After you have considered the questions in What to Consider Before Starting a Nonprofit and have determined that starting a new nonprofit is what you are going to do, please review the steps to forming a nonprofit below.
The Center for Nonprofit Excellence does not provide assistance with starting nonprofits. Instead, we have developed this resource and curated many others to help you understand what is needed to start and sustain a healthy nonprofit in New Mexico.
We encourage you to consult with experts (an attorney, accountant and/or someone very familiar with tax-exempt law and how charitable organizations operate in New Mexico) to ensure that the new nonprofit you form complies with all local, state and federal laws.
Steps to Forming a Nonprofit
1. Give your nonprofit a name
Your nonprofit organization’s legal name cannot conflict with other registered organizations in New Mexico.
2. Recruit an incorporator and the Board of Directors
The incorporator will sign the Articles of Incorporation. There needs to be at least one person with this responsibility. The Board of Directors must have at least three people.
3. Appoint a registered agent
The registered agent is responsible for receiving legal notices for the nonprofit and must be located in New Mexico and have an office that is open during normal business hours.
4. File Articles of Incorporation with the New Mexico Secretary of State
Do not file the Articles of Incorporation until you have read the instructions to IRS Form 1023. The New Mexico Office of the Secretary of State provides a form for the Articles of Incorporation or you may file your own Articles of Incorporation. You want to be sure that they meet the requirements under Section 53-8-31 NMSA 19787. The fee to file Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation is $25.
5. File the Initial Corporate Report with the New Mexico Office of the Secretary of State within 30 days of the date on the certificate of incorporation
The Initial Corporate Report contains address information for the corporation, a statement of the character of affairs of the corporation and a listing of all officers and directors of the corporation. The fee to file an Initial Corporate Report is $10.
An Annual Corporate Report is due to the Secretary of State on the fifteenth day of the fifth month following the corporation’s fiscal year end date. The fee to file an Annual Corporate Report is $10.
7. Draft Bylaws and a Conflict of Interest Policy
In accordance with Section 53-8-12 NMSA 197810, bylaws of a corporation shall be adopted by its Board of Directors. They may contain any provisions for the regulation and management of the affairs of a corporation and must be signed by two authorized officers of the corporation, must be maintained at the corporation’s principal office in New Mexico, and are subject to inspection and copying by the public.
8. Conduct the first organizational meeting of the Board of Directors
This meeting is where you will approve bylaws, adopt the conflict of interest policy, elect officers, and identify a financial institution to handle the organization’s funds.
9. Register to fundraise with the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General
To determine if your organization is exempt from registration, contact the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General.
10. Obtain a New Mexico State Tax Identification Number with the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department
Anyone who does business in New Mexico must register with the Taxation and Revenue Department though they may make exceptions for businesses that are exempt from gross receipts, withholding or compensating tax by state law.
11. Apply for 501(c)(3) with the Internal Revenue Service
If your organization meets the eligibility requirements, you may file IRS Form 1023-EZ15.
12. Determine if you need to apply for Nontaxable Transaction Certificates with the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department
13. If necessary, obtain state and/or local business licenses and permits
14. If the nonprofit will have employees, register with the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions and the New Mexico Workers Compensation Administration
How to Close a Nonprofit in New Mexico
If you are considering how to close your organization, please review How to Close a Nonprofit in New Mexico.