How to File the Articles of Incorporation for a Colorado Nonprofit

Person submitting paperwork.

Filing the Articles of Incorporation is a critical step in starting a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit in Colorado. Whether you have been running a charity for a while or are just starting out, your nonprofit organization will need to fill out the Articles of Incorporation and file them with the State of Colorado. This will allow you to file for 501(c)(3) status and reap the benefits of having an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Want to form a nonprofit elsewhere? Check out our other How to Start a Nonprofit guides.

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

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

What is covered in this guide:

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

Information you will need to file the Colorado Articles of Incorporation

To become a nonprofit corporation in Colorado, you must file the Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation with the Colorado Secretary 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 Colorado nonprofit.

Section 2: 501(c)(3)

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

Section 3: Principal Office

Enter the street address and mailing address for your organization.

Section 4: Registered Agent & Registered Office

The registered agent can be any entity registered to do business in Colorado 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 Colorado Registered Agent Guide.

Section 5: 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.

Enter the name and address of your incorporator.

Section 6: Members

Indicate whether your organization will have voting members.

Section 7: Distribution of Assets

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 8: Effectiveness of Filing

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

Most organizations leave this section blank. We recommend you talk to your accountant before delaying the effective date.

How to file the Colorado Articles of Incorporation

You can file the Articles of Incorporation through the Secretary of State's online portal.

The filing fee is $50.

Colorado Nonprofit Formation FAQ

How long does it take to process the Articles of Incorporation?

Once you file online you can typically expect to hear back the same or next day.

How do I contact the Secretary of State for more information?

You can call for information at (303) 894-2200 or visit them at their website.