How to File the Certificate of Formation for a Texas Nonprofit

Person submitting paperwork.

Filing the Certificate of Formation is a critical step in starting a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit in Texas. Whether you have been running a charity for a while or are just starting out, your nonprofit organization will need to fill out the Certificate of Formation and file them with the State of Texas. 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 Texas is easy, just follow these easy steps to file the Texas Certificate of Formation:

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

What is covered in this guide:

  1. Information you will need to file the Texas Certificate of Formation
  2. How to file the Texas Certificate of Formation
  3. Texas Nonprofit Formation FAQ

Information you will need to file the Texas Certificate of Formation

To become a nonprofit corporation in Texas you must file Form 202, the Certificate of Formation for nonprofit corporations.

Here are the sections that you will need to complete.

Section 1: Entity Name and Type

Enter the name you selected.

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

Section 2: Registered Agent and Registered Office

The registered agent can be any entity registered to do business in Texas 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 explicitly consented to act as the registered agent for your organization, but you do not need to include proof of such consent with your Form 202.

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

Section 3: Management

At least 3 directors will need to be named.

When filling the form do not use any prefixes such as “Mr.” or “Ms.” and only use the suffix box for titles of lineage such as ‘Jr.’, ‘Sr.’, or ‘III’ but not for designations such as M.D. or Ph.D.

Since this document will become public record you may want to use a post office box address rather than a residential address to maintain privacy.

Section 4: Membership

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

Section 5: 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 6: Supplemental Provisions and Information

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 7: Organizer

The organizer, commonly known as 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.

Section 8: Effectiveness of Filing

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

Option A: your organization will officially form when the secretary of state files your certificate of formation.

Option B: allows you to select the start date which can be up to 90 days after filing.

Option C: allows your corporation to officially form after the occurrence of a specific event up to 90 days after filing. An example of an event could be raising a certain amount of money, etc. (You must describe the event and explain how it will affect the incorporation procedures. In addition, you will need to file a statement with the secretary of state within 90 days of filing form 202 regarding the event.)

NOTE: It is probably best to pick either option A or B.

Section 9: Execution

When you sign and date the form you are affirming everything written in the form. You are also affirming that the registered agent you have listed has already consented to be the registered agent for the nonprofit organization.

How to file the Texas Certificate of Formation

You can submit your Certificate of Formation in one of three ways: online, by mail, or in-person.

Mail to:

Secretary of State
P.O. Box 13697
Austin, TX 78711-3697

Submit in-person:

James Earl Rudder Office Building
1019 Brazos St
Austin, TX 78701

The filing fee is $25.

  • Personal checks or money order must be made payable to the "Secretary of State"
  • Filings paid by credit card will require a 2.7% convenience fee. Paper forms must also submit a Payment Form.
  • Accepted credit cards include American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa, or LegalEase debit cards
  • Cash payments are accepted for in-person filings

Texas Nonprofit Formation FAQ

How long does it take to process Form 202?

If you file online it typically takes about 2 business days. If you file by mail or in-person you may get a response in 5-7 business days. If you have filed by mail or in-person you can choose to pay an optional expedite fee of $25 to cut down on the processing time.

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

You can call for information at (512) 463-5555 or visit them at their website.