How to File the Articles of Incorporation for a Kentucky Nonprofit

Filing the Articles of Incorporation is a critical step in starting a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit in Kentucky. 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 Kentucky. 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.

Don't have time? Use a trusted professional service:

four point eight out of five stars Northwest (Starting at $29 + State Fees).

Person submitting paperwork.

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

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

What is covered in this guide:

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

Information you will need to file the Kentucky Articles of Incorporation

To become a nonprofit corporation in Kentucky you must file the articles of incorporation for nonprofit corporations with the Kentucky Secretary of State.

Article 1: 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 Kentucky nonprofit.

Article 2: 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
  • Educational
  • 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.

Article 3: Registered Agent

Enter the name and address of the registered agent you have selected.

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

Article 4: Principal Office

Put in your organization’s principal address. If you do not plan to have a physical office you may use that of your registered agent.

Article 5: Directors

Enter the names and business addresses of the directors you have selected. Since this will become a public document, you can list a P.O. Box instead of a personal address.

Article 6: Incorporator(s)

An incorporator is any person filing the Articles of Incorporation for an organization. This may be you or a lawyer helping you with the process. Enter the name and address of each incorporator. You must have at least one.

Article 7: Effective Date of Organization

This section allows you to determine when you want your nonprofit corporation to officially form.

Typically the corporation forms on the date of filing but you can choose a date up to 90 days after the date of filing.


When you sign and date the form you are affirming everything written in the form. Your articles of incorporation will need a signature from an incorporator and from the selected registered agent.


To be eligible for 501c3 tax exemption you must attach an additional article to 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.

How to file the Kentucky Articles of Incorporation

You can file the Articles of Incorporation by mail, in-person or online.

By Mail:

Alison Lundergan Grimes
Office of the Secretary of State
P. O. Box 718
Frankfort, KY 40602-0718

In Person:

Room 154, Capitol Building
700 Capital Avenue
Frankfort, KY 40601
Hours of Operation: 8:00 AM-4:30 PM ET


The Articles of Incorporation may be filed online through the One Stop Business Portal.

There is an $8.00 filing fee which can be paid by check made out to “Kentucky State Treasurer.”

Kentucky Nonprofit Formation FAQ

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

You can call for information at (502) 564-3490 or visit them at their website.