll need this number to apply for tax-exempt status and open a bank account for your nonprofit. You can obtain an EIN by completing the online application on the IRS website or submitting Form SS-4 by mail or fax.

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Apply for Federal Tax-Exempt Status (501(c)(3))

To apply for federal tax-exempt status, you’ll need to complete and submit Form 1023 or Form 1023-EZ, depending on the size and complexity of your organization. This application requires detailed information about your nonprofit’s finances, governance, and programs. Be prepared to provide supporting documentation, including your bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, and financial projections. You’ll also need to pay a filing fee, which varies depending on the size of your organization and the form you submit.

Apply for West Virginia Tax-Exempt Status

In addition to federal tax-exempt status, your nonprofit may be eligible for state tax exemptions. The process for applying for state tax-exempt status varies by state, so research your specific state’s requirements and procedures. This may involve submitting additional forms, documentation, and fees to the West Virginia State Tax Department.

Step 7: Obtain the Necessary Licenses and Permits

Depending on your nonprofit’s activities and location, you may need to obtain various licenses and permits to operate legally—research local, state, and federal requirements and apply for any necessary licenses and permits. Be sure to maintain compliance by renewing licenses and permits as needed and staying up-to-date on any regulation changes.

Step 8: Develop a Fundraising Plan and Strategy

Fundraising is critical to the success of your West Virginia nonprofit corporation, providing the financial resources needed to carry out your mission and programs. Develop a comprehensive fundraising plan that outlines your goals, strategies, and timelines for raising funds. This plan should include various funding sources, such as grants, donations, and special events. Create marketing materials and strategies to promote your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts and engage potential supporters.

Step 9: Open a Bank Account for the Nonprofit

With your legal and financial foundations in place, it’s time to open a bank account for your nonprofit corporation. Choose a bank that offers services tailored to nonprofits and provides the features and support your organization needs. To open an account, you’ll typically need to provide your EIN, Articles of Incorporation, bylaws, and a resolution authorizing the account opening. Establish proper financial controls and procedures to ensure responsible management of the organization’s funds.

You can check out the West Virginia Best Banks to know which bank will suit your nonprofit corporation.

Step 10: Establish Record-Keeping Systems

Effective record-keeping and reporting are essential for maintaining your nonprofit’s legal and financial compliance and demonstrating transparency and accountability to your supporters. Set up systems for tracking financial transactions, maintaining records of your organization’s activities, and reporting to the IRS, state, and other relevant agencies. Stay up-to-date on reporting requirements and deadlines to ensure your nonprofit remains in good standing. Hiring a CPA in West Virginia for this reporting system is best.

Step 11: Launch and Promote the Nonprofit

With your West Virginia nonprofit corporation officially established and your financial and legal foundations in place, it’s time to launch your organization and begin making a difference in your community. Develop a marketing plan to promote your nonprofit’s mission and services, including creating a website, social media presence, and other marketing materials. Network with other nonprofits, community organizations, and stakeholders to build partnerships and collaborations to strengthen your organization’s impact.

Step 12: Ongoing Compliance and Management

Starting a nonprofit corporation is just the beginning – maintaining your organization’s legal and financial compliance is an ongoing responsibility. Stay informed about changes in nonprofit laws and regulations, file required Annual Reports and financial statements, and regularly review and update your bylaws, policies, and procedures as needed. Foster positive relationships with board members, volunteers, and supporters to ensure your nonprofit’s continued success.

Cost of Forming a Nonprofit Corporation in West Virginia

In forming a nonprofit corporation in West Virginia, the filing and Annual fees must be paid. Without it, your nonprofit corporation won’t operate. In West Virginia, the nonprofit costs $25 for online and by mail filing, and should file an Annual Report. You should ensure you comply with all the necessary fees and costs so your West Virginia nonprofit corporation will run successfully and smoothly.

Is Forming a Nonprofit Corporation in West Virginia Worth It?

Forming a nonprofit corporation in West Virginia can be worth it if you are dedicated to a specific cause and prepared to meet the challenges and responsibilities of running a nonprofit organization. It is essential to carefully consider your goals and resources and consult with a Business Attorney in West Virginia or other professionals experienced in nonprofit formation and management to ensure that you are making the best decision for your situation.

