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How To Start A Nonprofit In New Mexico

To start a nonprofit corporation in New Mexico, you must file nonprofit articles of incorporation with the New Mexico Secretary of State. You can submit your nonprofit’s articles of incorporation in person, by mail, and online. The articles of incorporation cost $25 to file. You must also submit an initial report ($10). Once filed with the state, your articles of incorporation officially create your New Mexico nonprofit corporation, but truly preparing a nonprofit to pursue its mission involves several additional steps.


New Mexico Nonprofit Filing Options

Free PDF Download

Download the New Mexico nonprofit articles of incorporation. Fill out the form and submit to the state.

Do It Yourself Online

Our free account and tools will walk you through starting and maintaining a New Mexico nonprofit. All for free.

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Hire us to form your New Mexico nonprofit. Includes registered agent service, adaptable nonprofit templates & more.

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NM Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation Requirements

To incorporate a New Mexico nonprofit, you must complete and file nonprofit articles of incorporation with the New Mexico Secretary of State. See the document below and click on any number to see what information is required in the corresponding section.

1. Corporate Name

Your nonprofit’s name can’t suggest a purpose other than that indicated by its articles of incorporation, and the name must be distinguishable from other business entities on file with the New Mexico Secretary of State.

2. Duration

This section refers to the amount of time your nonprofit intends to operate. If your nonprofit has a known end date, list the date in the space provided. If there isn’t a particular end in view, write “perpetual.”

3. Purpose

Describe your nonprofit’s purpose. New Mexico doesn’t require a detailed statement of purpose, but if your nonprofit intends to seek 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt status, your articles should include a detailed statement of purpose using the special language required by the IRS.

4. Registered Agent

Include the name, New Mexico street address, and mailing address (if different) of your New Mexico registered agent. When you hire Northwest, our information goes here.

5. Directors

List the names and addresses of the initial members of your nonprofit’s board of directors (at least three).

6. Incorporator(s)

Your nonprofit’s incorporator is simply the individual who completes, signs, and dates your articles of incorporation. When you hire Northwest to form your nonprofit, we’ll be your incorporator.

7. Date and Execution

Everyone listed as an incorporator must sign your nonprofit’s articles of incorporation. Importantly, New Mexico requires ink signatures, and you must submit an original (not a copy) of your articles to the NM Office of the Secretary of State.

8. Statement of Acceptance

Lastly, your nonprofit’s New Mexico registered agent must complete a form with the crazy title “Statement of Acceptance of Appointment By Designated Initial Registered Agent” (whew!). This form should get submitted with your nonprofit’s articles of incorporation.

How Much Does It Cost to Incorporate a New Mexico Nonprofit?

New Mexico charges a $25 fee to file nonprofit articles of incorporation.  The state fee’s initial report fee is  $10. In total, you’ll pay $35.

How Long Does It Take to Start a New Mexico Nonprofit?

New Mexico typically takes about 30 business days to process your documents once they have been received.

Does a New Mexico Nonprofit Need a Registered Agent?

Yes, you’re required to appoint a New Mexico registered agent to receive services of process for your nonprofit. You can do the job yourself, appoint an associate, or hire a commercial registered agent service.

Even if it will save you a little money, we don’t recommend doing the job yourself. Why? A registered agent must list a physical New Mexico address on your nonprofit’s articles of incorporation, which means the address goes onto the public record, and the agent actually has to be at that address during normal business hours. That’s a hard promise to keep when you’re trying to manage and grow a new nonprofit. Unless you know someone else you can trust completely, it’s probably best to go with a registered agent service like Northwest.

Hire Northwest, and you can put our New Mexico address on your articles in place of your own, and you won’t have to worry about staying put all day because we’ll do the waiting for you. If we ever do receive a legal notice 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)

Your nonprofit’s federal employer identification number (FEIN or EIN) is the equivalent of an individual’s social security number, and it won’t be easy for your nonprofit to function without one. You’ll need an EIN to apply for federal tax-exempt status with the IRS, to open a bank account, and to establish the credibility necessary to do business with vendors and potential donors.

