How to File Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation in Idaho

Starting a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Idaho is easy — and the first task is filing your Articles of Incorporation. This guide will walk you through the nine steps required to file the Articles of Incorporation to officially start a nonprofit in Idaho.


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Getting Started

To start a domestic nonprofit corporation in Idaho, you must file the Articles of Incorporation (Nonprofit). This guide covers each step you must take to fill out this document successfully and get on the right track to forming an Idaho nonprofit.

Step 1: List Your Nonprofit’s Name

The first step to filling out the Idaho Articles of Incorporation is to list your organization’s name. If you haven’t gone through the process of establishing a name for your organization, here are the requirements for naming a nonprofit in Idaho:

  • Your nonprofit’s name must be distinguishable from any other name on record within the state of Idaho, including any reserved names.
  • Your nonprofit’s name must include “corporation,” “incorporated,” “company,” or “limited,” or the abbreviation “Corp.,” “Inc.,” “Co.,” or “Ltd.”
  • Your nonprofit’s name can’t imply it’s affiliated with a government office.
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Recommended: For a step-by-step guide to naming your nonprofit corporation in Idaho, read our guide on How to Name a Nonprofit in Idaho.

Search the Availability of Your Name

After selecting potential names — ideally, at least four or five — it’s important to search for their availability in your state. You can do this by conducting the four recommended searches outlined below, or use our 501(c)(3) Lookup Table.

Idaho Business Search
To operate in Idaho, a nonprofit corporation must have a unique name. You can easily check if your chosen name is available by performing a search using the Idaho Business Search tool.

Domain Name Search
We strongly recommend that you also check to see if your business name is available as a web domain (URL). Even if you don't plan to create a business website today, you may want to buy the web address to prevent others from acquiring that domain name. It’s a free search.

Find a Domain Now

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Federal Trademark Search
You can easily check if someone already trademarked your chosen nonprofit name by using the federal Trademark Electronic Search System. This is important even if you don’t plan to form your nonprofit right away.

Once you confirm that no one else already trademarked your chosen name, you can apply for a trademark for your nonprofit.

Web and Social Media Search
A strong social media presence will play a key role in expanding your reach to potential donors as well as clients that will use your services. That makes it important to search the web and popular social media platforms for your desired name before registering it to ensure it’s available on all the platforms where you plan to promote your organization.

Step 2: Describe Your Nonprofit’s Purpose

In article two, describe your nonprofit’s purpose. It must include one or more of the following characteristics for your nonprofit to be eligible for 501(c)(3) status:

  • Charitable
  • Religious
  • Educational
  • Scientific
  • Literary
  • Testing for public safety
  • Fostering national/international amateur sports competition
  • Preventing cruelty to animals/children

Step 3: Choose a Registered Agent

A registered agent is required to file the Articles of Incorporation in Idaho. Either an individual or a business entity with authorization to conduct business in the state of Idaho may fill this role. A registered agent’s responsibilities include accepting and forwarding service of process documents for the corporation as well as serving as a point of contact for the entity.

Requirements for this section include:

  • The name of your chosen registered agent
  • The street address of your chosen registered agent (this can’t be a P.O. Box)
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Recommended: Using an affordable registered agent service offers many benefits. For more information on choosing a registered agent service, read our full guide.

Step 4: Name Your Initial Board of Directors

In article four, you must name a minimum of three board directors along with a mailing address for each. When listing your nonprofit’s initial board of directors, follow these requirements:

  • Don’t include any prefixes, such as “Mr.” or “Ms.”
  • If applicable, use titles of lineage.
  • If applicable, use designations like “M.D.” or “Ph.D.”

For a complete guide to forming your nonprofit’s board of directors, read our How to Develop a Board of Directors for a Nonprofit in Idaho article.

Step 5: List Your Incorporator Information

An incorporator is any person who participates in the completion and submission of the Articles of Incorporation. At least one incorporator must list their name and mailing address in article five of your formation document.

Step 6: Include Your Nonprofit’s Mailing Address

In article six, provide your nonprofit’s initial mailing address.

Step 7: Confirm Any Voting Members

Confirm whether or not your nonprofit will have voting members by checking the appropriate box in article seven.

Step 8: Outline the Distribution of Assets Upon Dissolution

Describe how your nonprofit corporation’s assets will be distributed upon dissolution. If additional space is needed, use an attachment.

To qualify for 501(c)(3) status, your nonprofit must distribute its assets upon dissolution to approved, tax-exempt purposes only. For more information about the requirements of dissolution and 501(c)(3) status, refer to the sixth section of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS’) suggested language for corporations and associations.

Step 9: File Formation Documents

There are three ways to file your Articles of Incorporation in Idaho: online, by mail, or in person.

File the Idaho Articles of Incorporation

OPTION 1: File Online With the Idaho Secretary of State

File Online

- OR -

OPTION 2: File by Mail or in Person

Download Form


Fee: $30 online, $50 by mail or in person

Mailing Address:
Office of the Secretary of State
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720-0080

Office Address:
Office of the Secretary of State
450 N. 4th Street
Boise, ID 83720-0080

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to start a nonprofit in Idaho?

Filing Articles of Incorporation for a domestic nonprofit corporation in Idaho by mail or in person costs $50 while online submissions cost $30.

How do I start a nonprofit corporation in Idaho?

To form a nonprofit corporation in Idaho, you must complete and submit the Articles of Incorporation (Nonprofit) to the Idaho Secretary of State. For more information about completing this process, refer to our guide on starting a nonprofit in Idaho.

How do I find nonprofits in Idaho?

Use our handy Idaho 501(c)(3) Lookup Table to find nonprofits in Idaho. You can use this tool to see if your preferred nonprofit name is in use or not.

Idaho Nonprofit Quick Links

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