How To Start A Nonprofit In Wyoming
To start a nonprofit corporation in Wyoming, you must file the Nonprofit Corporation Articles of Incorporation with the Wyoming Secretary of State. You can file the articles online or by mail. The articles of incorporation cost $25 to file. Once filed with the state, your articles of incorporation officially creates your Wyoming nonprofit corporation, but truly preparing a nonprofit to pursue its mission involves several additional steps.
Starting a Wyoming Nonprofit Guide:
- Choose your WY nonprofit filing option
- File the WY nonprofit articles of incorporation
- Get a Federal EIN from the IRS
- Adopt your nonprofit’s bylaws
- Apply for federal and/or state tax exemptions
- Apply for any required state licenses
- Open a bank account for your WY nonprofit
- File the WY nonprofit annual report
Wyoming Nonprofit Filing Options
Free PDF Download
Download the Wyoming nonprofit articles of incorporation. Fill out the form and submit to the state.
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WY Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation Requirements
To incorporate a Wyoming nonprofit, you must complete and file Nonprofit Corporation Articles of Incorporation with the Wyoming Secretary of State. See the document below and click on any number to see what information is required in the corresponding section.
Run a name search on the Wyoming Secretary of State’s website to make sure the name you’ve chosen for your Wyoming nonprofit corporation is available. The official name of your WY nonprofit doesn’t need to include a corporate ending, such as “incorporated” or “Inc.,” but it does need to be distinguishable from other businesses on record with the state, and the name can’t suggest a purpose other than that stated in your articles of incorporation and permitted by the laws of Wyoming.
Identify if your nonprofit is a religious, public benefit, or mutual benefit corporation.
Include the name and physical Wyoming address of your nonprofit’s registered agent. Your registered agent may be an individual Wyoming resident or a business entity authorized to do business in Wyoming. In either case, the registered agent must have a physical address in Wyoming to receive service of process on behalf of your nonprofit. When you hire Northwest, our name and Wyoming office address go here.
Include your nonprofit’s mailing address. When you hire Northwest, you can include our Wyoming office address here, as well.
Include the Wyoming street address of your nonprofit’s principal office. When you hire Northwest, you can list our Wyoming office’s street address as the address of your principal office.
Identify if your nonprofit will or will not have members empowered to elect your nonprofit’s board of directors. (Note: Your nonprofit does not have members if its board of directors elects itself.)
Describe how your nonprofit will distribute its assets if or when it dissolves at some point in the future. If your nonprofit intends to seek 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt status from the IRS, your dissolution clause should be more or less identical to the specific language provided by the IRS. Learn more at Northwest’s Guide to 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status.
This is basically a purpose clause. If your nonprofit intends to seek 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt status, make sure this statement of purpose includes the specific language provided by the IRS.
Wyoming requires your articles to include the names and addresses of each incorporator (at least one). Your incorporator signs and submits your articles to the state, and it doesn’t have to be a director, officer, or member of your nonprofit. When you hire Northwest to incorporate your nonprofit, we’ll be your incorporator.
Your incorporator(s) must sign and date your articles at the end. The form also asks for the name of a contact person, a daytime phone number, and an email address.
How Much Does It Cost to Incorporate a Wyoming Nonprofit?
Wyoming charges $25 to file nonprofit articles of incorporation. When you hire Northwest to incorporate your Wyoming nonprofit, the total cost, which includes a full year of our registered agent service, is $250 for 5-day filing and $305 for 3-day expedited filing.
Does a Wyoming Nonprofit Need a Registered Agent?
Yes, Wyoming requires nonprofit corporations to appoint a registered agent. You can take on the responsibility yourself, but we recommend hiring a registered agent service like Northwest. Why? Because a registered agent must list a physical Wyoming address on your nonprofit’s articles of incorporation and actually be available at this address during normal business hours to accept service of process on your nonprofit’s behalf. That’s a hard promise to keep when you’re trying to manage and grow a new nonprofit.
When you hire Northwest, these problems disappear. We’ll do the waiting for you, help you protect your privacy, and free you up to manage and grow your nonprofit on your own terms. And 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.
Get a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)
You will need a federal employer identification number (FEIN or EIN) to navigate your nonprofit’s finances (such as opening a bank account) and to apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status with the IRS. After incorporating with the state, you can get an EIN on the IRS website or by phone. You can also bypass dealing with the IRS altogether by adding our convenient EIN service when you hire Northwest.
Hold Your Organizational Meeting and Adopt Bylaws
Does My Nonprofit Need Bylaws?
Yes, your nonprofit needs to create and adopt corporate bylaws. Your nonprofit should adopt its bylaws at its organizational meeting (the first official meeting after incorporating with the state) because you’ll need them to open a bank account and to apply for 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt status with the IRS.
Why Do Bylaws Matter?
Bylaws are basically the contract your nonprofit makes with itself. Your nonprofit’s bylaws will lay out, for example, how long someone can serve as a director, what the individual officer’s responsibilities are, and so on. The more questions of this kind get answered in advance in your nonprofit’s bylaws, the better. Think of your bylaws as your nonprofit’s internal rules.
It isn’t easy to write effective bylaws, but Northwest can help. When you hire Northwest, you can use our adaptable template for writing nonprofit bylaws, as well as numerous other free nonprofit forms, to help you get started.
Apply for Federal and/or State Tax Exemptions
Will My Wyoming Nonprofit Be Tax Exempt?
Not automatically. To obtain federal tax-exempt status for your Wyoming nonprofit, you’ll need to submit an Application for Recognition of Exemption to the IRS. Currently, the IRS recognizes more than two dozen types of tax-exempt entities, but most nonprofit corporations seek 501(c)(3) status for public charities and private foundations. If your nonprofit decides to seek 501(c)(3) status, make sure your articles of incorporation include the specific tax-exempt language and provisions required by the IRS.
What About Wyoming State Tax Exemptions?
Wyoming already doesn’t have a corporate income tax, but your nonprofit will need to apply for an exemption from the Wyoming Sales and Use Tax. If you’ve already obtained 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, you simply need to submit a copy of your IRS Determination Letter (and a few other related documents, such as your bylaws) to the Wyoming Department of Revenue. Learn more at Northwest’s guide to Wyoming state tax exemptions.
Obtain Wyoming State Business Licenses
Does a Wyoming Nonprofit Need a Business License?
Wyoming doesn’t issue a statewide, general business license, but local areas sometimes have licensing requirements of their own.
Should My Wyoming Nonprofit Register as a Charity?
No. Wyoming doesn’t require nonprofits seeking donations to register as charities.
Open a Bank Account for Your Wyoming Nonprofit
To open a bank account for your Wyoming nonprofit, you will need to bring the following items with you to the bank:
- A copy of your Wyoming nonprofit articles of incorporation
- A copy of your nonprofit’s bylaws
- Your Wyoming nonprofit’s EIN
It’s wise to call your bank ahead of time to check its requirements. Some banks may require you to bring a resolution authorizing you to open a bank account in your nonprofit’s name (particularly if your nonprofit has several directors and/or officers).
File the Wyoming Nonprofit Annual Report
Wyoming nonprofits are required to submit an annual report by the first day of the organization’s anniversary month (the month in which the nonprofit incorporated). Your annual report will update or confirm the information the Wyoming Secretary of State has about your nonprofit, including your registered agent information and corporate name. Keep in mind that your annual report is due each year even if no information about your nonprofit has changed. The state will administratively dissolve a nonprofit sixty days after the deadline if it hasn’t submitted its annual report.
When you hire Northwest, you have the option to add our convenient Wyoming Annual Report Compliance service for an additional $125 fee.