FAQs

What is a non-profit corporation?
A non-profit corporation is an organization that operates primarily for charitable, educational, religious, or scientific purposes, and which does not distribute profits to its members, directors, or officers.
How do I start a non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
To start a non-profit corporation in West Virginia, you must file articles of incorporation with the state and obtain tax-exempt status from the IRS.
What is the process for filing articles of incorporation in West Virginia?
To file articles of incorporation in West Virginia, you must submit a completed form with the Secretary of State’s office along with a fee.
How long does it take to set up a non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
It usually takes 4-6 weeks to set up a non-profit corporation in West Virginia.
Can I get help setting up my non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
Yes, you can get help from a lawyer, accountant, or other professional who has experience with non-profit corporations in West Virginia.
What is the cost of starting a non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
The cost to start a non-profit corporation in West Virginia is $25 to file articles of incorporation, and there may be additional fees for obtaining tax-exempt status from the IRS.
What are the requirements for filing articles of incorporation in West Virginia?
The requirements for filing articles of incorporation in West Virginia include naming a registered agent, providing a description of the organization’s purpose and activities, and disclosing the names of the organization’s officers and directors.
Where can I find the application form to file articles of incorporation in West Virginia?
The application form to file articles of incorporation in West Virginia can be found on the Secretary of State’s website.
What is a registered agent in West Virginia?
A registered agent in West Virginia is a person or entity that is designated to receive official legal and tax documents on behalf of a non-profit corporation.
Who can be a registered agent in West Virginia?
A registered agent in West Virginia must be a person or entity that is authorized to do business in the state and has a physical address within the state to receive official documents.
What is tax-exempt status, and how do I obtain it for my non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
Tax-exempt status is a designation from the IRS that enables an organization to avoid paying federal income tax on its earnings. To obtain tax-exempt status for a non-profit corporation in West Virginia, you must file an application with the IRS.
What requirements must a non-profit corporation meet to be eligible for tax-exempt status in West Virginia?
To be eligible for tax-exempt status in West Virginia, a non-profit corporation must operate primarily for charitable, educational, religious, or scientific purposes, and cannot distribute profits to its members, directors, or officers.
What are the benefits of obtaining tax-exempt status for a non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
The benefits of obtaining tax-exempt status for a non-profit corporation in West Virginia include exemptions from federal income tax on earnings, eligibility for grants and other financial assistance, and increased credibility as a charitable organization.
Can a non-profit corporation in West Virginia pay employees or individuals for their services?
Yes, a non-profit corporation in West Virginia can pay employees or individuals for their services, but it must be done at a reasonable and fair rate.
Will my non-profit corporation in West Virginia be required to pay state taxes?
It depends on the type of non-profit corporation and its activities in West Virginia. Some types of non-profit organizations are exempt from state taxes, while others are not.
Do I need to file annual reports for my non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
Yes, you are required to file annual reports for your non-profit corporation in West Virginia, which include financial and organizational information.
What are the consequences of not filing annual reports for my non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
The consequences of not filing annual reports for your non-profit corporation in West Virginia include additional fees and potential revocation of tax-exempt status.
How do I dissolve my non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
To dissolve your non-profit corporation in West Virginia, you must file a certificate of dissolution with the Secretary of State’s office.
What happens to my non-profit corporation’s assets when it is dissolved in West Virginia?
When a non-profit corporation is dissolved in West Virginia, any remaining assets must be distributed for a charitable purpose or transferred to another tax-exempt organization.
Can I convert my for-profit business into a non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
Yes, you can convert your for-profit business into a non-profit corporation in West Virginia, but it must meet all the requirements for a non-profit organization.
What is the difference between a non-profit corporation and a for-profit corporation in West Virginia?
The main difference between a non-profit corporation and a for-profit corporation in West Virginia is that a non-profit corporation operates primarily for charitable, educational, religious, or scientific purposes and does not distribute profits to its members, directors, or officers.
Can a non-profit corporation in West Virginia lobby for political causes or candidates?
Yes, a non-profit corporation in West Virginia is allowed to lobby for political causes or candidates, but there are specific restrictions and reporting requirements for this activity.
Can I receive a salary as a director or officer of a non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
Yes, you can receive a salary as a director or officer of a non-profit corporation in West Virginia if it is reasonable and fair compensation for your services.
Can a non-profit corporation in West Virginia engage in commercial activities?
Yes, a non-profit corporation in West Virginia can engage in commercial activities as long as they are related to the organization’s charitable purpose and do not undermine tax-exempt status.
Is it difficult to run a non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
Running a non-profit corporation in West Virginia can be challenging, as it requires compliance with laws and regulations, fundraising, volunteer recruitment, and management, but it can also be very rewarding.
Can I form a non-profit corporation in West Virginia with just one person?
Yes, you can form a non-profit corporation in West Virginia with just one person, but it is recommended to have a board of directors or advisers to help guide the organization.
What resources are available to help me start and run my non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
There are many resources available to help you start and run your non-profit corporation in West Virginia, including the Secretary of State’s office, legal and accounting professionals, and non-profit organizations and associations.
