Starting a Nonprofit Corporation in Minnesota 2024: Your Step-by-Step Guide

How to Start a Nonprofit Corporation in Minnesota

Are you passionate about making a difference in your community? Starting a nonprofit organization in Minnesota can be a fantastic way to create lasting change and positively impact the lives of those around you. However, navigating the legal and regulatory requirements of starting a Nonprofit Corporation can be daunting, especially if you are new to the process.

This guide aims to simplify the process of forming a Nonprofit Corporation in Minnesota by providing a step-by-step approach to ensure that your organization is set up for success from the start. At LLCBase, we understand that forming a nonprofit corporation can be an overwhelming experience, so we are here to help you achieve your goals every step of the way.

What is a Nonprofit Corporation

A Nonprofit Corporation is a legal entity organized and operated for purposes other than profit-making. The primary goal of a Nonprofit Corporation is to serve the public interest, promote a specific social cause, or support a charitable, religious, educational, scientific, or artistic mission. Unlike traditional for-profit corporations in Minnesota, Nonprofit Corporations do not distribute profits to shareholders or owners. Instead, surplus funds are reinvested into the organization to further its mission and objectives. When starting a nonprofit corporation, consult the best formation service in Minnesota to assist you.

Nonprofit Corporations are granted special tax-exempt status under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code in the United States, which exempts them from federal income taxes. Nonprofit Corporations may also be eligible for state and local tax exemptions. This tax-exempt status allows Nonprofits to receive tax-deductible donations and grants, making it easier for them to raise funds for their cause.

Some common types of Nonprofit Corporations include charities, foundations, social welfare organizations, trade associations, and religious institutions. These organizations play a vital role in society by addressing various social, environmental, and cultural issues, providing essential services, and enhancing the overall quality of life for communities.

Recommended: Want to create a lasting impact in Minnesota – start your nonprofit corporation with a trusted expert. Begin your mission today! We recommend –

Our #1 Pick: LegalZoom – ($0 + State Fees) Online Corporation Setup

Steps to Form a Minnesota Nonprofit Corporation

Below is an extensive overview of the steps to initiate a nonprofit corporation in Minnesota:

Step 1. Choose a Name

The first step in starting a Nonprofit Corporation in Minnesota is choosing an appropriate name for your organization. The name must be unique and distinguishable from other businesses registered in the state. You can conduct a preliminary name search on the Minnesota Secretary of State‘s website to check the availability of your desired name. Additionally, the name should not include any prohibited words or phrases, such as “bank” or “insurance.”

Recommended: Secure your perfect nonprofit corporation name with the help of the best formation expert. Effortlessly explore name options, making the reservation process a breeze! We recommend –

Our #1 Pick: LegalZoom – ($0 + State Fees) Online Corporation Setup

Step 2. Appoint Minnesota Registered Agent

When forming a Nonprofit Corporation in Minnesota, you must appoint Registered Agent in Minnesota. The Registered Agent is responsible for receiving legal documents and correspondence on behalf of your organization. They must have a physical address in Minnesota and be available during regular business hours. You can choose an individual or a professional Registered Agent service to serve in this role.

We have compiled a list of the best registered agent services in Minnesota for your consideration. These services have a reputation for their trustworthiness and professionalism. With assistance from these experienced registered agents, your business in Minnesota can be handled with the utmost confidence and efficiency.

LLC Services

Rating & Pricing

Top Features

Learn More

#1 Editor's Choice

$299 Per Year

  • Free LLC Formation

  • RA service in all states

  • Legal consultation

$125 Per Year

  • Flat price for RA service

  • LLC formation package

  • Fast service

Step 3. Appoint Board Members and Officers

In Minnesota, a Nonprofit Corporation must have at least three board members responsible for overseeing the management and operations of the organization. The board must also elect officers, such as a president, secretary, and treasurer. It is important to choose individuals who are passionate about your organization’s mission and have the skills to carry out their duties effectively.

Step 4. File Articles of Incorporation

To officially form a Nonprofit Corporation in Minnesota, you must file the Articles of Incorporation with the Minnesota Secretary of State. The filing fee is $155 for filing online and in-person, and $135 for filing by mail. Your Articles of Incorporation must include the following required provisions:

  • Name of the Nonprofit Corporation
  • Purpose of the organization
  • A statement that the organization is a Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation
  • Name and address of the Registered Agent
  • Statement of how the organization’s assets will be distributed upon dissolution

Optional provisions that can be included in the Articles of Incorporation are specific limitations or restrictions on the organization’s activities, indemnification of directors and officers, and any additional information that may be relevant to the organization.

