What are articles of incorporation?

Articles of incorporation must be filed with the appropriate state division, typically the Secretary of State’s Office. Doing so will give the nonprofit corporate status and all the rights and privileges that come with it. At a minimum, you will need to have the following information available when completing the articles of incorporation:

  • The name of the corporation
  • The principal place of business
  • A statement of the primary purpose of the organization
  • The name and address of the registered agent
  • The nonprofit’s planned duration (either a fixed date or perpetual)
  • The names and addresses of the initial members or incorporators

If you are required to provide a statement of the nonprofit’s principal purpose, then you will need to provide a statement that falls under one or more of the exempt purposes under section 501(c)(3) of the IRC: "religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competitions (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals." This is necessary to qualify for income tax exemption when you apply for nonprofit status with the IRS.