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Mississippi Nonprofit Service We’re Just Not Annoying®

How to Start a Nonprofit in Mississippi

To incorporate a nonprofit in Mississippi, you will need to file nonprofit Articles of Incorporation with the Mississippi Secretary of State. This filing will officially create your corporation, but it is really just one step toward pursuing your nonprofit’s goals. The complete steps to forming a Mississippi nonprofit are as follows:

  1. File nonprofit Articles of Incorporation
  2. Get a state business ID
  3. Get a federal EIN tax ID from the IRS
  4. Hold your organizational meeting and adopt bylaws
  5. Register your nonprofit with the MS State Tax Commission
  6. Apply for federal and/or state tax exemptions
  7. Register as a charity
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Mississippi nonprofit Articles of Incorporation free download. When you’re done filling out the form, submit it to your state.

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How to File Mississippi Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation

To form a Mississippi nonprofit, file nonprofit Articles of Incorporation using the following steps:
Step 1 Choose a name for your new nonprofit
Step 2 Decide what email address you’d like to list publicly
Step 3 Decide if you want to delay your nonprofit’s effective date (up to 90 days after filing) and how long you want your organization to exist
Step 4 Indicate the nature of your nonprofit’s activities
Step 5 Decide if you want to hire a registered agent service to minimize public disclosures
Step 6 Appoint an incorporator to sign and submit your Articles
Step 7 File online at the Mississippi Secretary of State’s website and pay $50 with a credit card (plus a $3 convenience fee), or print your completed Articles and mail to the Mississippi Secretary of State Business Services / PO Box 136 / Jackson, MS 30205-0136 with a check for $50

How Long Does it Take to Start a Mississippi Nonprofit?

1

Fast: 1 day

Prepare your Articles of Incorporation yourself, file online, and expect a response within one business day.

1

Fast and Safe: 1 day

Hire Northwest to incorporate your Mississippi nonprofit, and we will prepare and file your Articles of Incorporation for you. Just answer some questions online and leave the rest to our expert Corporate Guides.

How Much Does It Cost To Incorporate A Mississippi Nonprofit?

Mississippi charges a $50 fee to file nonprofit Articles of incorporation (plus a $3 convenience fee for paying with a credit card online). Hire Northwest to form your nonprofit, and your total cost, which includes a full year of registered agent service, is $278.

If your nonprofit is a charity, you will also pay an additional $50 to register with the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Charities Division.

How Much Does A Mississippi Nonprofit Cost Each Year?

If your nonprofit is a registered charity, you will pay $50 each year to renew your registration with the MS Secretary of State’s Charities Division. Every five years or so, your nonprofit will also pay $25 to submit a Status Report to the Mississippi Secretary of State.

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What is The Mississippi Nonprofit Status Report?

Mississippi requires nonprofits to file a Status Report at the request of the Secretary of State. The Mississippi Status Report updates the state’s information about your nonprofit, such as your corporation’s name, the name and address of your registered agent, and the names and addresses of your nonprofit’s officers and directors. The report isn’t due on a set schedule. The Secretary of State may request the first report no fewer than five (5) years after the date your nonprofit incorporated, and not more than once every five (5) years. There is a $25 filing fee.

When your Mississippi nonprofit receives a request for a status report, you will have ninety (90) days to submit. You can also submit a status report voluntarily anytime if your nonprofit’s information happens to change. Submit online through the Mississippi Secretary of State’s website or hire Northwest to complete and submit your nonprofit’s status report for an additional fee.

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Will My Mississippi Nonprofit Be Tax-Exempt?

Not automatically. To obtain federal tax-exempt status, you must submit an Application for Recognition of Exemption to the IRS. This is a lengthy (and expensive) process that involves the IRS examining your nonprofit’s purpose, organizational documents, corporate structure, and finances among other details. Currently Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code recognizes more than two dozen different types of exempt organizations, but most nonprofits seek 501(c)(3) status for public charities and private foundations. If your nonprofit intends to become a 501(c)(3) organization, your Articles of Incorporation must include specific language required by the IRS limiting your nonprofit’s activities to the pursuit of one or more tax-exempt purposes.

Once you have obtained federal tax-exempt status, you can apply for Mississippi state tax exemptions. 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofits qualify for an exemption from the state’s franchise tax, but most nonprofits, even charities, should expect to pay state sales taxes on most of their business activities.

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Is A Mississippi Nonprofit Registered Agent Required?

Yes, you’re required to appoint and maintain a Mississippi registered agent to receive services of process (legal notices) on behalf of your nonprofit. Mississippi allows you to take on the job yourself, but we don’t recommend it. A registered agent must list a physical Mississippi address on your nonprofit’s Articles of Incorporation, so if you decide to be your own agent your residential or office address will go into the public record. That means a mailbox crammed with junk mail, solicitors showing up unexpectedly at your door, and the unmanageable requirement to be available at this listed address during normal business hours.

Northwest can help. When you sign up for our Mississippi registered agent service, you can help protect your privacy by listing our Mississippi address on your nonprofit’s Articles of Incorporation. You will also gain the freedom to hold long meetings and travel because we’ll be the ones waiting during business hours for the state to send legal notices and other official state mail. And if your nonprofit does receives a service of process from the state, we’ll scan it and send it to you in real time.

