How to File Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation in New Mexico

Starting a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in New Mexico 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 New Mexico.

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Getting Started

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

Step 1: List Your Nonprofit’s Name

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

  • Your nonprofit’s name must be distinguishable from any other name on record within the state of New Mexico, including any reserved names.
  • Your nonprofit’s name can’t imply the organization’s purpose is anything other than what’s stated in the Articles of Incorporation.
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Recommended: For a step-by-step guide to naming your nonprofit corporation in New Mexico, read our guide on How to Name a Nonprofit in New Mexico.

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.

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

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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. That purpose 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

Next, check the appropriate box to indicate whether or not your nonprofit elects to be designated as a benefit corporation. If yes, include the benefit purpose.

Step 3: Disclose Your Nonprofit’s Duration

Most incorporators form their nonprofit corporations without a specific end date in mind. If this applies to your organization, check the “perpetual” box in article three. If your nonprofit does have a limited duration, check that box and disclose a specific end date or the number of years of existence.

Step 4: Choose a Registered Agent

A registered agent is required to file the Articles of Incorporation in New Mexico. Either an individual or a corporation with a physical address in New Mexico 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
  • Your registered agent’s street address (this can’t include a P.O. Box)
  • Your registered agent’s mailing address (if it differs from their street address)
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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 5: Provide the Address of Your Principal Place of Business

Next, provide the physical address of your nonprofit’s principal place of business (a P.O. Box alone won’t suffice). If your organization’s mailing address differs from its principal place of business, list that as well.

Step 6: Name Your Initial Board of Directors

Name your initial board of directors and their street addresses. To qualify for 501(c)(3) status and complete this formation document, you must name at least three directors. If you have more than three initial directors, use an attachment to provide each additional director’s name and address.

When listing your nonprofit’s initial board of directors, follow these guidelines:

  • 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 New Mexico article.

Step 7: List Your Incorporator Information

An incorporator is any person who participates in the completion and submission of the Articles of Incorporation. In this section, each incorporator must provide their name, address, and signature.

Step 8: Complete Additional Required Forms

In New Mexico, you must submit these two forms along with your Articles of Incorporation:

  • Statement of Acceptance of Appointment by Designated Initial Registered Agent
  • Document Delivery Instruction Form

Your Articles of Incorporation also must include some additional statements in order for your nonprofit corporation to qualify for 501(c)(3) status. Because the New Mexico formation document doesn’t include a section related to the distribution of assets 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: File Formation Documents

The New Mexico Articles of Incorporation can only be filed by mail. You must also file the Statement of Acceptance of Appointment by Designated Initial Registered Agent as well as the Document Delivery Instruction Form — both of which are included in the file.

File the New Mexico Articles of Incorporation

File by Mail With the New Mexico Secretary of State

Download Form

Fee: $50

Mailing Address:
New Mexico Secretary of State, Business Services Division
325 Don Gaspar, Suite 300
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Frequently Asked Questions

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

To start a 501(c)(3) organization in New Mexico, you must file the Nonprofit Corporation - Articles of Incorporation form with the New Mexico Secretary of State following these IRS guidelines.

Once the state of New Mexico 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 New Mexico?

Filing formation documents for a domestic nonprofit corporation in New Mexico costs $25.

How do I find nonprofits in New Mexico?

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

New Mexico Nonprofit Quick Links

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