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What are Articles of Incorporation?

Jul 6, 2018 9:00:00 AM / by Courtney Pellegrini




Starting a nonprofit is a big endeavor. Where do you begin after having that initial idea?

The first step towards starting a fully tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is to file for incorporation with your state. After your application has been approved, you’ll receive your nonprofit Articles of Incorporation, which is the official set of documents that creates your nonprofit corporation within your state. Once you’re incorporated, you can apply for an EIN, open a bank account, and start accepting donations.

Here’s how the process works:

  1. Find the application form. Every state has a different incorporation application. You can find your specific nonprofit incorporation application on your Secretary of State Department website. Most states have a downloadable form that you can file electronically (although you can also print an application to send to your Secretary of State’s office).

  2. Fill out the application form. Although the incorporation application varies slightly by state, in every state you’ll need to provide some basic information about your nonprofit, including:
    • A primary address (this must be a valid physical address)
    • Your mission statement/purpose
    • Name and address of your registered agent (must be a resident of the state)

  3. Pay the application fee and submit your application. The filing fee for incorporation applications varies by state, ranging anywhere from $10-$170. You can usually pay this fee online through your Secretary of State website.

  4. Receive your Articles of Incorporation. Once you’ve submitted your application, you should receive a response within 10 business days. If your application is approved, you’ll receive your Articles of Incorporation at this time.

Congratulations on incorporating your nonprofit! Now it’s time to move onto step 2: applying for tax-exemption.

(Not sure what the requirements are for incorporating in your state? Check out the ExemptMeNow blog to find specific instructions on how to incorporate a nonprofit in your state!)

Still overwhelmed? ExemptMeNow helps you through the process of starting your nonprofit, all the way from idea to 501(c)(3) status. Click the button below to schedule a free consultation and start your nonprofit today! 

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Topics: articles of incorporation, how to start a nonprofit, Incorporation