How to File the Articles of Incorporation for a Rhode Island Nonprofit

Person submitting paperwork.

Starting a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Rhode Island is easy, just follow these easy steps to file the Rhode Island Articles of Incorporation:

If you are starting a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Rhode Island, you have come to the right place. After reading the comprehensive guide for Rhode Island nonprofit formation, follow this guide to file the Rhode Island Articles of Incorporation with the Rhode Island Department of State.

What is covered in this guide:

  1. Information you will need to file the Rhode Island Articles of Incorporation
  2. How to file the Rhode Island Articles of Incorporation
  3. Rhode Island Nonprofit Formation FAQ

Information you will need to file the Rhode Island Articles of Incorporation

To become a nonprofit corporation in Rhode Island you must file Form 200- Articles of Incorporation with the Rhode Island Department of State.

Here are the sections that you will need to complete.

Section 1: Entity Name

Enter the name you have selected.

For help with selecting a name for your nonprofit read our comprehensive guide on how to name a Rhode Island nonprofit.

Section 2: Duration

If your organization is planning to be in existence for a fixed amount of time, check ‘Date certain for dissolution’ and put the end date here.

Most organizations are not started with an end date in mind. If this is the case for your nonprofit, check ‘perpetual’.

Section 3: Purpose

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:

  • Charitable
  • Religious
  • Scientific
  • Literary
  • Testing for public safety
  • Fostering national/international amateur sports competition
  • Preventing cruelty to animals/children

NOTE: You can read the IRS guidelines on their website.

Section 4: Supplemental Provisions

Use this section of the articles of formation 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.

Section 5: Registered Agent and Registered Office

The registered agent can be any entity registered to do business in Rhode Island or any person who is a resident of the state. Your organization cannot act as its own registered agent.

Enter the information of the registered agent you have selected.

For more information read our guide: What is a registered agent? And The Rhode Island Registered Agent Guide.

Section 6: Management

Enter the information of the directors selected.

Section 7: Incorporator

The incorporator is the person who completes, signs, and submits the certification of formation. 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 formation.

State the names and addresses of each incorporator.

Section 8: Effectiveness of Filing

This section allows you to determine the date on which your nonprofit corporation officially forms.

If you check “Date Received” your organization will officially form on the day the Secretary of State files your articles of incorporation.

If you select “Later effective date”, you can specify any date up to 30 days after filing.

Section 9: Execution

ALL the incorporators must sign and date the form affirming everything written in the Articles of Incorporation

How to file the Rhode Island Articles of Incorporation

There are three ways to submit your Articles of Incorporation:

Online:

File the Articles of Incorporation through the Secretary of State’s online portal.

By Mail:

Submit your typed Articles of Incorporation to the mailing address below:

Business Services Division
148 W. River Street, Ste. 1
Providence, RI 02904

In-Person:

Submit your typed Articles of Incorporation to the office address below:

Business Services Division
148 W. River Street, Ste. 1
Providence, RI 02904

The filing fee is $35.

  • Checks and money orders for mailed forms must be made payable to "RI Department of State"
  • Accepted credit cards for online filing include Visa & MasterCard

Rhode Island Nonprofit Formation FAQ

How long does it take to process Form 200?

If filed online or by mail it typically takes about 7 business days to process the Articles of Incorporation. If you file in person, you can expect to get a response the same day.

How do I contact the Business Services Division for more information?

You can call for information at (401) 222-3040, fax to (401) 222-1309, or visit them at their website.

State of Rhode Island Nonprofit Resources