Step 5. Apply for EIN

After filing your Articles of Incorporation, you must obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This nine-digit number is used to identify your organization for tax purposes and is required when applying for tax-exempt status or opening a bank account. You can apply for an EIN online, by fax, or by mail.

Recommended: Effortlessly secure your EIN with a trustworthy formation service. Boost your online business launch with unwavering confidence today! We recommend –

Our #1 Pick: LegalZoom – ($0 + State Fees) Online Corporation Setup

Step 6. Draft Bylaws and Policy

Bylaws are the internal rules and procedures that govern the operation of your Nonprofit Corporation. They should outline the roles and responsibilities of board members and officers and the process for holding meetings and making decisions. Additionally, your organization should adopt a conflict of interest policy to properly address potential conflicts involving board members or officers.

Step 7. Hold an Organizational Meeting

Once you have drafted your bylaws and conflict of interest policy, you should hold an organizational meeting with your board members and officers. During this meeting, you will adopt the bylaws and conflict of interest policy, elect officers, and make any other initial decisions necessary for the operation of your Nonprofit Corporation.

Step 8. Obtain Licenses and Permits

Depending on the nature of your organization, you may be required to obtain business licenses and permits in Minnesota to operate legally. This can include local business licenses, zoning permits, and any specific licenses required for your organization’s activities. Consult your Minnesota Secretary of State for more information.

Looking for reliable expertise on business licenses, permits, and compliance? Why not consult the best business attorneys in Minnesota who know the legal landscape of your unique industry inside and out? With their friendly assistance, you’ll tackle your business requirements confidently and hassle-free!

Recommended: Sail through the business licensing process with a reliable formation service. Confidently launch your online venture today! We recommend –

Our #1 Pick: LegalZoom – ($0 + State Fees) Online Corporation Setup

Step 9. Register for Minnesota State Taxation

While many Nonprofit Corporations are exempt from federal income tax, they may still be subject to Minnesota state taxes. You must register with the Minnesota Department of Revenue and may be required to file annual tax returns.

Step 10. Register for Charitable Solicitation

If your Nonprofit Corporation plans to solicit donations from the public, you must register with the Minnesota Office of the Attorney General. This registration is required before legally soliciting charitable contributions in Minnesota.

Fee Schedule for Starting a Minnesota Nonprofit Corporation

Here are the fees associated when starting a corporation in Minnesota:

  • Articles of Incorporation Filing Fee: $155 for filing online and in-person, and $135 for filing by mail
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN) Application: Free
  • Form 1023 (Application for Recognition of Exemption) User Fee: $600 (for most organizations)
  • Form 1023-EZ (Streamlined Application for Recognition of Exemption) User Fee: $275
  • Statement of Information Filing Fee: $70 if domestic, $180 if foreign

Please note that these fees are subject to change, and additional fees may be applicable depending on the specific requirements of your nonprofit organization, such as obtaining licenses and permits. Always consult the respective agency websites and experts for the most up-to-date information.

Apply for 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status

Once you have successfully formed your Minnesota Nonprofit Corporation, the next crucial step is to apply for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. This status allows your organization to be exempt from federal income taxes and is essential for receiving tax-deductible donations and grants.

  1. Prepare IRS Form 1023 or 1023-EZ: The first step in applying for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status is selecting the correct application form. Most organizations will use IRS Form 1023, the Application for Recognition of Exemption. However, smaller organizations may be eligible to use the shorter Form 1023-EZ. This streamlined application is only available to organizations with annual gross receipts of $50,000 or less and total assets of $250,000 or less. Review the eligibility requirements on the IRS website to determine which form is most appropriate for your Nonprofit Corporation in Minnesota.
  2. Submit the Application: After completing the appropriate application form, submit it with the required user fee to the IRS. The fee will depend on your organization’s size and financial status, so consult the IRS website for the most up-to-date information.Keep in mind that the IRS review process can take several months. During this time, maintain good records and continue to operate your Minnesota Nonprofit Corporation in compliance with state and federal regulations. If your application is approved, you will receive a Determination Letter from the IRS confirming your tax-exempt status.
Minnesota State Tax Exemption

In addition to federal tax exemption, your Minnesota Nonprofit Corporation may also qualify for state tax exemption. To apply, submit Form Form ST3, Exemption Application, to the Minnesota Department of Revenue and the required supporting documentation. If approved, your organization will be exempt from Minnesota state income tax and may qualify for exemption from other state taxes.

