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Idaho Nonprofit Service We’re Just Not Annoying®

How to Start a Nonprofit in Idaho

To incorporate a nonprofit in Idaho, file nonprofit Articles of Incorporation with the Idaho Secretary of State. This filing officially creates your organization, but it is really just one step toward pursuing your nonprofit’s goals. The main steps to forming an Idaho nonprofit are as follows:

  1. File Idaho nonprofit Articles of Incorporation
  2. Get a Federal EIN tax ID from the IRS
  3. Register for Idaho state tax accounts and permits
  4. Hold your organizational meeting and adopt bylaws
  5. Apply for federal and/or state tax exemptions
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Idaho nonprofit Articles of Incorporation free download. The state has moved to an online system but will still accept the old paper form (although they charge an additional $20 fee).

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How To File Idaho Nonprofit Articles Of Incorporation

To form an Idaho nonprofit, file nonprofit Articles of Incorporation using the following steps:
Step 1 Choose a name for your new nonprofit
Step 2 Describe your nonprofit’s purpose
Step 3 Decide if your nonprofit will have members
Step 4 Plan for how to distribute your nonprofit’s assets if it ever shuts down
Step 5 Decide which address you’d like to list publicly
Step 6 Decide if you want to hire a registered agent service to minimize public disclosures
Step 7 Appoint at least one incorporator to sign and submit your Articles
Step 8 Appoint your nonprofit’s initial directors (at least three)
Step 9 Start an account at the Idaho Secretary of State’s website, file your nonprofit Articles of Incorporation online, and pay $31 with a credit card (includes a $1 credit card processing fee); or print and mail your Articles to the Office of the Secretary of State / 450 N 4th St / PO Box 83720 with a check or money order for $50 (includes an extra $20 fee to process a paper filing)

How Long Does it Take to Start an Idaho Nonprofit?



File by mail or online and wait around 8 days for a response. Or you can hire Northwest to form your nonprofit, answer a few questions online, and let our expert filers prepare and submit your articles online for you.

How Much Does It Cost To Incorporate An Idaho Nonprofit?

Idaho charges a $30 base fee to file nonprofit Articles of Incorporation, but the grand total changes depending on your filing method. If you file online through Idaho’s new online filing system at the Secretary of State’s website, you’ll pay $31 (the filing fee plus a $1 credit card transaction fee). If you print and mail your Articles, you’ll pay $50 instead (the $30 filing fee plus a $20 fee, which is more like a penalty, for the state to process a paper filing). If it isn’t already obvious, Idaho really wants everyone to file online!

Hire Northwest to form your nonprofit, and your total, which includes a full year of registered agent serviced, is $256 for 8-day online filing.

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What Is The Idaho Nonprofit Annual Report?

Idaho requires nonprofits to submit an annual report updating (or confirming) the state’s information about your nonprofit, including your corporate name and registered agent information (among other details). There is no filing fee, and the report is always due at the end of the anniversary month of your nonprofit’s incorporation. The Idaho Secretary of State only accepts annual reports submitted online.

When you hire Northwest, we’ll send you reports reminding you of the deadlines for your annual reports, but you can also avoid the hassle altogether by adding our convenient Idaho Annual Report Service for an additional $100.

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Will My Idaho Nonprofit Be Tax-Exempt?

That depends. Nonprofit corporations are not automatically tax-exempt, but it is possible to achieve federal tax-exempt status by submitting an Application for Recognition of Exemption to the IRS, paying a $275 or $600 filing fee (depending on your nonprofit’s size and nature), and waiting around 3-6 months while the IRS examines your organization’s structure, purpose, and finances. Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code describes more than two dozen different types of tax-exempt organizations, but most nonprofits seek 501(c)(3) status for public charities and private foundations. If your Idaho nonprofit intends to seek 501(c)(3) status, make sure your Articles of Incorporation include a statement of purpose and dissolution clause using the specific tax-exempt language required by the IRS.

If your nonprofit obtains federal tax-exempt status, it won’t have to pay the Idaho corporate income tax either. However, most nonprofits (including churches and charities) pay the state’s sales tax when purchasing or selling goods. Learn more at Northwest’s guide to Idaho state tax exemptions.

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Is An Idaho Registered Agent Required?

Yes, the state requires nonprofits to maintain an Idaho registered agent to receive service of process (legal notices) at a publicly listed Idaho street address. You can appoint yourself, a willing associate, or a commercial registered agent service like Northwest, but it’s important to know what the job involves before taking it on yourself. The address you list will likely get targeted by junk mail, data-sellers, and salespeople, which can come with a lot of hassles if you list your residential address or the address of your own office. And a registered agent actually has to be available at this address during business hours, not holding meetings, traveling, meeting with donors, soliciting donations door to door, or doing any number of things usually essential to managing and growing a new nonprofit.

A better option? Hire Northwest to be your Idaho registered agent. You won’t have to worry about being tied to your desk all day, missing a service of process, or finding your mailbox overflowing, and you can preserve your privacy by listing our Idaho street address on your nonprofit’s Articles of Incorporation. If we ever do receive a service of process on behalf of your nonprofit, we’ll scan it and send it to you on the day we receive it.