How do I register a non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
To register a non-profit corporation in West Virginia, file Articles of Incorporation with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office.
What is the cost to register a non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
The filing fee for Articles of Incorporation in West Virginia is $25.
How long does it take to register a non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
It typically takes around 3-5 business days for the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office to process Articles of Incorporation.
What is the difference between a non-profit and a for-profit corporation in West Virginia?
A non-profit corporation in West Virginia is organized for a charitable, educational, or religious purpose, whereas a for-profit corporation is organized for the purpose of making a profit.
What are the benefits of forming a non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
Benefits of forming a non-profit corporation in West Virginia include tax-exempt status, limited liability for board members, and the ability to apply for grants and funding.
What are the downsides of forming a non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
Some potential downsides of forming a non-profit corporation in West Virginia include the amount of paperwork and regulations involved, the risk of financial instability, and the potential for conflicts of interest with board members.
Is a non-profit corporation in West Virginia required to have a board of directors?
Yes, a non-profit corporation in West Virginia is required to have a board of directors.
How many board members must a non-profit corporation in West Virginia have?
A non-profit corporation in West Virginia must have at least three board members.
What are the duties of a board member of a non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
The duties of a board member of a non-profit corporation in West Virginia include overseeing the organization’s financial and operational affairs, hiring and managing executive staff, and developing long-term strategies.
Can the board members of a non-profit corporation in West Virginia be paid?
Board members of a non-profit corporation in West Virginia may be paid for services rendered to the organization, but they may not be compensated for serving on the board itself.
How is a non-profit corporation in West Virginia taxed?
A non-profit corporation in West Virginia is typically exempt from state and federal income taxes if it meets certain criteria.
How can I apply for tax-exempt status for my non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
To apply for tax-exempt status for a non-profit corporation in West Virginia, file Form 1023 with the Internal Revenue Service.
Does my non-profit corporation in West Virginia need to obtain any other permits or licenses?
Depending on the nature of your non-profit corporation’s activities, it may need to obtain additional permits or licenses from the state of West Virginia or local governments.
Is there a limit to how much non-profit corporations can spend in lobbying efforts in West Virginia?
Yes, non-profit corporations in West Virginia are subject to limitations on the amount they can spend on lobbying efforts.
Can employees of non-profit corporations in West Virginia be covered by workers’ compensation insurance?
Yes, employees of non-profit corporations in West Virginia are entitled to workers’ compensation insurance.
Can I use my West Virginia-based non-profit corporation to support causes in other states or countries?
Yes, non-profit corporations can support causes in other states or countries as long as the activities of the organization contribute to its stated purpose.
What is the annual reporting requirement for non-profit corporations in West Virginia?
Non-profit corporations in West Virginia must file an Annual Report with the Secretary of State by July 1st of each year.
What happens if I do not file the correct paperwork for my non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
Failure to file the correct paperwork for a non-profit corporation in West Virginia can result in the loss of tax-exempt status and other penalties.
Can I convert a for-profit corporation to a non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
Yes, you can convert a for-profit corporation to a non-profit corporation in West Virginia by filing appropriate paperwork with the Secretary of State’s office.
What are the requirements for fundraising by non-profit corporations in West Virginia?
Non-profit corporations in West Virginia must register with the West Virginia Secretary of State and disclose certain financial information before engaging in fundraising activities.
Can a non-profit corporation in West Virginia own and operate a for-profit subsidiary?
Yes, a non-profit corporation in West Virginia can own and operate a for-profit subsidiary as long as the subsidiary’s activities further the non-profit’s purposes and are not for the sole purpose of generating profit.
Does a non-profit corporation in West Virginia need to have a physical address?
Yes, a non-profit corporation in West Virginia must have a physical address where it can be served with legal documents and contacted by the public.
Is there a residency requirement for the officers and board members of a non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
There is no residency requirement for the officers and board members of a non-profit corporation in West Virginia.
Can a non-profit corporation in West Virginia donate to political campaigns?
No, non-profit corporations in West Virginia are prohibited from making donations to political campaigns or candidates.
Can a non-profit corporation in West Virginia engage in lobbying efforts?
Yes, non-profit corporations in West Virginia can engage in lobbying efforts as long as the lobbying activities are not excessive and do not constitute a substantial portion of the organization’s activities.
Where can I find resources and assistance in starting a non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
The West Virginia Secretary of State’s office and non-profit organizations such as Foundation for the Tri-State Community and the West Virginia Nonprofit Association can provide resources and assistance in starting a non-profit corporation in West Virginia.
What is the difference between a 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation in West Virginia?
A 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation in West Virginia is organized for religious, charitable, educational or scientific purposes, while a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation is organized for social welfare and political purposes.
Can my non-profit corporation in West Virginia collect donations through online fundraising platforms?
Yes, non-profit corporations in West Virginia can use online fundraising platforms such as GoFundMe and Kickstarter to collect donations, as long as they comply with state and federal regulations.

