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South Dakota Nonprofit Organization

We’re Just Not Annoying®



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


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


Bylaws will help shape your SD 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 out South Dakota nonprofit corporations. These bylaws will also be required by the IRS if you apply for federal tax exempt status.


File the Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation with the South Dakota 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.
  • Name and address of at least one incorporator.
  • If you’ll be applying to the IRS for 501(c)3 tax exempt status, you’ll also want to include a clause concerning what will happen to the corporation’s assets upon dissolution. You’ll also want the document to be completed in IRS tax exempt language.


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


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 you have federal tax exempt status, you can apply for South Dakota Tax Exemptions.


South Dakota nonprofit corporations are not required to register as charities, so you can begin soliciting for donations immediately. Good luck!

What’s the cost of forming a nonprofit corporation in South Dakota?

The filing fee is $30. You can submit the formation documents by mail or in person. The documents need to be complete in duplicate.

How long does it take for South Dakota to process my Articles of Incorporation?

3-5 business days, not including mailing times.

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

When you start a South Dakota nonprofit, you need at least three initial directors listed on the articles. Include names and addresses.

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

You need to include the names and addresses of at least three incorporators.

Do I need to include a purpose in the Articles of Incorporation?

Yes. South Dakota requires you to include a brief explanation of your nonprofitcorporation’s purpose. If you’ll be applying for federal tax exempt status, though, you’ll want the purpose to specific and written in the IRS recommended language.

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

No. Your South Dakota registered agent doesn’t need to sign the articles.

Does my nonprofit corporation need to register as a charity in South Dakota?

No, South Dakota doesn’t require nonprofits to register as charities.

Is my South Dakota nonprofit tax exempt?

Maybe. First you have to apply for federal 501(c)3 Registration. Then you can apply for South Dakota tax exemption.

Do nonprofit corporations in South Dakota file annual reports?

Yes, nonprofit corporations are required to file a South Dakota annual report during their anniversary month. The filing fee for SD nonprofit corporations is $10.

Is there anything weird about forming a nonprofit corporation in South Dakota?

Yes. You can only file by mail or in person. Forms need to be submitted in duplicate. And the state requires at least three incorporators be listed on the articles of incorporation.

For more nonprofit corporation information:

Secretary of State Office
500 E Capitol Ave
Pierre, SD 57501
Phone: (605)773-4845

South Dakota tax contact info:

South Dakota Department of Revenue and Regulation
445 E. Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501-3185
Phone: 1-800-TAX-9188

Corporate Compliance
by Local Corporate Guides®