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Nebraska Nonprofit Service We’re Just Not Annoying®

How to Start a Nonprofit in Nebraska

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

1. Name your nonprofit

2. Get a Nebraska registered agent

3. File nonprofit articles of incorporation

4. Get a federal tax ID (EIN) from the IRS

5. Register for state tax accounts, licenses, and permits

6. Hold your organizational meeting and adopt bylaws

7. Apply for federal and/or state tax exemptions

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Nebraska nonprofit Articles of Incorporation free download. When you’re done filling out the form, submit it to your state.

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Documents & Forms

How to File Nebraska Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation

To form a Nebraska nonprofit, file Articles of Incorporation using the following steps:
Step 1 Choose a name for your new nonprofit
Step 2 Determine your corporate structure (mutual benefit, public benefit, or religious)
Step 3 Decide if you want to hire a registered agent service to minimize public disclosures
Step 4 Appoint at least one incorporator to sign and submit your articles
Step 5 Decide if your nonprofit will have members
Step 6 Determine how your nonprofit will distribute its assets upon dissolution
Step 7 File online and pay $10 with a credit card (plus processing and recording fees) or mail 2 copies to the Secretary of State / PO Box 94608 / Lincoln, NE 68509-4608 with a check for $10 (plus a recording fee)

How Long Does it Take to Start a Nebraska Nonprofit?

5

Alone: 5 days

File your articles yourself online or by mail and get a response in around five business days. The trouble with this approach, however, is that Nebraska doesn’t provide a form for your articles of incorporation, so you’ll need to prepare the document yourself, print it and mail it, or upload the file to the state’s Corporate Document eDelivery system.

5

With help: 5 days

Hire Northwest to form your nonprofit, answer some simple questions in your online account, and let our expert Corporate Guides create and submit your articles of incorporation.

How Much Does It Cost To Incorporate A Nebraska Nonprofit?

Nebraska charges $10 to file nonprofit articles of incorporation plus a $5 per page recording fee. Hire Northwest to form your nonprofit, and your total cost, which includes a full year of registered agent service, is $240 for 5-day filing.

How Much Does A Nebraska Nonprofit Cost Each Year?

The Nebraska Secretary of State requires nonprofits to submit a biennial report instead of an annual report, which you’ll submit by April 1st every odd numbered year, and which comes with a $20 filing fee.

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What Is The Nebraska Biennial Report?

Nebraska requires nonprofits to submit a biennial report by April 1st of each odd numbered year. The report updates your nonprofit’s information with the state (for instance, your registered agent’s name and address and the names and addresses of each officer and director). There is a $20 filing fee for nonprofit corporations.

If you’d rather not keep up with this report or its deadline, however, you can sign up for our convenient Nebraska Biennial Report Service for an additional fee when you hire Northwest.

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Will My Nebraska Nonprofit Be Tax-Exempt?

Unfortunately, forming as a nonprofit doesn’t automatically qualify your organization for tax-exempt status. First, you need to submit an Application for Recognition of Exemption (Form 1023, 1023-EZ, or 1024) to the IRS, pay a $275 or $600 filing fee depending on the size and nature of your nonprofit, and endure a 3-6 month or longer application process that involves the IRS examining your organization’s structure, formation documents, purpose, and finances. The IRS recognizes more than two dozen types of exempt organizations, but most nonprofits seek 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status for public charities and private foundations. If your organization intends to go this route, it’s best to plan well in advance. Your nonprofit’s articles should include a statement of purpose and dissolution of assets provision using specific language required by the IRS. The basic idea is that your nonprofit must dedicate its income and assets to the pursuit of an exempt purpose recognized by the IRS (religious, charitable, educational, etc.) and structure your organization such that it will always serve public (not private) ends.

If your nonprofit manages to obtain 501(c)(3) status, your organization will automatically qualify for an exemption from the Nebraska state income tax (and you don’t even need to apply!). However, you’ll need to apply to the Department of Revenue for a sales and use tax exemption, and not all nonprofit corporations qualify. Visit Northwest’s guide to Nebraska state tax exemptions if you’d like to learn more.

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Is A Nebraska Nonprofit Registered Agent Required?

Yes, the State of Nebraska requires nonprofit corporations to appoint a registered agent to receive services of process (legal notices) and other official state mail on their behalf. You can appoint yourself or an associate, but we recommend going with a registered agent service like Northwest, and not simply for selfish reasons. A registered agent has to be available at a Nebraska street address, during normal business hours, in order to keep a reliable channel open with the state, so if you do the job yourself you’ll need to list your own residential or office address on your nonprofit’s articles of incorporation. When you do that, you can expect three things: excessive junk mail, getting targeted by data-sellers, and dealing with salespeople showing up at your door. And you’ll also be stuck in your office all day waiting for a service of process that may never come.

