How to Start a Nonprofit Organization in Idaho

  1. Name your nonprofit organization

    Your name establishes your image and is important for formal state incorporation. Your organization's legal name must not conflict with other organizations registered within the state. The name must be available and meet state requirements. One of these requirements is that a business corporation must include a word that designates its structure, such as “incorporated,” “corporation,” “limited,” “company,” or any appropriate abbreviation of such words.

    If using the word “company,” or its abbreviation, you may not precede the word with “and” or a symbol representing “and.” If the company is a professional entity, the name may contain words such as “professional association,” “professional corporation,” or other similar designations. To make sure your chosen name has no conflicts, perform a Business Entity Search through the Idaho Secretary of State.

     

  2. Appoint initial directors, officers, and incorporators

    Directors are responsible for governing your nonprofit's operations. They are key stakeholders within the organization's purpose and are committed to its success. The IRS requires at least three unrelated individuals to be directors.

    In Idaho, state regulations require a minimum of three directors for a nonprofit organization or just one for a religious corporation. A director must be an individual and a member of a cooperative corporation. There is no residency requirement. Director terms are by default one year but may be extended up to five years maximum. The quorum rules by majority. A committee must have at least two directors.

    Idaho State also requires the board to appoint officers, such as a president, secretary, and treasurer. Except for president and secretary, and except in religious corporations, two or more offices may be held by the same individual.

    In addition to the director and officer requirements, at least one incorporator is required to sign the formal Articles of Incorporation.

     

  3. Appoint a registered agent

    This agent will receive legal notices on behalf of the nonprofit organization. In Idaho, a registered agent can be an individual resident or a registered business entity with a physical address and regular business house.

  4. Complete and submit Articles of Incorporation

    This document officially marks the establishment of your nonprofit organization. State requirements vary, but the IRS looks for some basic information when an organization applies for 501(c)(3) tax-exemption status. Make sure to include this information to avoid issues or rejection. In Idaho, you may use the form provided by the Secretary of State, but keep in mind that this form does not include sufficient language for federal 501(c) status.

    The filing fee is $30, and the turnaround is about a week. If you pay an addition $20 to expedite the process, the process will take about one business day. You can file your documents in person or mail them to:

    Office of the Secretary of State

    450 N 4th Street

    PO Box 83720

    Boise, ID 83720-0080

  5. Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS
  6. Obtain an Idaho State Tax Identification Number and associated accounts

    You'll need an Idaho seller's permit to make sales, and a state withholding account if you hire employees. Registering for state tax accounts online will also register your organization with the Idaho Industrial Commission, the Idaho Department of Labor, and the Idaho State Tax Commission.

  7. File your records in an accessible and organized way
  8. Establish governing policies and documents
  9. Hold an initial Board of Directors meeting

    During this initial meeting, you'll approve bylaws, conflict of interest policies, elect directors and officers, and approve resolutions. Make sure to record all decisions within the meeting minutes.

  10. Apply for 501(c) tax-exempt status

    To register as a 501(c)(3) organization, use Form 1023 or Form 1023-EZ to apply for tax exemption. For other types of nonprofits, such as 501(c)(4) or 501(c)(6), use form 1024. Once the IRS has reviewed and approved your application, you'll receive a Determination Letter recognizing your organization's tax –exempt status. Completing an application for tax-exempt status can be very time-consuming and tedious, so it's best to consult a legal professional to ensure you don't make any errors or costly omissions.

  11. Apply for Idaho State tax exemption

If you need help understanding how to start a nonprofit organization in Idaho, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.