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Do I Have To Register My Nonprofit As A Charity In Idaho?

No. Unlike most state governments, Idaho doesn’t require charitable nonprofits to register with the state to solicit contributions.

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Do I Need A Tax ID Number (EIN) For My Idaho Nonprofit?

Definitely. A federal employer identification number (FEIN or EIN) is a little like your nonprofit’s social security number, and you’ll need one to seek federal tax-exempt status from the IRS, establish trustworthy relationships with donors, and even (in most cases) to open a bank account in your nonprofit’s name.

After the state approves your Articles of Incorporation, you can apply for an EIN at the IRS website or by phone. Or you can bypass the hassle altogether by adding our EIN service for an extra fee when you hire Northwest.

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Does My Idaho Nonprofit Need A Business License?

Idaho doesn’t require nonprofits (or any businesses) to purchase a general, statewide business license, but some cities and counties have licensing requirements of their own. Contact your city clerk’s office to find out if your new nonprofit requires any special licenses or permits to get going.

Should My Nonprofit Register For Idaho State Tax Accounts?

Most likely. Depending on the nature of your nonprofit’s activities, you might need to register for a seller’s permit and withholding account from the Idaho State Tax Commission. File the Idaho Business Registration application, on the State Tax Commission’s website, to register.

Can I Register An Out Of State Nonprofit In Idaho?

Yes. To expand your out of state nonprofit to Idaho (also called a “foreign nonprofit”), file a Certificate of Authority with the Idaho Secretary of State. Learn more at Northwest’s guide to Idaho foreign nonprofit corporations.

Does An Idaho Nonprofit Need Bylaws?

Absolutely! Idaho requires nonprofits to adopt bylaws at their first official meeting. This is the meeting where you’ll also elect directors, appoint officers, and take care of any other official business necessary to fully complete your organization’s formation and begin its operations. If your nonprofit intends to seek 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt status, be sure to adopt your bylaws before submitting the Application for Recognition of Exemption to the IRS.

Why do bylaws matter? Because they provide clear answers to important structural and procedural questions in advance and hence allow your nonprofit’s directors to guide the organization along a single, cohesive path. Will your nonprofit have voting members? Will those members be divided into distinct classes with different rights and responsibilities? How long is a director’s tenure? What are the secretary’s responsibilities? Without clear answers to questions like these, your nonprofit is truly flying blind.

It’s difficult to write bylaws, but Northwest can help. When you sign up for our registered agent service or hire us to form your nonprofit, you can also use our adaptable template for writing nonprofit bylaws, as well as our other free nonprofit forms, to help you get started. Why? Because we want your business year after year, and that means we want you to start out successful and stay successful.

Idaho Nonprofit Articles Of Incorporation Requirements

Account Creation

To file your Articles of Incorporation yourself online and otherwise operate your Idaho nonprofit, you’ll need to set up a user account at Setting up an account is free and easy.

Corporate Name

Your nonprofit’s name must be distinguishable from other organizations on record with the Idaho Secretary of State, and the name can’t falsely suggest a connection with the government or a purpose other those allowed by Idaho law. The name must also contain a corporate suffix (such as “corporation,” “incorporated,” or “inc.”). You can do a business search at the Idaho Secretary of State’s website to see if your nonprofit’s name is available. You can also reserve a name for up to 4 months by submitting an Application for Reservation of Corporate Name Form to the ID Secretary of State’s office.

Effective Date

Your nonprofit’s effective date is simply the date its operations officially begin. An effective is usually the date on which the Secretary of State files your articles, but Idaho allows nonprofits to delay their effective dates up 90 days after filing.


Idaho doesn’t require a detailed statement of purpose (indicating your nonprofit’s purpose as “the transaction of lawful activity” would be enough), but if your nonprofit intends to seek 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt status, you’ll need to include a detailed statement of purpose using the specific tax-exempt language required by the IRS.


Indicate if your nonprofit will have members. A member is usually an individual (or business entity) entitled to vote in the election of your nonprofit’s directors.

Dissolution of Assets

Describe how your nonprofit will distribute its assets upon its dissolution (that is, if it ever shuts down). If your nonprofit intends to seek 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt status, make sure your dissolution clause includes the specific language required by the IRS, which serves to guarantee that your nonprofit never enriches its members or anyone else. The IRS won’t recognize a nonprofit as tax-exempt unless it permanently dedicates its income and assets to one or more recognized exempt purposes.

Mailing Address

Include a mailing address for your nonprofit. When you hire Northwest, you can put our Idaho mailing address here.

Registered Agent and Registered Office

Include the name and Idaho street address of your nonprofit’s registered agent—the person or business in Idaho authorized to receive service of process (legal notices) on your nonprofit’s behalf. When you hire Northwest as your registered agent service, the address of our Idaho office goes here.


List the name and address of each of your nonprofit’s incorporators. An incorporator is simply the person authorized to complete, sign, and submit your Articles of Incorporation. When you hire Northwest to form your nonprofit, we’ll be your incorporator.

Initial Directors

List the names and addresses of your nonprofit’s initial board of directors. Your Articles of Incorporation must list at least three (3) directors.

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by Local Corporate Guides®