This easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide shows you which documentation you need to register your business within the state of Utah and apply for tax-exempt status.
Steps to Form a Utah Nonprofit Corporation
- Select initial directors
- Choose a name
- Choose a Utah registered agent
- File Articles of Incorporation with Utah
- Create corporate bylaws
- Hold an organizational meeting for the board of directors
- Set up a corporate record
- Get tax ID numbers
- Apply for Utah licenses and permits
- Apply for tax-exempt status
- Register as a charity with the state
- Acquire insurance for your Utah nonprofit
- Open a bank account
Step 1: Select initial directors
According to legislation in Utah, you must appoint at least three individuals to the board of directors. This decision lies with the initial incorporators and other stakeholders within the business. Directors’ main tasks involve overseeing the operations of your Utah nonprofit corporation and organizing meetings to discuss business affairs. We recommend holding a meeting with all stakeholders to select the board of directors before submitting Articles of Incorporation.
Step 2: Choose a name
Before submitting Articles of Incorporation documentation, it’s important to decide on a name that represents your business. The name must be unique and can’t contain any inappropriate language, such as indications of criminal activity. It also can’t be misleading. For more detailed information look here.
You can search the Utah state database to see if your name is available. If you find it you can ask to reserve it for a fee of $22 paid via check, money order, cash, or credit card. It will be held for 120 days.
We also provide a name reservation service, which can give 120 days to decide if the name is appropriate for purposes, or if you’re not ready to incorporate.
Once you’ve settled on a name, you must ensure that it’s not trademarked by another entity. You can do so by checking with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the Utah Trademark Manager.
Lastly, ensure that a domain name is available for your nonprofit. You can do so by using our in-house domain search engine.
Step 3: Choose a Utah registered agent
Registered agents can receive government correspondence and legal notices on behalf of your Utah nonprofit corporation.
Corporations are required to have a registered agent. In case of a lawsuit, registered agents can receive legal papers on your behalf so you don’t have any awkward situations arise at your business office.
Other responsibilities undertaken by registered agents can be found in Utah Statutes, Chapter 17 of the Model Registered Agents Act. Every registered agent must have a physical location in Utah and make their name and physical address known to the individuals submitting for filing. P.O. Boxes are not accepted.
Some may choose to be their own registered agents, but Utah law requires that registered agents be available during normal business hours, which can be inconvenient.
ZenBusiness can secure a registered agent for your Utah nonprofit corporation that meets state legal requirements and can promptly relay legal documentation.
Step 4: File Articles of Incorporation with Utah
Once all documentation has been compiled, you can file your Articles of Incorporation with Utah. Once the state processes and accepts them, you’re officially established as a business entity. A one-time filing fee of $70 applies here. There’s also a $30 non-refundable processing fee. Within your Articles of Incorporation, you must ensure that the following points are addressed:
- Business name
- Purpose for incorporating the entity
- The registered agent’s name and address
- Name and address of all incorporators
- Main address of the business and all incorporators
- Addresses and names of the directors and officers
- Whether the business is female- or minority-owned
The filing can then be completed online via the Utah OneStop Online Business Registration Portal. Alternatively, you can send it to the following address:
Utah Division of Corporations & Commercial Code
PO Box 146705
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-6705
Step 5: Create corporate bylaws
Corporate bylaws define the purpose, powers, and duties of every director and shareholder involved in the nonprofit corporation. They also include other regulations that govern corporate activities. These must be created by the incorporator or the board of directors after filing the Articles of Incorporation. If no corporate bylaws are written, your nonprofit corporation is subject to the default state laws.
Step 6: Hold an organizational meeting for the board of directors
The board of directors hold an organizational meeting. After the first meeting, meetings must be held once per year. Discussions at your organizational meeting include:
- Creating a plan of action for future expansion and growth
- Providing support to each other
- Delegating tasks to other stakeholders within the organization
Step 7: Set up a corporate record
Corporate records of business transactions, meeting minutes, and important documentation must be kept in a safe, secured records binder or in the cloud online. Corporate records show the IRS and other government bodies that the business is operating in an appropriate manner. These usually include the Articles of Incorporation, corporate bylaws, and performance reviews.
