How to Set Up a Nonprofit in NC

How to Set Up a Nonprofit Corporation in
North Carolina & Obtain IRS 501(c)(3) status

By Barb Walsh, Executive Director, 919-614-3830 501(c)(3) EIN #88-3921380

  1. Search business name to make sure it is not already in use in North Carolina
  2. Use this link:
  3. Google the name to see if it is being used nationally
  4. Also check url’s for website domains if you will create a website
  5. Check social media name availability: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Threads
Rent a PO Box (recommended) or use your home address

Once unique name selected then…

File online Articles of Incorporation with NC Secretary of State

  1. Create a new online account with Secretary of State
  2. Choose to “register a business” by filing online ‘Creation of Articles of Incorporation.’
  3. North Carolina Secretary of State website
  4. Follow the directions.
  5. Choose business type:
    A. Nonprofit Corporation (single owner)
    B. Nonprofit Foundation (an advisory board)
  6. Complete the online application
  7. Print and sign
  8. Scan & submit online
  9. Pay $60 online fee
  10. Save the copy you signed for your files!
  11. You will receive an email acknowledgement of application
  12. Within the week you receive email with SOSID: # _ and approved Articles of Incorporation

Once approved by NC SOS apply online for an IRS EIN (employer identification number)
SAVE THAT LETTER! You will need the EIN as your nonprofit identity
It will ask you what type of entity (business) you want to start, select nonprofit

OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT (must have this to complete IRS Charitable Nonprofit Application)
Bring Articles of Incorporation and EIN IRS letter and money to open account

IRS Application for 501(c)(3) Status
“Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code”
Form 1023-EZ
Cost = $275
Read & follow instructions, submit online
Establish an account with to pay the $275 application fee
Wait several months for approval

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