Ongoing Compliance

After successfully forming your Minnesota Nonprofit Corporation and obtaining tax-exempt status, it’s essential to maintain compliance with state and federal regulations. This includes filing annual reports, paying state and federal taxes, and maintaining good records.

  • File Annual Reports: Your Minnesota Nonprofit Corporation must file an annual report with the Minnesota Secretary of State each year. This report, known as the Statement of Information, is due yearly within a specific time frame based on your organization’s registration date. Failure to file the report on time may result in penalties and suspending your organization’s corporate status.
  • State Taxes: Even with tax-exempt status, your Minnesota Nonprofit Corporation may still be responsible for certain state taxes, such as sales tax permits on goods and services sold by your organization. Consult the Minnesota Department of Revenue’s website for more information on state tax requirements.
  • Federal Taxes: While your organization may be exempt from federal income tax, you must still file an annual information return with the IRS. This is typically Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-N, depending on your organization’s size and financial activity. Consult the IRS website for more information on which form your Minnesota Nonprofit Corporation should file.
  • Maintain Good Records: Keeping accurate and up-to-date records is essential for maintaining your Nonprofit Corporation’s compliance with state and federal regulations. This includes financial records, meeting minutes, and other organizational documents. Strong recordkeeping practices will help you stay compliant and provide a solid foundation for your organization’s growth and success.

