North Dakota, like most states, allows residents to file both business and nonprofit corporations. However, North Dakota has many types of business corporations. Filers should determine which type of corporation is suitable for their own business. They can then file for a corporation in North Dakota with forms and instructions provided by the North Dakota Secretary of State.
In the case of business corporations, North Dakota filers may form one of the following types of corporate entities: general business, professional, farm and publicly traded. The North Dakota Secretary of State provides a general overview of each type on the “Business Registrations” page at Nd.gov/sos/businessserv/registrations/index.html. Look for the links for each corporate type and click on each of those links to see the explanations for each business type. Decide which one you would like to register.
In the case of nonprofits, you may file a North Dakota nonprofit corporation. Access the “Nonprofit Entity Registrations” page at Nd.gov/sos/nonprofit/registration/index.html. Although you do not necessarily have to incorporate to run a charity, it may be in your best interest to do so for tax exemptions and other legal benefits. Click on “Nonprofit Corporation” and “Domestic Forms”‘ to find the “Articles of Incorporation” link for starting a North Dakota nonprofit.
Similarly, you can find the “Articles of Incorporation” form for each type of business corporation by clicking on “Domestic Forms” and then clicking on the “Articles of Incorporation” link in the list of forms. Note that the North Dakota Secretary of State does not provide a form for publicly traded companies, as of October 2010. However, a publicly traded company may choose to incorporate using the standard business-corporation form if it decides to “opt out” of the laws related to publicly traded companies in North Dakota. Filers would certainly need a North Dakota business attorney to assist in making this important decision.
Fill out the “Articles of Incorporation” for the North Dakota business you seek to establish. Note that the forms provide only the bare-bones minimum for incorporating in the state. You may wish to consult a North Dakota lawyer if you have special requirements not apparent in the filing forms. As an example, you would need to consult Publication 557 (available on the IRS.gov website) if you want to obtain federal tax-exempt status for a North Dakota nonprofit.
Prepare the fees for starting a North Dakota corporation. As of 2010, the fee is $100 to file a business corporation and $40 for a nonprofit. Make fees payable to “Secretary of State.” Alternatively, there is a section in the “Articles of Incorporation” for including credit-card details to pay your filing fee.
Send the filing form and corporate filing fee to the following address:
Secretary of State
State of North Dakota
600 E Boulevard Ave Dept 108
Bismarck ND 58505-0500
North Dakota Secretary of State Business Registrations Page
North Dakota Secretary of State Nonprofit Entity Registrations Page