Starting a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in New York is easy, just follow these easy steps to file the New York Certificate of Incorporation:
If you are starting a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in New York, you have come to the right place. After reading the comprehensive guide for New York nonprofit formation, follow this guide to file the New York Certificate of Incorporation with the Secretary of State.
What is covered in this guide:
Information you will need to file the New York Certificate of Incorporation
To become a nonprofit corporation in New York you must file Form DOS-1511-f, the Certificate of Incorporation.
Here are the sections that you will need to complete:
First: Corporate Name
Enter the name you selected.
For help with selecting a name for your nonprofit read our comprehensive guide on how to name a New York nonprofit.
Describe the purpose of your nonprofit organization.
In order to qualify for 501(c)(3) status, the organization’s purpose must explicitly be limited to one or more of the following:
- Testing for public safety
- Fostering national/international amateur sports competition
- Preventing cruelty to animals/children
NOTE: The State of New York has very specific guidance regarding this section. Access these instructions for full details and examples.
At least 3 directors will need to be named.
When filling the form do not use any prefixes such as “Mr.” or “Ms.” and only use the suffix box for titles of lineage such as ‘Jr.’, ‘Sr.’, or ‘III’ but not for designations such as M.D. or Ph.D.
Since this document will become public record you may want to use a post office box address rather than the residential addresses of the directors to maintain privacy.
Enter the information of the directors selected.
Eighth: Registered Agent & Registered Office
The registered agent can be the Secretary of State, any entity registered to do business in New York or any person who is a resident of the state. Your organization cannot act as its own registered agent.
If you choose to have the Secretary of State act as your corporation’s agent, enter an address where all official correspondence should be sent.
If you choose to utilize a different registered agent, enter that person or business’ name and New York postal address in this box.
Ninth: Tax Exemption Provisions
Use this section to include all IRS-specific language required for your 501(c) application. You should include a statement of purpose (that will not supersede the purpose set forth in section third above).
In addition, you will want to use this section of the certificate of incorporation to formally state what the assets of the organization will be used for, and what will happen to the assets if the organization is dissolved.
To be eligible for 501(c)(3) status, you must convince the IRS that the organization’s assets will always only be used for the purposes approved under 501(c)(3) rules. To this end, you must include provisions ensuring that in the event your organization is dissolved, the assets of the organization will be used towards tax-exempt purposes.
Section 5 of this sample document provides an example of these provisions required for 501(c)(3) eligibility.
The incorporator is the person who completes, signs, and submits the certificate of incorporation. This person does not need to be a part of your organization. This can be you or a lawyer helping you with the process of incorporation. Have the incorporator enter their name and address, and sign the form.
How to file the New York Certificate of Incorporation
You must submit your Certificate of Incorporation by mail.
Submit your Certificate of Incorporation to the address below:
Department of State
Division of Corporations, State Records and Uniform Commercial Code
One Commerce Plaza
99 Washington Ave, Suite 6000
Albany, NY 12231
The filing fee is $75.
- Checks and money orders for must be made payable to the "Department of State"
- Cash payments will only be accepted in-person. Do not send cash through the mail.
- Accepted credit cards include Visa, MasterCard, and American Express
New York Nonprofit Formation FAQ
How long does it take to process Form 1511-f?
Processing time is typically 14 business days. Businesses can pay a fee to expedite the processing time ($25, $75, or $150 depending on the expedite service chosen).
How do I pay by credit card?
If you want to pay by credit card, you must complete the Debit/Credit Card Authorization Form and send it in with your submission.
How do I contact the Secretary of State for more information?
You can call for information at (518) 473-2492 or visit them at their website.