How to File Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation in Louisiana

Starting a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Louisiana is easy — and the first task is filing your Articles of Incorporation. This guide will walk you through the 12 steps required to file the Articles of Incorporation to officially start a nonprofit in Louisiana.

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Getting Started

To start a domestic nonprofit corporation in Louisiana, you must file the Articles of Incorporation - Domestic Non-Profit Corporation. This guide covers each step you must take to fill out this document successfully and get on the right track to forming a Louisiana nonprofit.

Step 1: List Your Nonprofit’s Name and Parish

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

  • Your nonprofit’s name must be distinguishable from any other name on record within the state of Louisiana, including any reserved names.
  • Your nonprofit’s name must end with “company,” “corporation,” “limited,” or the abbreviation “Corp.,” “Inc.,” “Co.,” or “Ltd.”
  • Your nonprofit’s name can’t include words or phrases that consist of or comprise immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matters.
  • Your nonprofit’s name can’t imply that it’s associated with the state or a political entity.
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Recommended: For a step-by-step guide to naming your nonprofit corporation in Louisiana, read our guide on How to Name a Nonprofit in Louisiana.

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.

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

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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, either describe your nonprofit’s purpose or select the first option: “Engaging in any lawful activity for which corporations may be formed under Chapter 2, Title 12, of the La. Revised Statutes.”

Your nonprofit’s purpose must include one or more of the following characteristics 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: Establish Your Nonprofit’s Duration

Most incorporators don’t have a specific duration in mind for their nonprofit corporations when filing formation documents. If your organization does have an end date, list that here. Otherwise, simply write “perpetual” in article three.

Step 4: Provide Your Nonprofit’s Registered Office Address

In article five, provide the municipal address of your nonprofit corporation’s registered office. This can’t be only a P.O. Box.

Step 5: Choose a Registered Agent

A registered agent is required to file the Articles of Incorporation in Louisiana. Almost anyone that’s of legal age and a legal resident of Louisiana 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. Your corporation can’t serve as its own registered agent.

Requirements for this section include:

  • The name of your chosen registered agent
  • The municipal address of your chosen registered agent (this can’t be only 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 6: List Your Incorporator Information

An incorporator is any person who participates in the completion and submission of the Articles of Incorporation. List the name and address of each of your nonprofit’s incorporators in article seven, using an attachment if you need more space.

Step 7: Name Your Initial Board of Directors

In article eight, name your board of directors and include a municipal address for each. In order to complete this document and qualify for 501(c)(3) status, you must list at least three directors.

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 Louisiana article.

Step 8: Provide Any Additional Attachments

In order to qualify for 501(c)(3) status, you must include some additional statements in your Articles of Incorporation. Because the Louisiana formation document doesn’t include a section related to asset distribution upon dissolution, use an attachment to describe how your nonprofit corporation’s assets will be distributed upon its dissolution.

Distribution of assets upon dissolution must be for 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: Provide Incorporator and Notary Signatures

Your Articles of Incorporation must include the signature of at least one incorporator. In addition, you must have this formation document officially notarized.

Step 10: Include Consent From Your Registered Agent

Your chosen registered agent must consent to their role by signing your Articles of Incorporation. Like the previous section, this section also requires a notary’s signature.

Step 11: Complete the Transmittal Information Form

The Transmittal Information form communicates your requested processing time (routine, expedite, or priority expedite) as well as any additional fees, if applicable.

To complete this form, include your business name, the name and mailing address of the person filing the document, a phone number, a fax number, and an email address.

Step 12: File Formation Documents

There are four ways to file your Louisiana Articles of Incorporation: online, by mail, by fax, or in person.

File the Louisiana Articles of Incorporation

OPTION 1: File Online With Louisiana geauBIZ

File Online

- OR -

OPTION 2: File by Mail, by Fax, or in Person

Download Form

Fee: $75

Mailing Address:
Commercial Division
P.O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125

Office Address:
Louisiana Secretary of State
8585 Archives Ave.
Baton Rouge, LA 70809

Fax: (225) 932-5314

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start a 501(c)(3) in Louisiana?

To start a 501(c)(3) organization in Louisiana, you must file the Articles of Incorporation - Domestic Non-Profit Corporation with the Louisiana Secretary of State following these IRS guidelines.

Once the state of Louisiana processes your formation documents, you may then complete the application process for 501(c)(3) status with the IRS.

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

Filing the Articles of Incorporation for a domestic nonprofit corporation in Louisiana costs $75.

How do I find nonprofits in Louisiana?

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

Louisiana Nonprofit Quick Links

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