Also Read

Why You Should Start West Virginia Nonprofit

One of the reasons to start a nonprofit in West Virginia is the sense of community found within the state. West Virginians are known for their strong bonds, genuine care for one another, and willingness to help those in need. By setting up a nonprofit in such a community-oriented place, you are more likely to receive support, both financially and through volunteers, from the local population. This can greatly benefit your organization and help you achieve your goals more effectively.

Another reason to consider starting a nonprofit in West Virginia is the state’s beautiful natural landscape. West Virginia is home to stunning mountains, lush forests, and picturesque rivers. By setting up your nonprofit in such a scenic environment, you are sure to attract individuals who are passionate about environmental conservation and eager to contribute to your cause. Additionally, your organization can take advantage of the state’s outdoor recreational opportunities to hold events, raise awareness, and connect with the local community.

Furthermore, West Virginia offers a relatively affordable cost of living compared to other states, making it easier for your nonprofit to operate on a budget. This can be especially beneficial for small organizations just starting and looking to make a difference without breaking the bank. Lower overhead costs and general expenses can allow you to allocate more resources towards your mission and programs, ultimately benefiting the people you aim to serve.

In addition to financial benefits, West Virginia also provides numerous resources and support systems for nonprofits within the state. From networking opportunities to workshops and training sessions, there are plenty of avenues for you to connect with other organizations, learn from experienced leaders, and grow your impact. The sense of camaraderie and collaboration among nonprofits in West Virginia can help you navigate the challenges of running an organization and ensure your success in making a difference in the community.

Finally, starting a nonprofit in West Virginia can give you the opportunity to engage with a diverse population and address a wide range of social issues. Whether you are passionate about education, healthcare, poverty alleviation, or environmental protection, there is a need for nonprofits across various sectors in the state. By establishing your organization in West Virginia, you can tailor your mission to address the unique needs of the local community and make a positive impact on a broader scale.

Overall, the decision to start a nonprofit in West Virginia can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for both you and the people you serve. With a strong sense of community, beautiful natural environment, affordable cost of living, ample resources, and diverse population, West Virginia offers an ideal setting for organizations looking to make a difference and create lasting change. So why wait? Take the leap and start your nonprofit in West Virginia today.

Conclusion

Starting a nonprofit corporation is a rewarding and challenging endeavor that requires careful planning, dedication, and a thorough understanding of the various legal and financial requirements. By following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well on your way to creating a nonprofit that makes a meaningful difference in your community. As you embark on this journey, remember to stay focused on your mission and your organization’s impact on the lives of those you serve. Never underestimate the power of a passionate, committed team working together to improve the world.

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