Step 1) Pick a Name for Your Missouri Non-Profit

Choose a Business NameWhen it comes to forming a Non-Profit in Missouri, you must come up with an official business name to be registered to the Missouri Secretary of State Office. The Missouri Non-Profit name should be distinguishable from any other existing business entity name registered in the Secretary of State database.

To verify that a name is available or not, this can be checked using the business name search tool in the Missouri Secretary of State website.


Step 2) Elect the Officers and Directors for Your Missouri Non-Profit

Choose the Initial DirectorsAnother requirement when starting a Missouri Non-Profit is to hire an initial set of directors to serve in the organization until the first shareholder’s meeting when a new set of directors are elected by the shareholders.

For your Missouri Non-Profit officers and directors, a minimum of three directors or more.


Step 3) Hire a Registered Agent for Your Missouri Non-Profit

Choose a Registered AgentA Missouri Registered Agent is required for your Missouri Non-Profit for compliance purposes. This Registered Agent can be an individual or a Corporation authorized to conduct business in the state. The Registered Agent in Missouri should also provide a physical street address (P.O. Box does not qualify as a physical address).

The Registered Agent should consent to accept service of process and other legal documents in behalf of the Non-Profit before the position designation. For easier and convenient compliance of this state regulation, Rocket Lawyer can get you a Registered Agent who can handle all these tasks.


Step 4) File the Certificate of Formation of Your Missouri Non-profit

Register an LLCTo legally register your Missouri Non-Profit, you must file a Non-Profit Articles of Incorporation. This form is to be filed at the Missouri Secretary of State. The following information is required when you file an Articles of Incorporation:

There may also be other additional information you need to provide. Aside from the ones mentioned above, there are also specific languages you must include with your Non-Profit Articles of Incorporation required by the IRS to grant your Non-Profit federal tax exemptions. Additional languages should provide for provisions of the following:


Step 5) Schedule an Initial Meeting with Your Board of Directors

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsAfter the directors have been elected, you need to schedule an initial meeting to decide and take action on the following matters:

The minutes of the meeting must reflect the points discussed in the initial meeting.


Step 6) Maintain a Corporate Records Binder for Important Information

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsA Corporate Records Binder is a folder where you can keep important documents such as your Missouri Non-Profit registration, tax reports and paperwork, copies of business licenses, corporate bylaws, minutes of the meeting, and more.

You can purchase this binder at the local office supply shop or you can have it directly delivered by buying at Amazon.


Step 7) Get an Employer Identification Number for Your Missouri Non-Profit

Get an EIN for Your LLCA Missouri Non-Profit EIN is a requirement for your organization. Despite being a Non-Profit, you still need to enter into transactions both with government agencies and external entities that require an Employer Identification Number.

Basically every transaction in your organization would require this number. The most convenient way to get an EIN is via IRS online application.


Step 8) Open a Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountThe next step to starting a Missouri business is to start a separate bank account. This is important because you will be able to keep your personal and business finances separate in the eyes of the law.

Plus, when tax time rolls around, you will be able to organize your obligations and handle everything with minimal stress. For the best business bank accounts, check out this roundup.


Step 9) Comply with Requirements for Federal and State Tax Exemptions

Small Business TaxesThe three additional to-dos under this step is for your Missouri Non-Profit tax registration exemption.

As a Non-Profit, you are exempted from several taxes, but you will also have to verify with the Department Revenue if there are also additional requirements for registering for Non-Profit taxes. To begin, you can follow these three steps for tax exemptions:

1) File for Federal Tax Exemptions

To be exempted from federal taxes, you must file Form 1013, or the Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. For this form, carefully fill out each entry, while referring to the changes in several sections of the form as outlined at the start of the document. This lengthy form requires numerous information pertaining to your Non-Profit so take time to answer it.

For smaller Non-Profits, those that have estimated yearly combined receipts not exceeding $50,000 and combined assets not exceeding $250,000, an alternative form, Form 1023EZ or the Streamlined Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, can be used.

2) File for Missouri Tax Exemptions

As soon as you have obtained your federal tax exemption from the IRS, you are automatically exempted from your Missouri corporate income tax. For sales and property tax and other state tax requirements, you can contact the Missouri Department of Revenue.

3) Additional State Reports and Requirements

There are additional state reports and requirements you may have to comply when it comes to doing fundraising activities. These requirements depend on the nature of your Non-Profit activities and its size. For further details on these, check the Missouri Attorney General’s Office.


Step 10) Handle Your Missouri Business Licenses & Regulations

Business LicensesThe next step to starting a business in Missouri is to take care of all business license and regulations. This is a requirement to be a legally operating business as well as being compliant with state rules and regulations. has a great resource roundup and provides you with the important details to compliance for the licenses, permits, and certifications you need to handle. However if you are short on time and would like professionals to do the specific research for you, here is a great service.


To-Do After Starting a

Missouri Non-Profit

Now that you have followed the steps above, you are an official Non-Profit organization in the state of Missouri. Other than those 10 steps that are based on state guidelines, here are 2 additional steps based on best practices for starting a successful organization. Not required, but highly recommended.

1) Prepare Your Missouri Non-Profit for Success

Write a Business PlanOne of the crucial documents that help your Missouri Non-Profit succeed is a business plan.

A business plan puts into a clearer perspective the goals with which your Non-Profit is organized and the strategies to achieve those goals at the same time, providing concrete preventive measures on how to curtail business challenges and possible problems. You can begin with a solid business plan now by using the resources below.

Quick Links to Writing a Business Plan


2) Build a Business Website

Build a Business WebsiteIf you want your Non-Profit to be taken seriously, build a professional website so your potential customers can learn more. In my opinion, WordPress is the platform for the non-tech savvy entrepreneurs and is the best option.

Helpful Resource: To learn more about WordPress and see how to build a WordPress website, check out this step-by-step guide.

This guide on starting a Non-Profit organization in Missouri is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as a legal advice or document. Professional advice pertaining to the specifics of starting a new business in Missouri or Missouri Non-Profit organizations in general should always come from a business lawyer, so you should always seek one.

Need Help Forming Your Organization?

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