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Rhode Island Nonprofit Organization

We’re Just Not Annoying®

HOW TO START A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION IN RHODE ISLAND

NAME IT

Run a name search on the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s website to make sure the name you’ve chosen for your RI nonprofit corporation is available. The official name of your RI nonprofit need not include a corporate ending, such as “incorporated” or “Inc.”

GET ORGANIZED

Assemble a dedicated, organized team of initial directors before filing your formation documents, as teamwork will be vital to the success of your RI nonprofit corporation.

MAKE LAWS

Bylaws will help shape your RI nonprofit corporation’s overall goals and direct the organization’s daily actions. Drafting the bylaws may require the help of an attorney who knows the in’s and out’s of Rhode Island nonprofit corporations. These bylaws will also be required by the IRS if you apply for federal tax exempt status.

INCORPORATE!

File the Articles of Incorporation with the Rhode Island Secretary of State. You can file by mail, fax, or in person. To complete the formation documents, you’ll need to include the following:

  • Nonprofit corporation name.
  • Registered agent name and address.
  • Purpose of nonprofit corporation.
  • Name and address of at least three directors.
  • Signatures of the same three directors as incorporators.

If you’ll be applying to the IRS for tax exempt status, you’ll also want to include a clause concerning what will happen to the nonprofit’s assets upon dissolution. You’ll also want the document to be completed in IRS tax exempt language.

HAVE A MEETING

After filing your nonprofit Articles of Incorporation, hold your RI nonprofit corporation’s first official meeting, of which the goal should be to elect officers and directors and to adopt the corporation’s bylaws.

TALK TO THE MAN

Apply to the IRS for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This can be done on the IRS’ website and should only take a few minutes. Then, if applicable, apply to the IRS for federal tax exempt status. Once that is done you can apply for Rhode Island Tax Exemptions.

RAISE FUNDS

If you’re planning on collecting donations of any kind, you’ll need to register your nonprofit corporation as a Rhode Island charity with the Rhode Island Secretary of State.

What’s the cost of forming a nonprofit organization in Rhode Island?

The filing fee is $35. You can pay with check, credit card, or money order.

How long does it take Rhode Island to process my Articles of Incorporation?

5-7 days. You can submit the articles of incorporation via mail, fax, online, or in person.

How many directors need to be listed on the Articles of Incorporation?

At least three initial directors (names and addresses) need to be listed on the articles.

How many incorporators need to be listed on the Articles of Incorporation?

The articles must contain the signatures of the three initial directors as incorporators as well.

Does my registered agent need to sign my Articles of Incorporation?

No, the registered agent in Rhode Island is not required to sign. But you do need to have a Rhode Island registered agent. Sign up online for instant service.

Does Rhode Island require nonprofit organization to list their purpose?

Yes, nonprofit corporations are required by Rhode Island to list their purpose; however, if you’re applying for federal tax exempt status, you’ll want the purpose to be written in the IRS recommended language.

Do RI nonprofits need to register as charities?

Yes, if the RI nonprofit corporation will be soliciting donations of any kind.

Do nonprofit corporations in Rhode Island need to file annual reports?

Yes. Nonprofits in Rhode Island are required to file annual reports by the end of June each year. The filing fee for the RI annual report is $20.

Is there anything weird about forming a nonprofit organization in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island does require that you list the same three initial directors as incorporators.

For more RI nonprofit organization information:

Office of the Secretary of State
Division of Business Services
148 W. River Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02904-2615
Phone: (401) 222-3040
Website : www.sos.ri.gov/business

Rhode Island taxation contact info:

State of Rhode Island
Department of Revenue
Division of Taxation
Field Audit Section
Once Captial Hill
Providence, RI 02908
Phone: (401) 574-8941
Website: www.tax.ri.gov

To register as a charity:

Department of Business Regulation
Securities Division
Charitable Organization Section
1511 Pontiac Avenue, Bldg. 69-1
Cranston, Rhode Island 02920
Phone: 401-462-9527
Website: www.dbr.ri.gov

Corporate Compliance
by Local Corporate Guides®