FAQs

What is a nonprofit corporation in Minnesota?
A nonprofit corporation is an organization that is registered with the state of Minnesota and serves a charitable, educational, religious, or scientific purpose.
What are the requirements for starting a nonprofit corporation in Minnesota?
To start a nonprofit corporation in Minnesota, you need to file articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State, designate a registered agent, and apply for tax-exempt status through the IRS.
What is a registered agent in Minnesota?
A registered agent is a person or entity that is designated to receive legal and official documents and notices on behalf of the nonprofit corporation in Minnesota.
How much does it cost to start a nonprofit corporation in Minnesota?
The filing fee for articles of incorporation in Minnesota is $70 for online filing and $100 for paper filing.
Can anyone start a nonprofit corporation in Minnesota?
Yes, anyone can start a nonprofit corporation in Minnesota if they meet the state and federal requirements.
How long does it take to start a nonprofit corporation in Minnesota?
The processing time for articles of incorporation in Minnesota is usually 1-2 business days for online filings and 5-7 business days for paper filings.
What is the difference between a nonprofit corporation and a for-profit corporation in Minnesota?
The main difference is that a nonprofit corporation is organized for a charitable, educational, religious, or scientific purpose, while a for-profit corporation is organized for the purpose of making a profit.
What is the Minnesota Charitable Solicitation Act?
The Minnesota Charitable Solicitation Act regulates fundraising activities by nonprofit organizations in Minnesota to ensure that they are conducted in a legal and ethical manner.
How does a nonprofit corporation obtain tax-exempt status in Minnesota?
A nonprofit corporation can obtain tax-exempt status in Minnesota by applying for recognition of exemption from the IRS through Form 1023 or Form 1023-EZ.
What is the IRS Form 1023?
The IRS Form 1023 is the application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which is required for a nonprofit corporation to obtain tax-exempt status from the IRS.
How long does it take for a nonprofit corporation to obtain tax-exempt status in Minnesota?
The processing time for Form 1023 by the IRS is approximately 3-6 months.
What are the benefits of tax-exempt status for nonprofit corporations in Minnesota?
The benefits of tax-exempt status for nonprofit corporations in Minnesota include exemption from federal and state income taxes, eligibility for public or private grants, and the ability to receive tax-deductible donations.
Can a nonprofit corporation in Minnesota pay its board members?
Yes, but the compensation for board members must be reasonable and not excessive.
What is a conflict of interest policy for nonprofit corporations in Minnesota?
A conflict of interest policy is a policy that requires board members and other key personnel of a nonprofit corporation in Minnesota to fully disclose any potential conflicts of interest and recuse themselves from any decisions that could be influenced by those conflicts.
What is the difference between a nonprofit corporation and a nonprofit organization in Minnesota?
There is no difference between a nonprofit corporation and a nonprofit organization in Minnesota. They are used interchangeably to refer to the same entity.
Can a nonprofit corporation in Minnesota be sued?
Yes, a nonprofit corporation in Minnesota can be sued if it is found to have acted negligently or illegally.
What is a Minnesota nonprofit group exemption?
A Minnesota nonprofit group exemption allows a central nonprofit organization to encompass its affiliate organizations under its tax-exempt status.
How can a Minnesota nonprofit corporation change its articles of incorporation?
A Minnesota nonprofit corporation can change its articles of incorporation by filing an amendment with the Secretary of State.
Does a nonprofit corporation in Minnesota need to have members?
No, a nonprofit corporation in Minnesota does not need to have members, but some choose to have them for voting purposes.
Can a nonprofit corporation in Minnesota have paid employees?
Yes, a nonprofit corporation in Minnesota can have paid employees.
What taxes does a nonprofit corporation in Minnesota need to pay?
A nonprofit corporation in Minnesota is exempt from federal and state income taxes but may need to pay other taxes such as property tax, payroll tax, and sales tax.
What is the Minnesota nonprofit annual report?
The Minnesota nonprofit annual report is a report that nonprofit corporations in Minnesota must file each year with the Secretary of State to stay in good standing.
Can a nonprofit corporation in Minnesota make a profit?
Yes, but any profits that a nonprofit corporation in Minnesota earns must be reinvested back into the organization to promote its charitable purpose.
How can a nonprofit corporation in Minnesota dissolve?
A nonprofit corporation in Minnesota can dissolve by following its approved bylaws and filing articles of dissolution with the Secretary of State.
What happens to a nonprofit corporation’s assets when it dissolves in Minnesota?
When a nonprofit corporation dissolves in Minnesota, its remaining assets must be distributed to another nonprofit organization or governmental entity with a similar charitable purpose.
What is the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Program?
The Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Program provides financial assistance to unemployed workers in Minnesota.
Is a nonprofit corporation in Minnesota eligible for unemployment insurance?
It depends on whether the nonprofit corporation in Minnesota has paid into the unemployment insurance program on behalf of its employees.
How can I find out if my nonprofit name is available in Minnesota?
You can check the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office website to search for existing nonprofit names as well as reserving your preferred name.
What are the requirements to incorporate a nonprofit in Minnesota?
You should file articles of incorporation with the Minnesota Secretary of State, and follow federal and state laws in creating bylaws, appointing officers’ and board members.
Can a nonprofit corporation operate in multiple states including Minnesota?
Yes, a Minnesota nonprofit corporation may conduct business activities in another state, if it registers and pays the state fees for foreign corporation qualification.
How much does it cost to incorporate a 501c3 nonprofit in Minnesota?
The incorporation fees for a Minnesota nonprofit corporation are generally around $165.00 including their Basic File Online Service.
What paperwork is involved in starting a Minnesota nonprofit?
To start a Minnesota nonprofit it requires filing Articles of Incorporation with the Minnesota Secretary of State.
Can a nonprofit have paid employees in Minnesota?
Yes, Minnesota nonprofit organizations can have a paid staff.
Can a Minnesota nonprofit be dissolved?
Yes, a Minnesota nonprofit can be dissolved voluntarily with decision of its membership or directors or involuntarily by the state court.
What is Minnesota Franchise Tax regarding nonprofits?
It is an annual state tax which may apply appear to Minnesota nonprofits which have $25,000 or more in non-exempt revenue.
When does a Minnesota nonprofit Exempt Status apply for state use?
Nonprofits that meet state requirements will get exempt state sales tax charges and will be eligible for other state programs and exemptions just as with obtaining a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the federal government.
Do Nonprofit Corporations in Minnesota require a business license?
Some cities or counties in the state require a state operating license even if the nonprofit is exempt from state taxation.
Is it required for a nonprofit to hold board meetings within Minnesota?
The nonprofit corporation’s by-laws dictate board/n-member meeting locations. While internal policiesdictate how many members needed to make up a quorum.
Is a board of directors necessary for a Minnesota nonprofit?
Yes a board of directors is mandatory whenever you incorporate a nonprofit.
Are Directors personally responsible for actions of the nonprofit organization?
Directors are not liable for the actions of the nonprofit if it operates within legal limits.
Can I file online to form or register a Minnesota nonprofit?
Yes, you can file articles of incorporation online using the MNBI’s web-based E-Services portal.
Will we be required to disclose financial information as a nonprofit in Minnesota?
Generally state offices no longer require your financial information information to be publicly available.
Does a Nonprofit Corporation in Minnesota require paying Sales Taxes on goods sold?
Minnesota nonprofit corporations do not have to remit Minnesota sales against taxes for items that are exchanging tax-free.
Does a Minnesota Nonprofit Corporation has to file yearly reports?
Yes, one must file yearly forms with the secretary of states’ office.
Can Minnesota nonprofits carry out political campaigns?
Yes. They may carry out campaigns as certain criteria are met.
What’s the difference between pre-approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit status types in Minnesota?
Preapproval by the state you wish to receive tax-exempt permits is required before filing with the federal IRS for that tax status.
What is the difference between a public and private Minnesota nonprofit organization?
Public nonprofits provide public services while Private nonprofits tend towards concerns more related to self-promotion/public relations.
Is it conceivable for a Commercial corporation in Minnesota to be changed to a nonprofit corporation?
Someone would need to incorporate the company anew since the company’s mission would have to change among other legal requirements in the state of Minnesota
What yearly filings are required by nonprofits in Minnesota?
Annual Revenue Summary and Annual Report detailing operations and finances related to taxing/franchising authorities.
What if a Minnesota non-profit does not receive its 501(c)(3) determination letter?
There was a mechanism creation around CN #10041786, recognition of a privilege given by law without actual written documentation — like a determination letter.
Do Minnesota nonprofit corporations still have meetings and comply with MN amended nonprofit law?
The premise providing required meetings and formalities for nonprofit corporations help with their owners and directors, not disappear under amended law, but usually will stand show flexible process.
Anyone aware that for-profit organizations can also qualify for tax-exempt status by Minnesota?
Still rare options most exciting apparent fortune that your type of cause could work out jointly with future-state franchisors approvals help the Minnesota corporations become properties as charities, too.

