How to File the Articles of Incorporation for an Ohio Nonprofit

Person submitting paperwork.

Filing the Articles of Incorporation is a critical step in starting a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit in Ohio. 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 Ohio. 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 Ohio is easy, just follow these easy steps to file the Ohio Articles of Incorporation:

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

What is covered in this guide:

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

Information you will need to file the Ohio Articles of Incorporation

To become a nonprofit corporation in Ohio you must file Form 532B: the Initial Articles of Incorporation (Nonprofit, Domestic Corporation).

If you submit your Initial Articles of Incorporation by mail or in-person, you first need to complete the cover sheet which will require the following information:

  • Enter the name of the person who will receive applicable correspondence
  • Enter the mailing address, phone number, and email of the person entered in step 1
  • Check the box(es) to indicate if you wish to receive correspondence via email and/or if you’d like to receive business services updates from the Secretary of State (also via email)
  • Check the appropriate box to indicate the type of service you are requesting:
    • Regular Service: 3-7 business days
    • Expedite Service 1: 2 business days
    • Expedite Service 2: 1 business day (walk-in filing only)
    • Expedite Service 3: 4 hours (walk-in filing only)
    • Preclearance Filing

Here are the sections that you will need to complete to file the Initial Articles of Incorporation.

Check the first box only if your nonprofit is being formed as a Community Improvement Corporation (see Ohio Revised Code Chapter 1724 for details).

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 Ohio nonprofit.

Section 2: Principal Office & Effective Date

1. Enter the city and county where the principal office of your nonprofit will be located.

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

Most organizations opt to form on the day the articles are filed, but you can select a different day up to 90 days after filing.

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.

Include Attachments: Supplemental Provisions/Information

Attach additional pages to your articles 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. In addition, you may attach any additional pages needed to include organization-specific provisions.

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.

Original Appointment of Statutory Agent

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

Enter the information of the statutory (registered) agent you have selected.

For more informatino read our guides: What is a registered agent? and The Ohio Registered Agent Guide.

Your organization's incorporators and statutory agent must sign the form.

Incorporators Signatures

Incorporators are the people who complete, sign, and submit the certification of formation. These people do not need to be a part of your organization and might be you or a lawyer helping you with the process of formation.

How to file the Ohio 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 the Articles of Incorporation to the mailing address below:

Secretary of State
P.O. Box 1390
Columbus, OH 43216

In Person:

Submit the Articles of Incorporation at the office address below:

Client Service Center
22 N 4th Street
Columbus, OH 43215

The filing fee is $99.

  • Checks and money orders for mailed forms must be made payable to the "Ohio Secretary of State"
  • Filings with credit card payments must include the credit card authorization form
  • Accepted credit cards include Visa, Discover, MasterCard, and American Express

Ohio Nonprofit Formation FAQ

How long does it take to process Form 532B?

Processing times vary depending on the type of service selected:

  • Regular Service: 3-7 business days
  • Expedite Service 1: 2 business days
  • Expedite Service 2: 1 business day (walk-in filing only)
  • Expedite Service 3: 4 hours (walk-in filing only)

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

You can call for information at (614) 466-3910 or visit them at their website.