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The first step in forming a 501(c)(3) charity in North Carolina is to file your Articles of Incorporation. This article will help you through the 11 steps necessary to submit the Articles of Incorporation in North Carolina and formally create a charity.

Starting Over

You must submit the Articles of Incorporation – Nonprofit Company in North Carolina to form a domestic nonprofit corporation. This tutorial will walk you through each step of completing this paperwork and getting started on the path to founding a charity in North Carolina.

Step 1: Enter the Name of Your Nonprofit

Step 2: Select Your Corporation Type

Step 3: Select a Registered Agent
Step 4: Make a list of your incorporators.
Step 5: Confirm any additional members
Step 6: Finish the 501(c)(3) Attachment.
Step 7: Provide Your Main Office Address Step 8: (Optional) List Company Officials
Step 9: Provide a Business Email Address (Optional).
Step 10: Determine the Effective Date of Your Filing
Step 11: Documents for File Formation

Step 1: List the Name of Your Nonprofit

The first step in completing your North Carolina Articles of Incorporation is to specify the name of your nonprofit company. If you haven’t yet decided on a name for your charity, these are the criteria for naming a nonprofit in North Carolina:

Your nonprofit’s name must be distinct from any other name on file in North Carolina, including any reserved names.
Your nonprofit’s name can’t include any terms or phrases that indicate a purpose other than what’s mentioned in the Articles of Incorporation.
Your nonprofit’s name must not include any words or phrases that are deemed very derogatory.

Look for the Availability of Your Name
Following the selection of prospective names — preferably, at least four or five — it’s essential to check their availability in your state. You may do this by completing the four suggested searches listed below.

North Carolina Corporation Lookup
A nonprofit company must have a distinct name in order to function in North Carolina. You may simply verify whether your preferred name is available by utilising the North Carolina Business Entity Search tool.

Domain Name Lookup
We highly advise you to additionally check to see whether your company name is accessible as a web domain (URL). Even if you don’t intend to construct a company website right away, you should purchase the domain name to prevent others from gaining it. It’s a completely free search.

Federal Trademark Lookup
Using the federal Trademark Electronic Search System, you may quickly see whether your preferred charity name has already been trademarked. Even if you do not intend to create your charity right immediately, this is essential.

You may register for a trademark for your organisation after you have confirmed that no one else has previously trademarked your selected name.

Search the Web and Social Media
A robust social media presence will play a crucial part in broadening your reach to prospective contributors as well as customers that will employ your services. As a result, before registering your preferred name, check the web and prominent social media platforms for it to confirm it is accessible on all platforms where you want to advertise your group.

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Step 2: Specify the Type of Corporation

If your nonprofit company is a benevolent or religious organisation, tick the box in article two. If not, leave it empty.

Step 3: Select a Registered Agent.

In North Carolina, the Articles of Incorporation must be filed with a registered agent. This position may be filled by either a person or a company having a physical address in North Carolina. A registered agent’s duties include receiving and sending service of process paperwork for the company as well as acting as the entity’s point of contact.

Articles three and four have the following requirements:

Name of your registered agent
The street address of your registered agent (this cannot contain a P.O. Box).
The postal address of your registered agent (if it differs from their street address; a P.O. Box is acceptable here)

Step 4: Make a list of your incorporators.

Any individual who takes part in the completion and filing of the Articles of Incorporation is considered an incorporator. In article five, include the name and address of each incorporator.

Step 5: Confirm any additional members

Check the relevant check in item six to indicate whether or not your organisation will have members.

Step 6: Complete the 501(c)(3) Attachment

You must include certain extra declarations with your Articles of Incorporation in order for your organisation to qualify for 501(c)(3) status. In North Carolina, you may do so by generating and sending an attachment containing the information shown below. See the state’s 501(c)(3) Attachment – General Information form for further information.

Outline the Asset Distribution Upon Dissolution
Describe how the assets of your nonprofit company will be divided if it is dissolved.

Dissolution assets must only be distributed for authorised, tax-exempt uses. Refer to the sixth section of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS’) proposed wording for corporations and organisations for further information on the requirements of dissolution and 501(c)(3) status.

Create Your First Board of Directors
Name your initial board of directors and provide each with a street address. Your organisation must have at least three directors to qualify for 501(c)(3) status. Read our How to Develop a Board of Directors for a Nonprofit in North Carolina article for a comprehensive guide on creating your nonprofit’s board of directors.

Describe the Goal of Your Nonprofit
For your organisation to be qualified for 501(c)(3) status, it must have one or more of the following characteristics:

Public safety testing
promoting amateur sports competition on a national and worldwide scale
Preventing animal/child cruelty

Step 7: Give Us Your Main Office Address

In this area, provide the street location and phone number of your nonprofit corporation’s main office. If your organisation has a separate postal address, provide that as well.

Step 8: (Optional) Identify Company Representatives

While you are not required to complete this part in order to submit your Articles of Incorporation, designating your corporation’s officers here may assist the organisation comply with federal banking requirements.

Step 9: Provide a Business Email Address (Optional).

This information is also not necessary for the filing of your formation paperwork. The Secretary of State will give you updates on your file if you provide a business email address.

Step 10: Determine the Effective Date of Your Filing

Choose whether you want your filing to take effect immediately or at a later date.

Please keep in mind that your prospective effective date must be within 90 days of filing.

Step 11: Documents for File Formation

You may submit your North Carolina Articles of Incorporation online, via mail, or in person. You may either submit a PDF form to the North Carolina Secretary of State’s website for online filings, or you can utilise their “creations wizard” to complete everything online.

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