How to File the Articles of Incorporation for a Missouri Nonprofit

Filing the Articles of Incorporation is a critical step in starting a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit in Missouri. 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 Missouri. This will allow you to file for 501(c)(3) status and reap the benefits of having an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

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

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

What is covered in this guide:

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

Information you will need to file the Missouri Articles of Incorporation

To become a nonprofit corporation in Missouri you must file Form Corp. 52, the Articles of Incorporation of a Nonprofit Corporation.

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 Missouri nonprofit.

Section 2: Entity Type

Enter Public or Mutual, whichever best describes your nonprofit.

NOTE: In order to qualify for 501(c)(3) status, your organization must be a public benefit corporation.

Section 3: Duration

If your organization is planning to be in existence for a fixed amount of time put the duration here.

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

Section 4: Registered Agent & Registered Office

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

Any person you designate as the registered agent must have already explicitly consented to act as the registered agent for your organization even though you do not need to include proof of consent with your Form Corp. 52.

Enter the information of the registered agent you have selected.

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

Section 5: Incorporators

An incorporator is the person who completes, signs, and submits the articles 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 formation.

Section 6: Membership

Select the appropriate box depending on whether or not your nonprofit corporation plans to have members.

Section 7: Dissolution

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: 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 to learn more.

Section 9: Effectiveness of Filing

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

Option A: your organization will officially form on the day the Secretary of State files your Articles of Incorporation.

Option B: you select the date of formation (it can be any day up to 90days after filing.).

Return Address

Enter a complete return address for the person who should receive the returned filing.


When the incorporators sign and date the form they are affirming everything written in the form. They are also affirming that the registered agent listed has already consented to be the registered agent for this nonprofit organization.

How to file the Missouri Articles of Incorporation

There are two ways to submit your Articles of Incorporation: 


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

By Mail:

Submit the Articles of Incorporation to the mailing address below:

Secretary of State
Corporate Division
PO Box 778
Jefferson City, MO 65102

The filing fee is $25.

  • Checks for paper forms must be made payable to the "Director of Revenue"

Missouri Nonprofit Formation FAQ

How long does it take to process Form Corp. 52?

If you file online it typically takes about 1-2 business days. If you file by mail expect to get a response in 5-7 business days.

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

You can call for information at (866) 223-6535 or visit them at their website.