How to Start a Nonprofit in Utah?


Starting a nonprofit organization in Utah can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, but it can also be a complex and challenging process. Setting up a nonprofit requires a significant amount of planning, research, and paperwork, and there are many state and federal regulations that must be followed. However, with the right guidance, you can successfully navigate the process and establish a nonprofit that makes a real difference in your community. This guide will provide an overview of the steps required to start a nonprofit in Utah, including how to choose a name, register with the state, apply for tax-exempt status, and ensure that all state and federal rules are followed.. It is important to note that this guide is not a substitute for legal advice, and you should consult with an attorney or nonprofit expert if you have any questions or concerns.

Choosing a Name

The first step in starting a nonprofit in Utah is to choose a unique name that is not already in use by another organization. This is important because your nonprofit's name is the first thing that people will see and it should be easily recognizable and memorable. When choosing a name, it's best to keep it simple and avoid using any words that might be confusing or misleading. Additionally, you will want to make sure that your name is not too similar to that of another organization, as this can create confusion and legal problems. To ensure that your chosen name is available, you can conduct a name search on the Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code website. The name search will show you if the name is already in use, and if so, by which organization. Once you have selected a name, you will need to register it with the state.

Registering with the State

To register your nonprofit in Utah, you will need to file articles of incorporation with the Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code. The articles of incorporation are a legal document that provides the basic information about your organization, including its name, purpose, and the names and addresses of its directors and incorporators. When filling out the articles of incorporation, you will need to provide a detailed description of your nonprofit's purpose. This should be a clear and concise statement that explains what your organization will do, and how it will benefit the community. Once your articles of incorporation are approved, you will receive a certificate of incorporation and a corporate file number. These documents are important and you will need them for various purposes, such as opening a bank account, applying for grants, and filing taxes.

Applying for Tax-Exempt Status

After you have registered your nonprofit with the state, the next step is to apply for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This is an important step because it allows your organization to be exempt from paying federal income taxes. To apply for tax-exempt status, you will need to file Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption. The form is available on the IRS website and can be filed electronically or by mail. It will require you to provide detailed information about your organization, including its purpose, activities, and finances. The IRS will review your application and, if approved, will issue a letter of determination recognizing your organization as tax-exempt. This letter is important and should be kept in your organization's records. It will be required for various purposes, such as applying for grants and filing taxes.

Obtaining Nonprofit Status in Utah

Obtaining nonprofit status in Utah requires a few more steps than just registering your organization with the state. You will also need to register with the Utah Division of Consumer Protection, file annual reports, and renew your corporate registration every year. The Utah Division of Consumer Protection requires nonprofits to register with them in order to ensure that they are operating in compliance with state laws and regulations. This typically involves submitting a registration form and paying a small fee.

Filing Annual Reports

All nonprofits in Utah are required to file annual reports with the Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code. These reports must be filed on or before the anniversary of the date of incorporation. They typically include information about the organization's activities, finances, and leadership during the past year. Failing to file annual reports can result in fines and penalties, so it's important to stay on top of this requirement. In addition, annual reports provide transparency and accountability to the public and stakeholders, which are important for building trust and credibility for your nonprofit.

Renewing Corporate Registration

In addition to filing annual reports, nonprofits in Utah are also required to renew their corporate registration every year. This is done by filing a renewal application with the Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code. The renewal fee is typically $15. This step is important because it keeps your organization's registration with the state up-to-date and in good standing. It also ensures that the state has accurate and current information about your organization, which can be important in case of audits or other legal proceedings.


Starting a nonprofit in Utah can be a complex and challenging process, but with the right guidance, it can also be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can successfully register your nonprofit, apply for tax-exempt status, and maintain compliance with all state and federal regulations. It's important to remember that the rules and regulations for starting and running a nonprofit organization can change over time, so it's important to stay informed and up-to-date. Also, seek legal counsel if you have any questions or concerns. Starting a nonprofit is a big commitment, but the rewards of making a positive impact in your community can be well worth the effort.