Step 8: Get tax ID numbers
An employee identification number (EIN) refers to the unique nine-digit number assigned by the IRS to federally registered business entities within the United States.
EINs are used when opening a bank account, hiring employees, and paying taxes. You can apply for an EIN online via the IRS. Or, you can save time and focus your energy elsewhere by using our EIN service, you can secure your EIN with ease. You’ll also have to register for a state tax ID number via the OSBR registration system.
Step 9: Apply for Utah licenses and permits
Your Utah nonprofit may need licenses and/or permits to operate. Unfortunately, there’s no central place where the required documentation can be checked. Licensing is based on which industry your nonprofit operates in and its location, and it’s up to you to make sure you get the right ones for your nonprofit corporation. Our license service offers a simpler approach by:
- Conducting the research for you
- Locating the required licenses and permits
- Compiling this under a report for your board of directors
Step 10: Apply for tax-exempt status
Charities and nonprofits can apply for 501(c)(3) tax exemption status from the IRS. To do so, fill out a Form 1023. You can apply for the 1023-EZ, which is for smaller businesses. It’s a three-page document.
You can apply to gain state-level tax exemption depending on the type of nonprofit corporation you operate. If you’re operating a religious or charitable institution, you must complete Form TC-160, Application for Sales Tax Exemption Number for Religious or Charitable Institutions.
Step 11: Register as a charity with the state
If you’re forming a charity, you’ll need to start by getting a letter of determination from the IRS.
Then, you’ll need to register as a charitable organization on the Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Consumer Protection website.
You’ll need to provide Utah Retirement Supplement if you’re using it, Articles of Incorporation or your formation document, a copy of your nonprofit’s bylaws, IRS determination letter, IRS Form 990.
Step 12: Acquire insurance for your Utah nonprofit
Insurance for Utah nonprofit corporations varies depending on the industry you’re operating in. The most common insurance policies for nonprofits in Utah include:
- General liability
- Workers’ compensation (depending on the number of employees)
- Property insurance
- Unemployment insurance
Step 13: Open a bank account
To facilitate business transactions, it’s important to open an organizational checking bank account. To do so, have the following items on hand:
- Company EIN
- Articles of Incorporation
- Personal ID and Social Security number
There may be other requirements depending on the bank you choose, so make sure to call ahead and make sure you have everything.
Ready to kickstart your business?
At ZenBusiness, we are proud to support small businesses through a variety of different tools and services. Whether you need a registered agent service, want to reserve a business name, or looking to register a domain, our goal is to help you stay on the road to success. Check out our services, and contact us today to see how we can help you grow your company.
Utah Nonprofit Corporation FAQ
- Can the founder of a Utah nonprofit receive a salary?
Yes. A nonprofit founder may award themselves a fair salary for running the organization. They must be an employee and registered as one with the business and IRS.
- How much does it cost to start a nonprofit corporation in Utah?
The state of Utah charges the following fees: $70 filing fee for nonprofit Articles of Incorporation $30 non-refundable processing fee $7 filing fee for annual reports.
- What happens if a Utah nonprofit makes money?
Despite being tax-exempt, many nonprofits turn a “profit,” which can be used to cover ongoing expenses or invested back into the corporation. So long as the nonprofit’s activities are associated with its main purpose, the profit made is not taxable as income. What kinds of businesses can be a nonprofit? Nonprofits can be for religious, charitable, artistic, scientific, literary, or educational purposes. They may also benefit the community in another way.
- Can nonprofits sell products in Utah?
Yes. Nonprofits may sell either goods or services, as long as they abide by Utah laws. However, all net profits made from sales must be reinvested back into the nonprofit to remain tax-exempt. Any financial gain that occurs from selling products unrelated to the business is subject to federal and state tax.
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