Also Read

Why You Should Start Minnesota Nonprofit

One of the main reasons why you should consider starting a nonprofit in Minnesota is the opportunity to address critical social issues that are often overlooked by government agencies or for-profit organizations. Nonprofits have the flexibility and autonomy to focus on causes that matter most to them, whether it’s supporting underserved communities, advocating for environmental protection, or promoting education and healthcare access. By starting a nonprofit in Minnesota, you have the chance to bring attention to important issues and make a tangible difference in the lives of those in need.

Moreover, starting a nonprofit in Minnesota allows you to leverage the power of community support and collaboration. Nonprofits rely on the generosity and support of volunteers, donors, and other community members to achieve their mission and goals. By creating a nonprofit in Minnesota, you have the opportunity to build partnerships with local businesses, government agencies, and other organizations to maximize your impact and create sustainable change. Through collaboration and shared values, you can work together with others to create a stronger, more resilient community that supports and uplifts its members.

Another compelling reason to start a nonprofit in Minnesota is the opportunity to empower and inspire others to give back to their communities. Nonprofits serve as a platform for individuals to come together, share resources, and work towards a common goal of creating a better world for all. By starting a nonprofit in Minnesota, you can serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration for others to join you in your mission and continue the legacy of giving back for generations to come. Your nonprofit has the potential to ignite a spark of compassion and empathy in others, leading to more widespread and sustained efforts to address social issues and create positive change.

In conclusion, starting a nonprofit in Minnesota is a powerful way to make a meaningful impact in your community and beyond. By addressing critical social issues, leveraging community support and collaboration, and inspiring others to give back, you have the opportunity to create positive change and leave a lasting legacy of compassion and empathy. If you are passionate about making a difference and eager to contribute to the greater good, starting a nonprofit in Minnesota could be the perfect opportunity for you to amplify your impact and create a better world for all.

Conclusion

Forming a Minnesota Nonprofit Corporation and maintaining compliance with state and federal regulations are crucial to creating a successful organization. By ensuring your organization remains compliant, you can focus on fulfilling your mission and serving your community without worrying about legal or financial setbacks.

While this guide provides an overview of forming a Nonprofit Corporation in Minnesota, it’s important to remember that each organization’s situation is unique. The process of starting a for-profit corporation is different from a nonprofit corporation. Seek the advice of experienced professionals, such as attorneys, accountants, or nonprofit consultants, to ensure your organization is set up for success from the start. Check LLCBase for more guides and resources for starting your business.

Leave a Comment