Hire Northwest, and these problems disappear. To begin with, we’ll be the ones doing the waiting, so you’re free to hold lengthy meetings, travel, meet with potential donors, and otherwise focus your energy on managing and growing your new nonprofit. Your articles of incorporation can also list our Nebraska street address in place of yours, which helps protect your privacy and cuts down on the junk mail and other annoyances discussed above. And if we ever do receive a service of process for 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 Nebraska?

Nebraska no longer requires charities to register with the Attorney General’s office.

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Do I Need A Federal Tax ID Number (EIN) For A Nebraska Nonprofit?

Yes, your nonprofit will need a federal employer identification number (EIN) to effectively navigate its finances, open a bank account, and apply for federal or state tax exemptions. After the Nebraska Secretary of State approves your Articles of Incorporation, you can apply for an EIN on the IRS website or by phone. Or you can save time by adding our EIN service for an additional fee when you hire Northwest to form your Nebraska nonprofit.

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Does A Nebraska Nonprofit Need A Business License?

Nebraska doesn’t issue a statewide business license, so whether or not you’ll need a business license (or licenses) depends on your nonprofit’s activities and location. Contact your city clerk’s office to find out which (if any) licenses and permits apply to your nonprofit.

Should My Nebraska Nonprofit Register For State Tax Accounts?

That depends on your nonprofit’s structure and activities. If your nonprofit will have employees, for instance, you will likely need to register with the Nebraska Department of Revenue to pay withholding taxes. To get a Nebraska State Identification Number, you can register online or complete the Nebraska Tax Application (Form 20). Both the online registration option and the printable forms are available through the Department of Revenue’s website. There are filing fees only for specific programs (see section 15 of the form).

Can I Register An Out Of State Nonprofit In Nebraska?

Absolutely. To register an out of state nonprofit (also called a foreign nonprofit), file the Application for Certificate of Authority to Transact Business with the Nebraska Secretary of State. Learn more at Northwest’s Nebraska foreign nonprofits page.

Does A Nebraska Nonprofit Need Bylaws?

Yes, Nebraska requires a nonprofit corporation’s board of directors to adopt bylaws. Most nonprofits will do this at an organizational meeting—the first official meeting at which you elect directors and officers, adopt bylaws, and complete whatever other business is necessary to truly form your nonprofit. Make sure your nonprofit adopts its bylaws before applying for 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, since the IRS only wants to deal a fully-formed organization.

It’s tough to write effective bylaws, but Northwest is here to help. We have a lot of experience working with nonprofit corporations, so we know the sorts of obstacles, issues, and problems a new nonprofit is likely to face down the road. When you hire Northwest, you can use our adaptable template for writing nonprofit bylaws, as well as our other free nonprofit forms, to help you get started.

Nebraska Nonprofit Articles Of Incorporation Requirements

Name

Your nonprofit’s name needs to be clearly distinguishable from the names of other corporations or business entities lawfully registered, filed, or reserved with the Nebraska Secretary of State. The name can’t state or imply that your nonprofit exists for purposes different from those allowed by Nebraska law or indicated by your nonprofit’s Articles of Incorporation.

Type of Nonprofit

Identify if your nonprofit is a mutual benefit, public benefit, or religious corporation.

Registered Agent and Registered Office

Include the name and Nebraska street address of your nonprofit’s registered agent (you can include a PO Box only in addition to a street address, not in place of one). When you hire Northwest, our name and Nebraska street address go here.

Incorporator(s)

Include the name and street address of at least one incorporator. An incorporator signs and submits your Articles and doesn’t have to belong to your organization. When you hire Northwest to form your nonprofit, we’ll be your incorporator.

Members

Nebraska doesn’t require nonprofits to have members, but your Articles of Incorporation should indicate whether it will or not. A member is usually an individual or business entity with the right to vote in the election of your nonprofit’s directors.

Dissolution Clause

Include a clause describing how your nonprofit will distribute its assets if it ever shuts down. If your nonprofit intends to seek 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status with the IRS, your articles should include a dissolution of assets clause using the specific language required by the IRS.

Purpose Clause (Optional)

Nebraska doesn’t require a nonprofit to describe its purpose in its Articles of Incorporation, but if you intend to apply for 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt status, you should include a detailed statement of purpose using the specific language provided by the IRS.

Additional Information/Provisions (Optional)

You have the option to include additional information and provisions governing your nonprofit, so long as each addition is consistent with federal and state laws. You might, for example, include the names and addresses of your nonprofit’s initial directors; information also included in your bylaws about membership rights, classes of members, and so on; and regulations limiting the powers of your nonprofit’s board of directors.

Signature(s)

Any incorporator and director mentioned in your articles of incorporation must sign the document.

You can submit by mail or upload your document to Nebraska Secretary of State’s website (search for Corporate Document eDelivery). Nebraska does not provide a form for nonprofit articles of incorporation, so you’ll need to prepare the form yourself and upload a file to the state’s website, or you can download our adaptable, blank template for writing nonprofit articles of incorporation.

Corporate Compliance
by Local Corporate Guides®