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

Typically, yes. If your Mississippi nonprofit intends to solicit charitable contributions from the public, you will probably need to file a Registration Statement with the Mississippi Secretary of State. There are some exceptions (for example, organizations that don’t receive more than $25,000 in annual contributions), but most nonprofit charities must register with the MS Secretary of State and renew their registrations each year.

The renewal deadline is always the 15th day of the 5th month after the close of the organization’s fiscal year, and the registration and renewal fees are both $50. Learn more at our Mississippi Charity Registration page.

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Do I Need A Tax ID Number (EIN) For A Mississippi nonprofit?

Yes, an employer identification number (EIN) is a must for any new nonprofit seeking to navigate its finances, apply for federal and state tax exemptions, and solicit charitable contributions. After the Mississippi Secretary of State approves your nonprofit’s Articles of Incorporation, you can apply for an EIN through the IRS website or by phone. Or you can sign up for our EIN service for an additional fee when you hire Northwest.

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Does A Mississippi Corporation Need A Business License?

Mississippi doesn’t require nonprofits to get a statewide business license, but the different cities and counties have licensing requirements of their own, including a “privilege” (to do business) license in some cities.

Should My Nonprofit Register with the Mississippi Tax Commission?

Yes. You will need a Mississippi Business ID and a federal EIN to register for Mississippi tax accounts. Register at the Mississippi Department of Revenue’s website using its “Mississippi Taxpayer Access Point (TAP)” system. There is no fee to register.

How Does My Mississippi Nonprofit Get A Business ID?

When you file nonprofit Articles of Incorporation, the Mississippi Secretary of State will automatically issue your nonprofit a Mississippi Business ID.

Can I Register An Out Of State Nonprofit In Mississippi?

To register an out of state nonprofit (also called a “foreign nonprofit”), you will file a Certificate of Authority with the Mississippi Secretary of State and pay a $100 filing fee. To learn more, check out our Mississippi foreign nonprofit page.

Does A Mississippi Nonprofit Need Bylaws?

Yes, Mississippi requires a nonprofit’s directors to adopt bylaws at their first official meeting, and the IRS expects bylaws to be written and ratified before a nonprofit seeks federal tax-exempt status.

Why? Because bylaws shape how a nonprofit makes decisions and operates on a daily basis, answering questions like “How do we appoint directors?”, “Will we have voting members?”, “What are the responsibilities of each officer?”, or “What procedures should we go through to suspend a member?” Questions like these need answers in advance to keep your nonprofit’s members, directors, and officers traveling in the same direction. Without bylaws, in other words, your nonprofit is truly flying blind.

It isn’t easy to write effective bylaws, of course, but we can help. When you hire Northwest, you can use our adaptable template for writing nonprofit bylaws as a foundation to build from, and you’ll also have access to numerous other free forms to help guide you as your nonprofit develops and grows.

Mississippi Nonprofit Articles Of Incorporation

Account Creation

If you’re filing yourself (instead of hiring a company like Northwest to form your nonprofit), you’ll need to create an account at the Mississippi Secretary of State’s website. This is the only way to access the form for Mississippi’s Articles of Incorporation, so you will need to create an account even if you intend to print and mail your completed Articles. To create an account, include your name, address, phone number and email address.

Business Name

Your nonprofit’s name can’t suggest a purpose other than that described in your Articles of Incorporation, and it must be distinguishable from other businesses operating in Mississippi.

Business Email

Mississippi requires an email address for official notifications from the state, which becomes part of the public record. When you hire Northwest, you can enter our email in place of yours.

Effective Date

Mississippi allows nonprofit corporations to delay their effective dates up to 90 days after filing Articles of Incorporation. You can skip this section if you want your nonprofit’s effective date to be the same as its filing date (which is exactly what most corporations do).

Duration

If you only want your nonprofit to exist for a specific period of time, you have the option to specify its years of existence. You can skip this section, as most filers do, and Mississippi will assume your nonprofit will exist indefinitely.

Nature of Business

In the section called “The initial planned nonprofit activity,” you’ll select from a menu to describe the nature of your nonprofit’s activities. You will also select up to three (but at least one) 6-digit NAICS codes to describe your nonprofit. If you can’t find an exact description of your nonprofit, pick the code or codes that come closest.

Registered Agent & Address

You’ll have the option to select an individual or commercial registered agent. If you’re going with an individual, you will type in the registered agent’s name, address, and email address yourself. If you’re hiring a commercial registered agent like Northwest, you’ll select “Organization” and “Find Commercial Registered Agents,” and the system will auto-fill each field once you’ve selected your registered agent from the list provided. Hint: Northwest is a commercial registered agent—select “Northwest Registered Agent, LLC.”

Incorporator(s)

Your incorporator is the person who signs and submits your printed Articles or electronically signs and submits your online filing, and Mississippi requires the name, address, and title of at least one. When you hire Northwest to form your nonprofit, we’ll be your incorporator.

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