After New Mexico approves your articles of incorporation, you can apply directly to the IRS for an EIN, but we also offer a convenient EIN service, for an additional fee, if you’d rather not deal with the IRS.


Hold Your Organizational Meeting & Adopt Bylaws

New Mexico requires a nonprofit corporation’s board of directors to adopt bylaws at the organization’s first official meeting. This an important moment in the formation of your nonprofit because your bylaws officially establish your organization’s hierarchy and the rights and responsibilities of its directors, officers, and members. There are no hard and fast rules for when your organizational meeting should occur, but it should definitely happen before applying for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status with the IRS or registering as a New Mexico charity. The IRS, as well as the New Mexico Attorney General, will expect to see your nonprofit’s bylaws as part of the application process.

It’s a serious challenge to write effective bylaws, but Northwest can help. When you hire Northwest, you can use our free nonprofit forms, as well as our adaptable template for writing nonprofit bylaws, to help get things started.


Apply for Federal and/or State Tax Exemptions

If your New Mexico nonprofit manages to obtain federal tax-exempt status, it will be exempt from the state’s corporate income tax and sales tax, but everything hinges on dealing successfully with the IRS. New Mexico nonprofits that don’t obtain federal tax-exempt status pay pretty much the same federal and state taxes as their for-profit cousins.

How does it work? First, you’ll need to make sure your nonprofit’s articles of incorporation are written in a way that will satisfy the IRS. If your nonprofit intends to seek 501(c)(3) status for public charities and private foundations, this means including a detailed statement of purpose and dissolution of assets clause using the tax-exempt language required by the IRS. Your articles should clearly indicate that your nonprofit’s activities, income, and assets are permanently dedicated to the pursuit of one or more tax-exempt purposes recognized by the IRS.

Learn more at Northwest’s Guide to 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status.


Register for Required State Licenses

Will My New Mexico Nonprofit Need a State Tax ID?

Yes. Your nonprofit can register for a state tax ID by submitting an Application for Business Tax Identification Number (Form ACD-31015) to the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department. You can submit online, and there is no filing fee.

Will My New Mexico Nonprofit Need a Business License?

New Mexico doesn’t issue a general, statewide business license, but individual counties and cities may have licensing requirements of their own. Contact your local city clerk’s office to find out if any of your nonprofit’s activities require a local license.

Should My New Mexico Nonprofit Register as a Charity?

If your nonprofit intends to solicit or distribute charitable contributions, you’ll need to register as a New Mexico charity with the NM Office of the Attorney General, although religious and educational nonprofits are typically exempt from registering. You’ll also need to renew your nonprofit’s registration annually six (6) months after the end of your nonprofit’s fiscal year.

One nice thing about New Mexico is that registering as a charity doesn’t cost a thing, and it’s also free to renew your registration, but the application does require various attachments, including your nonprofit’s articles of incorporation, bylaws, and IRS determination letter.


Open a Bank Account for Your New Mexico Nonprofit

To open a bank account for your New Mexico nonprofit, you will need to bring the following items with you to the bank:

  • A copy of your New Mexico nonprofit articles of incorporation
  • A copy of your nonprofit’s bylaws
  • Your New Mexico nonprofit’s EIN

It’s wise to call your 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).


Submit Your NM Nonprofit's Initial and Annual Reports

New Mexico requires nonprofit corporations to submit an initial report within thirty (30) days of incorporating and an annual report each year. Both serve to keep the state’s records current by updating or confirming information regarding your nonprofit’s name, directors, principal business address, and so on.

The filing fee is $10, and you can submit online on the New Mexico Corporations and Business Services website. The deadline for annual reports is always the 15th day of the 5th month following the end of your nonprofit’s taxable year. For example, if your nonprofit’s taxable year ends on December 31st, then your filing date will be May 15th.

When you hire Northwest, we file your initial report when you sign up for our incorporation service. We’ll send you a reminder when your annual report deadline approaches. Or, you can avoid the headache altogether by adding Northwest’s New Mexico annual report service, and we’ll file your annual reports for you.